Dealing with an Emotionally Distant Spouse
When you are trying to save your marriage and your spouse distances himself/herself either emotionally, physically or both, you feel more alone than you ever imagined possible. You can very well understand why God said the words, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Because whether you are a man or a woman, being alone when you’re in a marriage is NOT the plan you had, nor is it one that God had when you got married.
But how do you get past the walls that have built up between you and your spouse? Is there a door that can be constructed so the husband and wife are no longer emotionally shut off to one another?
Yes, there is, but unfortunately, this is not something that can be accomplished overnight. Many different things went into building those walls, and it will take a lot of effort and time to dismantle them. And it may be that your spouse is not open to participating with you and God in this… at least in the beginning. And frankly, maybe ever.
But we have to say, that it’s well worth the effort and work to try, because in doing so, you could open a whole new world up to your spouse and in your own life in relationship with him or her.
I know, I have been there with my husband. And with prayer and perseverance to do what God lead, as He lead, in the timing that truly worked (rather than my misguided timing), made a way where God opened doors that I only dreamed was possible. And now, as I look back, I think about all the blessings I could have missed out on, and all my husband would have missed, if I had given up too soon. How sad that would have been for us and our families and friends (plus the fact that we would not have been able to participate with God in this awesome ministry of helping others who are married).
I have to reiterate though, that perseverance is a big part of what it will take for the eventual blessing to come about that you can receive —perseverance in hand with prayer to the Lord for guidance.
As difficult as it is, God tells us that perseverance is a virtue that we are to strive after. How I wish it weren’t true, because like most human beings, I like things to come easy (or at least relatively so). Some of us think that as children of God, we’re entitled to certain “privileges” and answers to prayer in a shorter time frame and in a way that makes sense to us.
If we think that way, we’re wrong. On this side of heaven, we aren’t promised an easy life —one that isn’t so troublesome. As a matter of fact, there are a number of warnings in the Bible that we will experience Trials and Tribulations.
Concerning marriage, the Apostle Paul warned us and it’s written in 1 Corinthians 7:28 that “those who marry will face many troubles in this life.” He put out that warning to “spare” us from thinking otherwise.
That’s where prayerful perseverance and trust in God becomes important. There are many verses in the Bible that encourages us to persevere even when we want to give up. Among them are:
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
With this said, as you brace yourself to do what it takes for the reward of what God has for you, I encourage you to read the following articles we found on the Internet. I believe they will give you insight and help in this area of your marriage. I encourage you to make this your mission to do your part in opening the door to better understanding and communication in your marriage.
The first article is posted on the National Institute of Marriage web site. It addresses wives initially, but speaks to husbands as well as it progresses. If you find that your situation is reversed where the wife is the emotionally distant spouse and you, as the husband, are the one who is trying to find help with this problem of feeling emotionally abandoned, please just flip the advice around … glean through the great information that is provided and apply what will work in your marriage.
The article begins with these thoughts and questions that you may be able to relate to:
“Many wives are deeply perplexed at the apparent emotional unavailability of their husbands. The mystery and disappointment surrounding a husband’s emotional distance is summarized in the familiar question by many wives, “Why won’t my husband talk to me?” What is it with some men who just seem unwilling or unable to process emotional information about themselves and others? Are some men just born emotionally retarded? It kind of looks and feels that way some times. Or, are they deliberately avoiding disclosure of their motives, thoughts and feelings? And, why would they hide such information from someone they profess to love?”
To learn from the answers that Dr Bob Burbee writes, please click onto following link to read:
Another article is written by Richard Fitzgibbons. What is especially unique about this article is that it even contains a self-test so you can:
“Evaluate your self-giving in your marriage and that of your spouse.” You can “then try to identify common causes of this weaknesses in your spouse and in yourself.”
To take advantage of what this article, posted on the Marital Healing web site, offers and take the self-test, please click on the link below:
— ALSO —
April Motl says the following about emotional detachment in marriage:
“A lot can happen between the ‘I do’ at the altar and the years that follow. We can end up married to someone yet emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically disengaged. I have come to believe that one primary problem seems to sit at the root of most couples who feel disengaged. I call it the ‘full plate’ phenomenon. When your spouse (or you) has something that puts them emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually on overload something else has to be shut off in life — and that something else often becomes your marriage.”
To find out more, read this Crosswalk.com article:
Please search through the Marriage Missions web site for more articles that can help you in this mission of connecting with your spouse and finding ways to build and open doors of communication. There is a lot of wisdom, written by relationship experts, that is waiting for you to tap into and use. I encourage you not to give up. God has a blessing for you as you look to the Holy Spirit, our Wonderful Counselor, to open your understanding and to apply to your life.
“May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
(2 Thessalonians 3:5)
This article was written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.