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:
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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