Have you been having dreams about an ex-spouse or ex-partner and wondered what it could mean? Maybe you have been having dreams about an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, and you want to know if God is trying to tell you something.
Could these dreams about someone you used to date or have a relationship with, have some deeper meaning? Could your dreams of your ex-husband or ex-wife be a message from God? What is the biblical meaning of dreaming about your ex?
Perhaps the following stories of other people who have had dreams of past relationships will help you understand your own dreams about a former love interest and their possible biblical meaning.
Jane, a mother of two young children, sat in my office with a troubled heart and mind seeking marriage counseling. She and her new husband had been having problems, and now she was having dreams about her ex-husband. These were pleasant dreams of camping trips as a family and moments of laughter around the dinner table, not the arguments and supposed infidelity that had driven them apart. Had she made a mistake? Were these dreams God’s way of telling her to leave her new marriage and get back with her ex-husband?
On another occasion, Bryan approached me after the Sunday worship service with a confession. He was engaged to be married, but recently he had been having dreams about his ex-girlfriend. He embarrassingly confided that these dreams had been sexual in nature. He was also feeling guilty for the physically intimate relationship he had been involved in with his ex-girlfriend while they were dating. Were these current dreams a subconscious message from God that he should not get married? Did he still have unresolved feelings for his ex-girlfriend?
Then there was Samantha who had been separated from her ex-boyfriend for several months, but he was trying very hard for them to get back together. Although he was now using very flattering and persuasive words, their relationship had been marked by episodes of verbal and emotional abuse. She came to me as her pastor for guidance after having several disturbing dreams in which her ex-boyfriend’s abuse had become physically violent. Samantha wanted to know if these dreams were God’s way of warning her to not get back together. She said, “He has never hit me, and he seems sincere that he loves me, but I’m scared. What should I do?”
If we are honest, all of us have probably had a dream about someone we used to date. Many divorcees also confess that they have dreamt about their former spouses. The question is whether those dreams are messages from God?
Biblical meaning of Dreaming about your Ex:
According to the Bible, there are occasions when God speaks to people through dreams (See Numbers 12:6 – “I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.”). However, we should not assume that every dream is a message from God. Many psychologists believe that dreams are expressions of our own repressed longings or subconscious expressions of our unresolved desires. So rather than God speaking to us, we may be simply speaking to ourselves through the vivid images that race across our sleeping minds. As a Christian spiritual advisor my objective is to help people distinguish between messages from God and from our own human desires.
First, there are no specific examples recorded in the holy texts that describe a dream about an ex-relationship, and consequently there can be no direct biblical interpretation of such dreams. The Bible says that the only true interpretation of a dream can come from God (See Genesis 40:8). I am convinced that if God is trying to send you a message thru a dream, He will also most certainly convey the meaning of that dream to you as well. Just remember, God never contradicts Himself (See Numbers 23:19), so whatever message you believe God is sending you in a dream, that interpretation and your subsequent actions must also align with God’s Word.
For example, I could not tell Jane that God wanted her to divorce her current husband so that she could return to her ex-husband. In fact, God says quite emphatically that He disapproves of divorce because of the emotional pain and mental suffering it inflicts upon everyone involved (See Malachi 2:16). Jane’s dreams were those unresolved desires of the type of marriage that God also wants for us. Unfortunately, they were simply that – unresolved desires – dreams of what should have been and could have been, but they had not come true. Instead of another divorce, I challenged Jane to find ways to make her dreams a reality in her new marriage.
I encouraged Bryan to seek God’s forgiveness for the physically intimate relationship he had pursued with his former girlfriend. He also had to acknowledge that because of that physical relationship he would always be intimately connected to his ex because God intends for us to be in a life-long monogamous relationship with just one other person (See Matthew 19:5-6). The dream could have been evidence of these unresolved issues within his own mind and spirit. Before he got married, Bryan needed to truly search his heart concerning his commitment to his fiancé.
As for Samantha, I strongly encouraged her to consider if God might be using her dreams as a warning to proceed cautiously. Perhaps, these visions of abuse were the indicators of her own hidden fears or they could have been the nudging of God to walk away from a potentially dangerous situation.
Above all else, I would encourage everyone to not rely on just a dream, or a gut feeling, for guidance when it comes to such important matters such as who we date or marry. Prayerfully ask God for guidance and seek to honor Him in all you do including your relationships.
The Bible warns us in Deuteronomy 13:1-4 – “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him.”
[*]The stories in this article are compiled from over twenty-five years of pastoral ministry and do not represent any specific individuals. The names are used for illustrative purposes only.
[*] Unless otherwise specified, all Bible references in this article are to the Holy Bible: New International Version, (Biblica, Inc., 2011).