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Don’t blame your break-up on God: A rant.

Is your break-up monologue just as laden with theological fallacies as the Catholic church of the Middle Ages?

I would seriously be a rich man if I had a nickel for every time I heard God told someone to break up with their boyfriend or girlfriend. It drives me nuts.

God—the Ground of all Being, the Dweller in Deep Darkness, the Mystery beyond Knowledge—told you to dump your bf? He may not have done much for your life, or for the framework through which you see reality, but you are certain that this deity told you it wasn’t working out.

It couldn’t possibly have been the fact that he plays video games 5 hours a day, or that she whines every other sentence.

Now, some of you may accuse me of drawing up a false dichotomy here. God, the Painter of the Cosmos, is indeed concerned with every molecule of His creation—He is incredibly precise. He cares about the raging pandemic infecting the world, as well as the death of a blade of grass in my front yard.

So yes, He is involved in our relationships and our endings of them. Or at least, He cares about them…His involvement in them is questionable.

It would sure be nice if the god we read about in the Bible was reduced to a Magic 8 Ball which we shook when we wanted answers. But here’s the catch: that would mean that sometimes it would give you answers you don’t like.

Have you noticed that whenever God tells someone to end a relationship, they don’t seem too bummed about it?

“Yah Jerry, I’m sorry. God just told me that we just should just be friends, because, like, I just didn’t feel peace about it.”

There are also an abundance of ‘justs’ when Christians have awkward conversations. Or pray.

Imagine if God actually told someone to end their relationship. It probably would not be what that person wanted, for one. I mean, where in the Bible does God tell people to do something and they say Oh phew! That’s what I was hoping you’d say!

God tells Abram to leave all of his land and his family. He also tells him to sacrifice his firstborn son.

He tells Moses, a timid shepherd, to stand up to the powerful Egyptian king, and later, that he won’t enter the Promised Land.

Jesus tells all believers to pick up their crosses (torture/execution devices) daily.


Next time one of your friends begins to say that God told him/her to dump their significant other, probe their motives. Are they saying that simply because it’s what they want, but they don’t want to shoulder the blame for hurting someone else?

Or did the Holy One of the Deep audibly tell you Jenny wasn’t their wife?

Don’t you feel silly now?

This is what’s called a ‘hermeneutic of suspicion.’ It seeks to examine the human motivations beneath a theological construct. The most obvious example of this is the Indulgences which were sold in the Middle Ages. Did the God of Eternity really sign off on some little slips of paper which would reduce your time in purgatory? Or was there a human motivation behind the sales of these documents?

See how it works? That’s why the entire idea of purgatory has largely been debunked because the evidence pointing toward human invention/greed was far too great to ignore.

So is your break-up monologue just as laden with theological fallacies as the Catholic church of the Middle Ages? Are you putting blame on God for something that was never in His mind to begin with?

How about next time, instead of dating a shlub named Matt who chugs Rockstars while playing Call of Duty, you just use some discernment and don’t put yourself into a dud of a relationship to begin with?

How about you don’t ask out Tiffany—who you know you won’t get along with, but she looks like Emily Ratajkowski in yoga pants—and inevitably have to end it down the road?

Although I believe God doesn’t tell you to break up 99% of the time, the Bible is dense with verses urging you to seek some wisdom.

How about instead of waiting for God to miraculously speak into your 2020 of a relationship, you build a little wisdom so you don’t find yourself in the same dead-end flings?


Read more of Ethan’s reflections on dating in his new book, Bad Timing!

2 comments on “Don’t blame your break-up on God: A rant.

  1. I spent a month in Kerala, S. India in 1971. The Christians there are part of Mar Thoma Church founded by the Apostle St. Thomas! Marriages there are arranged by parents. No dating. When I asked my host about this, he told me the Christian families there start talking to other parents when kids are young, and they carefully arrange the weddings years in advance. K.V. Cherian’s family was proof to me that this ancient protocol for marriage works. Divorce is rare, and sexually misconduct also.

    You have written another excellent essay.

  2. Awesomeness. 👊 Can be applied to all major life decisions! I’ve heard “God called me to start this” but somehow when it gets tough God magically changed His mind…..because that’s totally how God does things.🙄

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