How to Learn from Your Last Relationship

Dealing with the fallout of a breakup can seem like a curse at times, but if you’re open to learning from it, the process can actually be a blessing in disguise. After any romantic relationship, it’s impossible not to spend at least some time reflecting on what could have been. Your mind will naturally sift through all the things that went right and all the things that went wrong. Don’t miss this opportunity to mature! 

Knowledge is power, and your past relationships contain a wealth of information. This article will guide you through some key ways to turn that information into power. You can turn your mixed feelings into solid facts when you ask the right questions about past relationships.

Couple Sitting next to each-other in the woods

Ask Questions about the Relationship

All questions are supposed to lead to answers that affect your behavior or mindset. Questions about your past relationships are no different, and the answers should affirm or change your behavior or mindset in some particular way.

The following four questions are intended to help you recognize your strengths and learn from your mistakes. At the very least, the insights from these questions will assist in your personal growth, but hopefully, they will also increase your chances of having a successful relationship in the future. 

Where Was God on the Priority List?

This is an essential question to ask, but the answer has the potential to patch you up or cut you deep. On the one hand, if God was the number one priority, you can smile at yourself in the mirror and know that this person was not God’s special someone for you. On the other hand, if God was not the number one priority, there is cause for concern. 

Christ reminds us in Matthew 22:36-39 that loving God should be our number one priority, and loving people should be a close second. Perhaps you placed this person in the number one spot, or maybe you just didn’t give God His rightful place at the top. If that’s you, determine within yourself to always put God first in any relationship.

What Did I Learn about Myself?

There’s always a lesson to be learned about yourself from the previous relationship. Whether you realize it yet or not, life has taught you a lesson through the time you spent with that person. It takes some people longer than others to discover this, but asking this question will help spur the process along. 

You might have forged a particular habit (good or bad) that needs to be exploited or erased. You might have been exposed to a new hobby or interest of some sort. You may have discovered personal courage in a moment of decision or fear of a particular scenario. Something happened during this relationship that marked you in some way. Do some introspection and let the Holy Spirit be your guide to the answers. 

What Moment Would I Change?

The dreaded “what if” question is always difficult to explore, but it can produce some meaningful answers for the future. However, you shouldn’t spend more than 5 or 10 minutes answering this question. The point of asking isn’t to dwell on the past, but rather, it’s for sharpening your ability to recognize a meaningful moment in the future.

Perhaps there was an event you missed that was important in retrospect. Perhaps there were some words you said in anger that never should have been spoken. Perhaps there was an emotional need that wasn’t filled or could have been better exemplified. The answer to this question identifies a regret that you don’t ever want to repeat.

Did I Represent Christ Well?

This question inquires about your behavior as a Christian. None of us are perfect representatives of Christ, but as 2Corinthians 5:20 calls us, we should all desire to be good ambassadors. We are called to be an example to the world, and in this regard, our behavior is always under scrutiny from those outside the faith – especially when it comes to romantic relationships. 

How did your own behavior in this past relationship align with biblical principles and the Christian lifestyle? Were you avoiding the sin of sexual immorality? Were you patient with your partner? Were your conversations seasoned with grace? Use this question to contemplate your own spiritual maturity and progress in sanctification.  

Turning Your Answers into Improvement

Your answers are important because they reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your current condition. After taking some time to dwell on them and separate them into their appropriate categories, you can begin the process of personal growth in preparation for your next relationship. Strengths are areas to capitalize on, and weaknesses are areas or things to correct. 

Your weaknesses can be corrected through your diligence and God’s help. These are areas of the relationship that were hurting its health. Whether the problems were circumstantial, behavioral, emotional, or spiritual, they can be best corrected when you make an effort to become better and seek help from the Holy Spirit. Commit to becoming better in the areas you’ve identified for yourself, and with God’s help, you can move towards a better future by working on yourself now!

Your strengths can be exploited in a variety of ways. They’re areas of the relationship that you really excelled at (think characteristics and Christlikeness), and specific things that made the relationship better (think feelings and activities). You can prioritize your role in these areas in your next relationship. When you identify and lean into your strengths, what you’re really doing is planning to make your future partner happy.

Lastly, take time to heal from your last relationship before entering into a new one. It takes time to deal with the emotional hurt of a breakup. Reentering the dating scene too fast is only doing a disservice to yourself and the other person. Give your next relationship the best shot at success by giving yourself time to prepare for it mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.