Marriage, by its very definition, is the joining of two separate lives into one unified family. Two become one on a spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical level. God designed it this way. So, how is it that some people find themselves in a lonely marriage? It all begins with one or both partners believing a BIG lie.
We live in a society that applauds independence and the notion of achieving success all by ourselves. We are often groomed to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves because “no one else will”. Being independent and self-sufficient is certainly not a bad thing in and of itself, but it can lead to a lonely existence when we pursue it above all else (and many times we do). In a world where half of marriages end in divorce, we are taught to have one foot in the door and one foot out the door just to be ready in case our marriage fails. Some even have prenups, secret bank accounts, or money stashes in preparation for the day they may decide to divorce their spouse. What is the common denominator in all of these things?
It is the belief that we don’t NEED each other…that we can and should live our lives as if we were never married. It is a BIG LIE that sends husbands and wives into a lonely marital existence for years, and some even decide to call it quits.
So, what does a lonely marriage look like? It is two married people living very disconnected lives. Each spouse is highly engaged in his or her work during the day and doesn’t choose to involve his or her spouse in the workplace functions. There are no sweet texts or phone calls to connect with each other during the day. When they get home at night, both spouses are hyper-focused on the kids and all of their needs.
All conversation seems to center around what has been done or what needs to be done to take care of the kids, home, and finances. Both the husband and wife are much more concerned with setting up “Girls Night Out” or “Night Out with the Guys” as opposed to a date night. They rarely have sex, and when they do, there is a lack of connection. They both seem to be civil with each other, especially in public places, but there is frustration in the undercurrent of all of their communication.
They both feel stifled by the other and even resent most of what their spouse does. The husband and wife try to find reasons to not spend time together because the time they spend together is the loneliest and most exhausting part of their day. Both have completely lost sight of what brought them together in the first place. Somewhere along the way they lost their togetherness in an effort to pursue their independence. After all, they have each been doing their “own thing” and handling it all just fine, so they don’t really NEED each other, do they?
If this scenario described your marriage, please know that it doesn’t have to be this way. You CAN have the close, intimate marriage that you so desire.
So, if we are in a lonely marriage, what steps can we take to turn it around?
1. We need to engage in meaningful conversation with each other every day.
If we find that we are in a lonely marriage, there has been a breakdown of communication somewhere along the way. We need to start talking again. These conversations involve more than, “Kids have soccer on Friday” or “Office party is on Saturday night” or “What’s for dinner?”. We need to laugh together and talk about our hopes, fears, and dreams. We need to reconnect, and conversation is the bridge that will get us there. I also encourage you to start praying together every night. Your first prayer may be just asking God to help you get out of this lonely time in your marriage, and then you can add to your prayer list together.
2. We must remove anything that is perpetrating the loneliness in our marriage.
Are we spending more time with our friends than our spouse? If so, we need to spend less time with those friends and more time with our spouse. We need to invest in our friendship with our spouse! Are we staying at work too late? If so, we need to rearrange our work schedule so we can spend more time at home. We need to start connecting with our spouse throughout the day. This can be as simple as a sweet or flirtatious text saying, “I love you. I hope you are having a great day.” or a quick phone call to check in. This lets our partner know that we care, and we also feel cared for when they make us a high priority and not an afterthought. This is HUGE in marriage.
3. We must understand and admit that WE NEED EACH OTHER.
Some of you may think that needing your spouse shows weakness, makes you “needy”, or gives him/her too much power in your life, but the honest truth is a marriage will quickly become a lonely place unless both spouses are willing to lean on each other and care for one another as God intended. We are not giving up our individuality but we are trading our completely independent lives for a supportive, interdependent union with our spouse. I am not encouraging or promoting an unhealthy co-dependent marriage in which spouses emotionally abuse each other and neediness runs rampant. A healthy, balanced marriage is like a beautiful ballroom dance where the husband and wife are completely intertwined and in tune to one another with God leading them in their journey together. He gave us such a gift when He gave us our spouse. He never meant for us to live in a lonely marriage, so let’s embrace and cherish the beautiful gift of our marriage and let love defeat the loneliness.