Who would think that once you get married, you’d battle with loneliness? Not too many who aren’t married would think so. After-all, it’s one of the reasons you get married —to walk WITH someone for the rest of your lives. But getting married isn’t a guard against loneliness. As a matter of fact, many spouses find themselves lonely in marriage.
I’ve experienced it; my husband Steve has too. No matter what, no human being can completely be there for us so that we don’t experience loneliness in some way. We can get so caught up in all that is going on around us that we space out. As a result, we can neglect the needs of our spouse.
Lets face it, there are seasons where busyness consumes us (or we allow it to take over more than it should). That’s when we start to feel isolated. It happens.
Lonely in Marriage?
Dennis Rainey talks about this in his book, Staying Close. He writes about the way life can cause “the drift of isolation” between those who are married:
“If there’s one thing worse than a miserable, lonely single, it’s a miserable, lonely married person. The irony is that no two people marry with any intention of being isolated from each other. Most of them feel that marriage is the cure for loneliness. The phrase, ‘Lonely Husbands, Lovely Wives’ would, for them, contradict what they think marriage is all about.
“Isolation is like a terminal virus that invades your marriage, silently, slowly and painlessly at first. By the time you become aware of its insidious effects, it can be too late. Your marriage can be crippled by boredom and apathy, and even die from emotional malnutrition and neglect.”
Dennis then goes on to say:
“Your marriage will naturally move more toward a state of isolation. Unless you lovingly and energetically nurture and maintain your marriage, you will begin to drift away from your mate. You’ll live together, but will live alone.”
And that is difficult. There’s no doubt. Of course, it’s important then to try to get your spouse to participate with you in building a life together. Then when you are apart physically, you will still move forward in your relationship.
That goes along with something that Mark Merrill suggests:
“Make the first move. Feelings of loneliness are seldom felt by only one person in a relationship. If you’re feeling isolated, chances are your spouse is, too. Take the first step to reconnecting with them, even if it’s just a small gesture. Open up to them about how you feel and give them an opportunity to do the same. Healing in marriage cannot begin if you hide or mask your pain.” (From his article, “What to Do When You Are Lonely in Marriage”)
Jennifer Smith, in her article, “Lessons I Learned from Being Lonely in Marriage” talks about this very issue and the lessons she has since learned.
Here’s are some abbreviated thoughts she gives:
“Through experiencing loneliness, I’d grown in two important ways.
“First, I became best friends with my husband.
“Marriage isn’t all about romance, it also needs friendship. …Spending time together as friends has enriched our marriage more than just ‘romantic’ things alone.
“Second, I became better friends with God.
“God never promised that marriage would make us happy, or be the cure to our loneliness. He said, ‘I will never leave your or forsake you.’ Loneliness drives us into the arms of Jesus. People will disappoint us, unfriend us, forget to call us back, or move away. But in each of us, there is an intentional God-sized hole. It’s very specific; it’s not just a love-sized hole. Only God can fill the hole completely, and that’s why He made it.
On this same issue, here is an article, written by Dennis and Barbara Rainey that you will benefit from reading:
But no matter what, please do what you can to be aware that you are especially vulnerable when you are lonely. Guard your heart, to the best of your ability. Fight the temptation to do what you shouldn’t and go places in your mind and heart that you shouldn’t. Don’t compromise your integrity, no matter what your spouse does or doesn’t do.
Alone in Marriage
Susie Larson, author of Alone in Marriage: Encouragement For the Times When It’s All Up to You, talks about this issue in the following Family Life Today radio interview. In this 3-part series, you will hear both inspirational thoughts she gives, as well as practical tips. Please
We also have a Marriage Message, which talks on this issue, as well:
• Lonely Though Married – Marriage Message #76
Above all, ask God to show you how to battle, with integrity, any loneliness you may be experiencing in your marriage.
“Pay attention to what I say. Turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity. Keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead. Fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left. Keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:20-27)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
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Filed under: Marriage Blog
14 responses to “Lonely in Marriage?”
(USA) I’m really sick of searching for marital advice and all I seem to find is how I should respect him more and just swallow and forget what he dishes out. I’m a “perfect wife” per my husband yet all I get from him is dishonor. I’ve put up with porn use, lying, more porn use, and betrayal. Every time I catch such I am the one who is punished for it. I got the bait and switch when we married. He was kind thoughtful and attentive. Now it’s just “too bad because I’m not as good of a man as I once was & that’s just the way it is.”
He writes my step-daughters the most ridiculously mushy love letters constantly but I have never even gotten a card. He gives them all the emotion that he should be giving me. A few months ago for our first wedding anniversary he gave me nothing. No card, no love letter, no gift… nothing. But of course he did want sex. My birthday a few days later was the same. For Valentine’s Day he bought almost $100 worth of gourmet treats that I was told “you can have some too” that he gave his daughters. He put a Valentine in the newspaper to his parents & gave gifts with long sappy love letters to his daughters. I got nothing even though he enjoyed unwrapping the thoughtful gifts I bought him & the one I even bought for his daughter to give him.
If I even mention my hurt about things like that he starts a tear down fight and retreats to his parents house where they gossip about me and pick me apart. He allows them to say horrible things to me & defends them yet keep in mind he says I’m the “perfect wife”. He even discusses & rates our sex acts with his mother. I’m sick of having to sit with these people on Sunday morning. I’m tired of the pastor telling me that I have to accept that he does things like porn & never mention anything that hurts me. If he looks at it a little less this month it’s not progress!
No one wants him to be held accountable for porn, for calling me horrible curse names, shoving me around, or emotionally abusing me. The family & church just want me to “get over it”. No one is interested in my spiritual condition, they just teach me to keep quiet at all cost to keep him happy with zero accountability. I’m worn out with being told to respect, forgive & get over it all while my husband enjoys all the benefits of being married to “the prefect wife” per his own words. I need better Christian advice.
(USA) You have been married only one year, getting out now is much easier then 10 years from now. What you are going thru now will only get worse as years go by. Your description of what you are going thru in your marriage is emotional and physical abuse that can not be sanctioned by any Christian values. The hurt and loneliness that you say you feel will turn into bitterness and resentment. Ask yourself if you are better with him or without him, from your post the answer is clear.
(USA) God brought us together. I know that for a fact & I will never waiver on that. I’ve immersed myself in praying & reading my Bible the last year. I’ve come to know God more than ever before. He knows how much abuse I have suffered at the hands of these “Christians”. Why does He never burden them all, especially my husband for the vial things they say & do to me? They act so holy at church. I am about to have to go sit with them through another Sunday service. This is truly another Sunday that I would be better off worshipping under my shade tree.
Hi, it has been over 3 years since you wrote about your situation on this board…because I have been married for 20+ years and in a lonely relationship, etc., I was wondering if you are with the same person? Can you give an update on how you are doing? Thanks.
O my goodness, I know this was posted along time ago but I’m going thru a similar situation how did yours turn out all these years later I’d love to know.
(NAMIBIA) I have been married for four years and have given birth to two minor children. I know, understand and times like now refuse to keep my emotions to myself. I am at a point where I am willing to tell whoever is willing to listen, not necessarily seeking advice but I fear being labeled if I should be divorced, an action I have considered and continue to consider.
I have not been physically abused but the emotional abuse happens at least once every week. I was unemployed but financially fit when we got married. Moved my furniture into his house, bought groceries at home, eaten mostly by him and his siblings, showered him with gifts, borrowed him money and even his surviving parent, took care of our 1st born’s basic daily needs single handed for the 1st two years of the toddler’s life. Our relationship has turned into me being name called and me retaliating by pointing out his shortcomings and me telling him getting married to him has thus far been my biggest mistake (and I meant it). I come from a broken home and he once brought it up, never to do so again. It still hurts though.
He is hardly home, gets home as late as 01:00 (am), boasts about me living in his house, his car. I once asked and payed someone to hack into his facebook account and found proof of his infidelities with among 5 women a married woman, a 17 year old girl and a work colleague of his. Of course he denied any sexual relations to them and claims he was just being naughty and stupid. For me, the fact that he did not have reason for his infidelities is prove that I am nothing short of the good wife I am suppose to be. The one moment he claims to love me with all his heart, the next he is someone different. From what I understand, his father was an abusive man towards them (mother and children). I however feel that should not be used as an excuse for his behaviour, instead, I feel, such an experience should make him want to give his family better.
Today like 95% of the time, all I feel towards him is HATE, anger and more anger.
(USA) You have Biblical grounds for divorce.
(NAMIBIA) Thank you Racquel, knowing that there is someone out there who understand what I am going through means a lot. I am still undecided though and I pray to God to lead me to the right decision and through that I am going. :) I find inspiration in women like yourself who in my opinion carry the world on their shoulders daily and still manage to keep yourself together.
Hi, I came across your story from 3+ years ago when searching what other people go through with their relationships. I was wondering how you are doing today? Hope you are doing better.
(USA) I’m trying to find answers of why my husband of 20 plus years who has been caught cheating with street walking, crack using prostitutes time and time again, swears to his wife that he’s sorry this time. He put me out and I wouldn’t go back and ended up having sex with another man for a period over 2 months. Then I went back to my husband. I truly love him with all my heart and soul. He truly seemed remorseful and swore he would never do such things to hurt me again.
Then after two years, finally, I called him out on him having sex with men. He says he owes me nothing of any information about how long he has had sex with men. He only has God to confess to. I need the entire truth so I can see he really means what he tells me. Now he demanded answers from me and was told the truth because I love him. Why won’t he talk to me? Why does he get so angry when I ask?
(NAMIBIA) Hi Rhonda, let me first comment you for keeping a marriage together for that long.
I feel when people are in a relationship thats as serious as marriage, you owe each other commitment and surely you have the right to the truth. The anger towards you could be because he feels ashamed by the truth.
(USA) Pay attention to his actions and not his words. Rhonda, if he’s angry anytime you ask a question then it’s because he’s still doing the same ole thing and if he can shut you up and shut you down then he won’t have to deal with it or choose whether or not he’s going to stop. I’ve found that giving a response of anger is to try and intimidate you and teach you the lesson to not ask again. If you don’t ask, he doesn’t have to try to lie and can therefore keep on with what he is doing.
He does owe you an explanation because he made a covenant vow to you before God. His body is yours and not his and vice versa. Don’t play into the psycho-babble and don’t expose yourself another day to what he could have contracted from such behavior. Give his reprobate mind and body over. You can’t deal with that but God has just the right medicine.
(UK) He is afraid and angry inside. He seems controlling bitter and unchanged. What he does is out of choice and what you have done is nothing compared to his ill behaviour. This is a bad and unhealthy relationship for over 20 years. God has allowed you to see your husbands way’s so you can choose to be happier without all that. This man does not care about you. He only seeks you when he feels lonely and lost. He needs God. And you need love and support.
Hi, I came across your post and other women when doing some searching about my own relationship. I was wondering if you can give an update of how you are doing? I hope everyone is happy and healthy.