Finding love and entering into a Godly relationship can be one of life’s greatest joys. But what happens when you feel strongly called to someone, but God seems to be saying no? This difficult situation leaves many Christians wondering how to move forward in faith and obedience.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: God says no to a relationship for our protection and growth. His perfect timing and plan is worth waiting for.
In this article, we’ll explore the top reasons God may close a door to a relationship, how to discern His voice, what the Bible says about His will in romance, and how to move forward when your plans don’t seem to align with His timing.
God Closes Doors to Protect Us
From Unhealthy Relationships
Sometimes God closes the door on a dating relationship because it would not have been healthy for us. As our loving Father, he wants to shield us from verbal, emotional, spiritual or even physical abuse.
Research shows that nearly 1 in 3 teens experience some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships. But God can use a closed door to redirect us toward the right person at the right time.
God also protects us from relationships that could entangle us emotionally or spiritually with nonbelievers. While some Christians disagree on whether believers should date non-Christians, Scripture reminds us that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
God may close a door that looks exciting but could harm our faith.
Doors close because the relationship or pursuit might distract us from God’s plan for this season of life. Maybe we’re supposed to focus on finishing college, caring for a sick parent, serving in ministry or fulfilling job duties for now.
Distractions could also come from relationships that aren’t right for us long-term. God closes those doors because he has someone better in mind.
Consider Rebekah in the Bible. When Abraham’s servant asked her for a drink of water at the well, she immediately offered to water his camels too. This act of service was a sign she was the right wife for Abraham’s son Isaac. Sometimes dating relationships end because that person isn’t the right fit.
And God uses closed doors for our protection while preparing the right person.
Most painful of all are the doors God closes to protect us from idolatry. Idolatry essentially means putting anything else before God. But because romantic relationships stir such intense emotions, they can subtly become idols over time.
We may cling tightly to a dating partner rather than clinging to Christ.
Studies confirm that strong feelings of romantic passion activate the brain’s reward system similarly to addictive behaviors. No wonder breakups can be so hard! But God sometimes intervenes to preserve us from loving a person too much.
Losing that person then leads us back to the only One truly worthy of our wholehearted worship.
God Says No Because of His Perfect Timing
He knows us better than we know ourselves
God is omniscient and knows everything about us – our past, present, and future (Psalm 139:1-6). He knows our deepest desires, hidden motives, and secret fears. He understands how we are wired and what truly makes us happy.
Sometimes we pursue relationships for the wrong reasons – to fill a void in our hearts, to boost our egos, or to numb our pain. God loves us too much to let us continue down a path that won’t lead to lasting joy.
When God says “no” to a relationship, it is because He knows that person will not be the right fit for us.
He sees the full picture
Unlike us, God sees the full picture and how each relationship will impact our lives down the road (Isaiah 46:10). He knows what lies ahead for us and our potential partner – the joys and trials, mountaintops and valleys.
From His eternal perspective, He knows which relationships will draw us closer to Him or lead us astray. God sees all the intricate threads that weave together our story. When He closes one door, it is because He wants to guide us toward the right one.
As Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
His timing is perfect
God is never early and never late, but always right on time (Galatians 4:4-5). He has set the perfect time for each event in our lives – including relationships. According to a 2021 Pew Research study, the median age for first marriages has risen to 30 for men and 28 for women.
God may block a relationship now because the timing isn’t right, but that doesn’t mean He has abandoned the desire altogether. As Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Trust in God’s impeccable timing.
He promises to give us the desires of our hearts at the proper time (Psalm 37:4).
Learning to Discern God’s Voice on Relationships
Study scriptures on God’s will in relationships
The Bible provides considerable wisdom on discerning God’s will regarding romantic relationships. Key scriptures include 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 on fleeing sexual immorality, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 about not being unequally yoked, and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 which encourages each of us to control our own body in holiness and honor.
Digging deep into relevant passages helps us understand God’s perspective on love, marriage, sexual ethics, and more.
Pray and seek wise counsel
In addition to studying scripture, persistent prayer is hugely impactful when seeking God’s guidance on relationships. As we bring our questions, desires, and concerns to God in prayer, He can reveal His will to us. However, hearing God’s voice often requires patience in stillness and silence.
We may need to pray daily for months or years about a relationship, humbly asking God for clarity. It’s also prudent to seek wise counsel from mature believers. By confiding in trustworthy Christian mentors, we gain outside perspective on whether a romantic connection aligns with God’s will.
Examine your motives
Assessing our underlying motives and assumptions provides insight into a relationship’s appropriateness. For example, if we desperately long for intimacy due to loneliness or insecurity, we may rush into unwise dating situations or ignore warning signs.
On the other hand, if our motive is to honor God and we only want to proceed if He approves, then we will patiently wait to act until we have peace from the Holy Spirit. Examining emotions and past hurts that influence our reasoning allows us to consciously submit all motives to God.
Pay attention to spiritual red flags
Sometimes God clearly communicates when a romantic interest is not His will, if we’re attentive. Spiritual red flags include: chronic lies or secrecy, major doctrinal disagreements about God, hostility towards Christianity, manipulation or abuse, sexual immorality, drug/alcohol addiction with refusal to get treatment.
In these cases, instead of overly focusing on surface chemistry, prayerfully consider if behaviors align with biblical values. Listen to any unease from the Holy Spirit – that inner knowing something feels off despite desperately wanting it to work out.
Pay attention to loved ones who identify concerning spiritual gaps.
Moving Forward When God Says No
Surrender and trust His plan
When relationships end unexpectedly, it can be profoundly difficult and disorienting. However, as people of faith, we can choose to surrender the situation and trust that God has a purpose, even if it remains unclear. This requires humility and courage.
As the saying goes, sometimes the shortest distance between a closed door and an open one leads through the hallway of trust. When one door closes, God often opens another.
By releasing a failed situation with open hands, we create space for new blessings we may not foresee now. As the Bible reminds, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8, KJV).
Though the present loss grieves us, better awaits than our limited vision can conceive. Maintaining spiritual connection through prayer and community sustains us in this hallway until clarity comes.
Guard your heart
A broken relationship leaves behind painful emotions and memories. This grief is valid, yet dwelling here too long breeds resentment or false hope, hindering forward movement. After reasonable processing, the wise choice is guarding our hearts against further bitterness by limiting unnecessary contact with a lost partner and curtailing relentless rumination over what-ifs.
Removing constant reminders assists this. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s not easy when digital age connectivity bombards relationships nonstop. But beginning that detachment process now prevents wallowing and frees us emotionally, even if mostly inwardly first.
Here we walk by faith, not sight, towards wholeness.
Focus on personal growth
Losing love unexpectedly forces confrontation with our own shortcomings in relationships. Rather than obsessing over a partner’s faults, the growth opportunity lies inward. Ask God boldly to reveal personal flaws hidden beneath denial or blame elsewhere – impatience, poor communication, immaturity, selfishness.
The truth shall set you free.
Getting messier before progressing forward, this humility lays healthy foundations for healthier relating next time and beyond singleness, whenever that comes. According to psychologists, self-improvement following breakups relates strongly to long-term life satisfaction.
Furthermore, embracing this personal responsibility often attracts new blessings into lives suddenly emptied of the past’s false securities.
Remain open and obedient
Stepping into unknown territory without the familiar comfort of a special someone feels intimidating, even threatening. Yet this precise vulnerability offers the soil for renewed growth and purpose. Maintaining openness and obedience to God’s guidance is key, rather than retreating defensively.
Listen for the still, small voice gently nudging in new directions not previously considered.
Perhaps this involves reconciliation with family or friends, exploring a passion abandoned for an ex’s interests instead or serving others beyond ourselves. Wounding by yesterday’s loss equips us uniquely for the asteroids of tomorrow’s sufferers needing empathetic companionship.
If nothing else, solitude teaches forced reliance on God as primary community when human supports fade. He alone suffices. Therefore, obey that next right step despite fears and watch journey unfold.
Although it can be tremendously difficult when God says no to a relationship, we can take comfort in knowing He sees the full picture and has an amazing plan for our lives. His timing and will are perfect, even when we don’t understand.
By trusting His heart and plan, we position ourselves to receive His very best in His perfect timing.
When we feel called to someone but God slams the door shut, the healthiest response is to draw close to Him. Surrender your desires, renew your mind with scripture, and ask Him to guide you forward, one day at a time.
With an open and obedient heart, you’ll be ready when the right person and time come together in His glorious providence.