Matters of the Heart

Ministry leader and pastor, Yvonne Brooks, provides wise, compassionate and insightful advice to readers experiencing problematic life issues

How can I end a relationship with a preacher boyfriend who hit me?
I have been going out with a young man from my church for about four months. He is very well respected by the congregation, as he is a youth leader and preacher. I was initially excited and flattered when he showed interest in me; he is good-looking and considered a great catch. Most of the church knows we are seeing each other and is happy for us, but I feel under pressure to stay in the relationship even though I am not at all happy in it. I’ve found out that this ‘man of God’ has a bad temper, and when I frustrate him or he becomes impatient, he gets aggressive and shouts at me. He has even hit me—just the once, though. He was very apologetic when it happened. He is not the kind of man I want to spend my life with, and I want tips on how to get out of this relationship without causing too much fuss.
Ade, Kent

Pastor Yvonne:
Thank you so much for writing to me. There are so many red flags in your letter. As a man or woman of God, our private persona must measure up to our public persona. Good looks have to be complemented with good behaviour, a genuine heart for people, and what matters to God – personal relationships included. He hit you ‘once’ – that’s once too many. Who did you tell about this? A process has begun, where you are accepting violence and intemperate behaviour as part of a relationship and blaming yourself for his frustrations. Don’t allow any amount of joy on the part of the congregation to pressure you to continue with this relationship. You are the one who will live with the consequences. You stated that this is not the man you want to marry, so I encourage you not to waste time. Make an appointment to see your pastor and share your concerns. If you are worried about what to say, show them your letter and my response. Hopefully, they will agree to have a second meeting with yourself and the young man, and help you end the relationship if you desire. Hopefully, they will deal with some of the issues you have raised and make his continuing in ministry conditional on this.

I’m looking for a new sense of purpose now my children have left home.
For the past 27 years, I have raised my family and been active in the church alongside my husband. I have loved and enjoyed my role but am now at a crossroads. All my children have left home, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I think it’s called ‘empty nest syndrome’. I have always had a good, loving relationship with my husband; however, I’m not sure about how to move my life forward. I have never been a careerist; my husband earned good money, so I was a stay-at-home wife and mother. However, now my children are gone, I desire a new sense of purpose and direction but don’t know how to find it. Any guidance you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Vivien, Bristol

Pastor Yvonne:
You are different from the woman who got married years ago; now you have wisdom, knowledge and experience. We were created for a specific purpose, and the things that you love to do, coupled with your gifts and talents, are all clues to your purpose. It’s time for you to put yourself on the front burner; you are not an accessory, but have your own unique purpose. Speak to your spouse and ask him to give you feedback about what he sees in you. You should also speak about how you see your lifestyle in the future and what you both desire.

Pastor Yvonne Brooks is a co-pastor at New Jerusalem Community Church, Birmingham, and founder of Woman of Purpose, a ministry that encourages women to fulfil their purpose. She is also a speaker and author. For more details, visit

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