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When to Hold On and When to Let Go

A marriage breakup is one of the worst crisis a man or woman can face. So many emotions to work through. So much confusion to deal with. Trying to navigate it all is extremely difficult. Knowing when to hold on and when to let go is a bigger challenge than anyone else can possibly imagine.

hold on

If this is where you are today, I understand what you’re dealing with. I know the pain and confusion that is trying to consume you. You don’t want to be in this situation, but you are. So you’re searching. You need some answers. And you need some guidance.

Hopefully, I can give you some answers and guidance you’re searching for. This won’t be the answers for every unique situation. But, it will give you some basic guidelines for navigating this horrible place you have found yourself in.

When to hold on and when to let go

1)  Hold on to your covenant. Let go of the marriage you used to have.

Your commitment to your marriage covenant is in your hands. It’s your choice to keep or to give up on. You have every right to hold on to this commitment even if your spouse has chosen not to. You don’t need anyone else but God to agree with your decision to hold on to your covenant. And it’s up to you to hold on to it as long as it takes or as far as you can.

Holding on to your covenant is not the same as holding on to your marriage. You need to let go of the marriage you used to have. You may have to grieve the loss of what you used to have. But you must say goodbye to that marriage. Your old way of doing marriage didn’t work, so why would you want to go back to it. It’s time to let it go and make room for a new marriage to be built.

2)  Hold on to God. Let go of your spouse.

Your relationship with your heavenly Father is your most valuable relationship. No person or thing can take the place of God in your life. There is never a day in your life when you don’t need Him. So you must hold on to Him and trust Him to get you through this. He is the one who will never leave you or forsake you. The Lord is always faithful. He is for you and He always wants the best for you.

You have to let go of your spouse. You cannot hold on to another person as if they were your possession to keep. Even if you believe your spouse is wrong for breaking their marriage covenant, you have to respect their freedom to make that choice. You have to set your spouse free. And when you set your spouse free you honor them as a human being who has rights. Then, hopefully from that place of honor, you will lay the foundation for the restoration of your covenant and the rebuilding of a brand new marriage.

3) Hold on to love. Let go selfish ambitions.

You hold on to love because of who you are and who you want to be. Allowing yourself to continue to love even in the face of pain and rejection is allowing yourself to become more like Jesus. You hold on to love in spite of the condition of your marriage. Your spouse may not deserve your love and may be far away from receiving your love. But that doesn’t have to stop you. This love is yours to keep and no one can make you let it go.

Real love is not something that only serves to meet selfish needs. You don’t choose love only when your spouse deserves it and pull it away as a means to punish him/her. Let go of selfish ambitions that are always about what’s in it for you. Let go of doing things and saying things that only serve to manipulate your spouse into pleasing your self-centered ambitions. That’s not loving and it will never give you the life and happiness you want. You deserve a better life than that so let that stuff go.

4) Hold on to connections. Let go of divisions.

As I wrote before, your connection to your spouse is key to growing a marriage and for restoring a marriage. So you have to find those points of connection and you have to hold on to them. Whatever connection you have left with your spouse, you have to see how valuable it is. Even if it seems too small to do any good. Don’t underestimate it. Do what you can to hold on to the connection.

The opposite of what connects the two of you are those things that create division between you. These things can be hard to let go of because both of you can feel very strongly about it. But if you’re going to create a new path for your marriage to be restored, you will have to make some choices about the division you’re willing to let go of.

5) Hold on to hope. Let go of desperation.

Hope is as vital to your soul as air is to your lungs. You have to have it. And if anything threatens to steal your hope you have to fight to hold on to it with everything you’ve got.  If marriage restoration is in your future you will have to have hope to get you there. And if marriage restoration is not possible, hope will be necessary to rebuild your life in a new direction.

If you’re holding on to hope you have to let go off desperation. Desperation always comes as all hope seems lost. And desperation rarely brings positive results. Most of the time, desperation clouds sound judgment and causes men and women to do things they end up regretting. And desperation is always in opposition of waiting patiently on the Lord, which is what hope enables you to do. So let go of desperation before it does you harm.

6) Hold on to faith. Let go of what you see.

The bible says faith will take what we hope for and brings it into existence. (Heb 11:1) It says faith is necessary to please God. (Heb 11:6) And it says believers in Christ are to live life walking by faith and not by what we see. (2 Cor 5:7) So hold on to your faith. Don’t let any circumstance or naysayer steal your faith. Guard your faith with all your heart.

And if you’re holding on to the faith you have, then you will have to let go of what you see. Your circumstance can look bleak and impossible. This marriage breakup may look like it’s beyond repair. Now, I’m not suggesting you live in denial of the reality of the situation. But what I am saying is what you see in the natural will often lie to you. It may take more time than you want. But trust me, I’ve seen it happen. The Lord can be doing a work on your spouse’s heart to turn them around and you will not see any evidence of it until they’re ready for you to see. So let go of what you see.


Holding on while also letting go is not easy. But if you’re wanting to give marriage restoration a chance you will have to find a balance between the two.


I’m sure there are many examples of how to hold on while letting go. If you would like to add some in the comments, please do so. We love to get your feedback.


Image by David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Holding on and letting go is very tough when you are in that moment of oh heck what do I do now. Very good advice! Advice that can be applied to every “tough” situation life throws at us.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hope Always says:

    My husband has made it clear that I need to stop looking for ways to connect with him. He is very bitter. He has filed for divorce and I am standing and praying for a new marriage with him. He refuses to let down the wall of hostility around him. I refuse to give up on our marriage yet I have a divorce to answer to

    Need help navigating this pain and come up with a plan to conduct myself in a Godly way and at the same time let my husband go.

    • I feel your pain!! My husband (he divorced me 5 years ago but i never referred to him as my x) returned to our hometown after 7 years as a result of a failed adulterous relationship. Since his return, his lived with our married daughter for the past 2 years but goes away to other towns then returns. I was hopeful of marriage restoration, after all, i’ve been standing for 7 years. at times it seemed like my husband wanted to reconcile and other times not. He has left yesterday again to another town/state to pursue a job (or so he says). This pain is so overwhelming that i just call out to the Lord for help, peace & comfort. The one truth i have learnt is that we cannot make anyone want us, love us or see us for the great women of Faith that we are. I am learning to give it all to God, not easy, but i am asking the Lord to take it since i am struggling to just hand it over. I agree with Pastor who says we can hold onto our covenant but not the marriage. It helps knowing that the pain i feel, our Heavenly Father feels the same pain too. I will not give up, give in, give out or give over. Seek God for guidance everyday. i know that someday we will be healed….. Jeremiah 30:17….. God Bless, you in my prayers

  3. Miriam says:

    This article speaks exactly to what I’m going through. My husband of 20 years decided to up and leave me. He blames me for all our problems and refuses all communication with me, but has yet to file for divorce. Praying that God helps me work through my anger and resentment in writing off this marriage and restores my faith and hope that things can turn around between my husband and me.

  4. Jorge says:

    Please, somebody pray for me. My wife thinks I have cheated at several point during our marriage. That is absolutely false. However, there is no way I can convince her otherwise. I’m shattered and at the end of the rope. She is very hard on me. I don’t deny I have flaws, I’m a sinner and I make mistakes. But none of them have to do with cheating or lying in any way to my wife. We’ve been through three therapists (our current one is actually very good) but I know my best defense will always come from the Lord. Please help me! Somebody pray for us! I don’t want our marriage to end, but I have considered divorce several times. God knows I love him, that I’m devout and that I try as hard as I can no to be an embarrassment to him. I’m as sad as I can be. Please, pray for us.

  5. Ruth Labs says:

    It’s been over nine months since my husband left and although I love him as much now as I did then I’m finding it difficult to hold on and not give up waiting for God and my husband. Today I found out he’s cancelled our joint membership to various things which feels like the lose of yet another connection with him. I’ve let him go physically (I had no choice as he moved out while I was at work) but now I feel like letting go emotionally as I’m so tired. Please pray God gives me the strength to continue to wait and have faith.

  6. Michelle says:

    I have hurt my husband really bad. He won’t talk to me and he’s really fearful. I am a Godly woman. The separation is fresh so the wounds are really fresh. I am trying to seek God in all this and give it all to him. He says he wants it over but won’t get a divorce. I know he still loves me but doesn’t like the way i act. I need spiritual guidance on how to fix myself first and them my marriage.

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