Home » When to Hold On and When to Let Go

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

24 comments

  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.

    • Jana Holmstrom says:

      Have you thought of becoming completely transparent with her? Allowing her access to your phone, turning your Location on, calling in throughout the day to ease her mind? I know you haven’t cheated but I have been cheated on and then later accused my husband of cheating when he had not. He would not argue his case or get defensive because I was wrong. The only way I got past it was when, consistently, he told me he wished I did not feel this way, pulled me close, reaffirmed his love, and asked me what he could do to help me feel more secure. With time, I didn’t feel a need to question And my insecurities went away.
      I hope that helps…

      • Jorge says:

        Dear Jana. Thank you for your answer. I’m always available, she has unrestricted access to my phone because therebis absolutely nothing to hide. Not a single thing. The only locked place in my life is the front door. Little by little, she’s become more trusting; I guess it has happened simply because the evidence (or lack thereof, in my case) is crystal clear. Next time, I’ll follow your advice. It seems loving and reasonable. I’ ll do my part and let God do his. God bless you and your family with all the best of his love.

  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.

      • Ruth Labs says:

        No, I haven’t given up though the thought is with me every day. It’s hard keeping going after thirteen months of separation, not knowing what’s going to happen. However I can’t give up, not because I don’t think about it, but because I can’t stop hoping one day the miracle will happen and we’ll be back together. God reminds me of his unconditional love for me, and that I should have this for my husband, and recently showed me it’s not my husband’s fault, it’s Satan’s for attacking him and speaking untruths to him at a weak time in his life. I don’t often have the words to express to God what I want to say so my favourite quote at the moment is “pray as you can, not as you can’t”, and this applies to daily life as well, ” do as you can, not as you can’t”. Don’t worry if you think about giving up, just ask God to give you what you need to keep going and he will. God bless to all those in this situation

  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.

    • Jen says:

      I am going through this same thing I had issues within in me that didn’t know how to handle from my past, I tried to work on them the best I knew how but wasn’t good enough my husband moved out two months ago and it’s painful daily. I have found a new understanding and love for the scripture and the word I pray everyday fist for God to continue his restoration in me to allow me to be the best person I can be and in turn I can be the best wife and mother and I pray for restoration in my marriage because I believe in my marriage covenant I believe in the promises I made to my husband and to god. My love for my husband is unconditional and I know that without a doubt now because he is being so unloveable his words are beyond hurtful and I know there is a stronghold over his emotions he his harboring resentment but won’t admit it so it just sits there he is determined divorce is the only option for us but my faith knowing Gods promises for me I can’t agree with that. Holding on while letting go is the hardest I have failed at that many times in the past two months but if it’s worth fighting for I’ve got to keep standing and believing my God is bigger than the devil on him! My husband is a God fearing man that’s why this is so hard for me because he know what’s in the word but he has allowed the devil to convince him that God is ok with him leaving his family I have listened to him talk with his friends about their marital issues and he is so encouraging telling them to fight for they marriage and not to leave their family but we don’t have major issues just little things that have turned bigger but fixable issue a and he walked out and my confusion has made me react with my emotions and he tells me all I do is push him away but for me I was just trying to fight for him. I have turned my life to the lord and fully surrender to him I believe he can restore anything it’s just hard to loose the one you love so much

  7. Myron says:

    I REALLY needed this today, perfect timing. I’ve been separated from my wife of 17 years and children for 3 months now. She’s already moved on into another relationship, but I’ve learned to NEVER believe what she says and only believe 50% of her actions.

    I’m not giving up because I have faith, hope and a relationship with Jesus. I’ve invested myself into a Christian Relationship Coach and Personal Trainer too. I’ve lost 42 lbs in 3 months and my Christian Relationship Coach is helping me with my faith, prayer and a plan to restore my marriage and family.

    It’s differently not easy, but I’m prayed up and prepared for the LONG battle and fight that is ahead of me.

    Nothing is for certain or ever guaranteed, other than death. Choose today, to be the day that you make the change and difference in your lifestyle, faith and hope.

    Believe and have faith that GOD will restore not only your marriage, but everything that you lost, except time.

    I pray for everyone else that is experiencing this grieve and pain that I’m experiencing too. How you to choose to deal with this heartbreaking experience is up to you.

    If anyone needs to talk, I’m available.

    Be humble, seek his face, know that GOD wants to restore your marriage, trust him and more importantly….be patient.

  8. Mike says:

    Wow, I needed this today. My wife left two months ago and I’ve been battling that balancing act of keeping hope and letting go ever since. I’ve done some major soul searching and realized I was not the man she needed me to be. I had a true coming to God moment about three weeks after she left and I’ve been getting closer to God ever since. I now understand the role of a husband in a marriage and how I failed in that role. I’ve been praying that God help me find the strength to be the man and husband that He wants me to be. I’m going to church regularly and making some awesome friends, working out and eating healthy regularly (down 30 pounds!), I’ve ordered materials to start studying for the actuarial exams (something I’ve always wanted to do, but been too afraid to take that leap), and I’ve started seeing the world through my relationship with God and Christ. That last one has made all the difference in the world. I’m enjoying life again. I’m even finding joy in my teaching job like I hadn’t since my first year teaching. I’m making connections with my students in ways I never imagined. Even through all of these changes, I can’t allow myself to give up on my marriage.

    My family and non-church friends have all told me to let her go and move on with my life. They care about me and don’t want to see me hurt anymore, but I’ve learned from the bible that we must find joy through suffering. Which makes sense. There can be no light without day, similarly there can be no joy without suffering. My church friends, rather than tell me to move on and let go, have encouraged me to leave the success or failure of my marriage to God. To trust that He has a plan for me and that it is good. He will work to soften her heart towards me, but He will not force her to change her mind. He can guide her, but it will ultimately be her choice. However, no matter what she chooses, the suffering I’m experiencing now will make me stronger, wiser, and more capable of love the way God intends. I had to go through this to understand my relationship with God and the man I’m meant to be.

    I have thanked God every day for bringing her into my life. Her love made me a better man. Her leaving made me realize the man I have yet to be. I’m working hard to be that man and hope that God’s work is enough to encourage her to see those changes and open her heart back up to me.

    Only time will tell.

    • Jana H says:

      What an amazing testimony. My husband left almost two months ago and he seems to emotionally distancing himself more and more. I am devastated. I have noticed that I have stopped praying as much for God to bring him back to me but have been praying for his soul. My husband says he is “battling demons” and is struggling in his faith. I truly believe that praying first for his relationship with the Lord will lead to his turning back to me.
      Either way, I am trying to trust God’s plan.

    • Keila says:

      Awesome testimony. I could have written this myself just the opposite though as I am the wife who was left. My husband told me he wanted divorce after 12 years of marriage and while currently deployed. It’s been almost 3 months and I can honestly say I have never grown as much in my spiritual walk as I have the past 2 months. It’s incredible that crying out to God was almost pointless because he literally never left me, I had left HIM! I realized I put my husband on a pedestal and rather abruptly God showed me that He should have been first. I am realizing now the wife I should have been (in a spiritual sense). I am pleading the blood of Jesus over our marriage and have faith that he will restore it until he gives me peace to move on.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I got married in March 2017, signed divorce papers in May 2017. My husband has always accused me of cheating months before we got married. But I thought maybe it was just a natural jealousy since he works in another country and we see each other after months and thought it will go away. We have been dating from 2013 and he has 2 kids and I don’t have kids of my own but have a good relationship with his children. We used to talk on Skype from 5am almost everyday until 7:30am, during my lunch break at work and from when I knock off from work 16:30 until midnight at times until after midnight . This was an everyday thing. The other day when I was getting home after work and was in the elavator , there was a guy also in the elevator , and I was on Skype with my camera on, he took a picture of the guy. This guy I donot even know him and I was not even talking with him . After some few days, he said to me I am cheating on him and he sent me a picture of that guy from the elevator and said , that is the guy I sleep with. I have told him I don’t know the guy and am not cheating but he did not believe me. He would say horrible things to me that will make me feel disrespected and not being loved and the next day he would send me a text saying that” it’s a new day, let’s forget about what had happened yesterday ” and I was not supposed to ask him the reason for he was behaving the way he did the previous day. most of our good conversations don’t end up nice most of the time, like the other day he said to me, ” I have a big secret and I am scared to tell him because I am scared that if I tell him he will leave me” . So I said to him I don’t have any secrets that I could be hiding from him and even thinking he will leave me. He said I was lying. He just went on and on about it and he would get so angry and even hangs up the phone . The next day, he will behave as if we never had that conversation . I felt like I was being controlled with a remote. His moods changes and each time I talk with him I had to pray in my heart that our conversation ends well. At times he will call me in the early hours of the morning and I will pick up and talk with him but aftersome few days he would say, when he called me he saw me making love to another man, and he would be crying when he says that. He will say to me, he sees me every night when he calls me, he sees me making love to another man. And he would say that I sleep with different men every single day, and he sees that . My husband will be crying when he says this. And I could see that somehow he believes that I do those things and he believes that he sees me doing that. The next day he would say again, let’s forget abt yesterday it’s a new day. Then I noticed he has a problem but I couldn’t figure out what it could be. I just prayed about it and asked God to give me guidance also. He came back home in March and we got married.we were together for the whole month of March and there were no problems no accusations at all. We agreed that I will resign in June and in August I would join him in the country where he is, together with our children . Well, he went back in April the 3rd. On the 10April, he started again with his accusations. I just didn’t know what to do anymore. He said to me, I was supposed to have resigned in March and go back with him , and according to him, I didn’t resign because I enjoy sleeping with men back here. Again I felt disrespected . I asked God to give me strength as I used to cry and felt for unworthy , being insulted that much by the person that I love and I got married to. All that I did was just to pray for his eyes to see the right things and his mind to be in a rational state. One day after we had finished praying at night while I was on my knees and thanking him for the prayer , he said to me I should close the door and put the dust bin behind it. And I asked him why must I put the bin behind the door , but he shouted. I got so scared and opened the door , I wanted to go to the kitchen to get the bin, but I didn’t even move one step, and he said to me” close that door! Shouting. And I closed it , he then said to me” You have just let him out” I asked him, let who out. He answered” The guy you were making love to . He said” you think that I am stupid , I saw you making love to him now in front of my eyes . I have told you I will catch you. ….I stood there…..still standing behind the door looking at him yelling at me. I put my iPad on the side of the bed and I kneeled down again and prayed . I was so angry at God, Andy asking Him where He was ? I said” God we have just finished praying for you and now my husband is accusing me of being unfaithful and I could see pain in my husband’ s eyes. Somehow he was seeing those things he said I was doing, and he believed that they are real. He was in pain. I prayed for myself and for him. He didn’t stop , as I was praying he was calling me names. He said to me I must move the camera to the other sid of the bed, and then went to the kitchen , bathroom and sitting room. He then instructed me to go to the other room where my 2 flat mates sleeps. Then one of the ladies woke up and let me in. I went in that room so that he could see there is no man. I cried, I cried because I could see pin in his eyes . I sure knew he was not fine. But still didn’t know what is happening to him. The lady spoke with him and told him ” your wife doesn’t do the things u are accusing her of. And he just he said the ladies are afraid of me they don’t want to tell the truth. I checked on the internet and matched his behavior to people with delusional disorder. I asked him to to see a psychiatrist or psychologist in country where he is and I didn’t succeed . Instead he said to me I have sex addiction and I am the one who must go to rehab. We got divorced but I still pray for him , I ask God to open his heart and make it tender again. That his eyes will be opened and his ears hears the truth. I pray that the broken places in him will be healed . I am still wearing my wedding band and still calls him my husband whenever I have to talk about him. I love him with all my heart and it pains me knowing that he is suffering believing in the things that are not real. I love my children so much . And now I have a fear that soon he will stop me from calling. Them even visiting them. I don’t know whether I should give or not give up. But what know is I will never stop praying for him, to get healed.

    U

  10. Reddie says:

    The hardest thing is to know the difference between letting go and giving up. I don’t want to ever give up on my husband even though he is far away, but I feel now is the time to let him go (if I am able). Please pray I can tell the difference and that God will be there to support me. Best wishes to all and may this new year see the restoration of many marriages. God bless.

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