You don’t have to be lonely in marriage.
If you are feeling lonely, it isn’t entirely your spouse’s fault.
Feeling lonely in marriage comes from a lack of connection, and a lack of connection develops over time. Most likely, you’ve both stopped prioritizing the other.
And, this could be because you are acting self-centered. You’ve let a mindset of individuality and independence erode the connection you should have with your spouse.
Now before you throw things at your screen and refuse to read anything else I ever write, hear me out.
Why are so many people lonely in marriage?
The western world values individualism, especially in western societies like the United States. Individualism is what brought most of our ancestors to this country. It was a rugged individualism, where people believed that they should help themselves, and the government should not involve itself in the lives of the citizens. People were determined to show that they were able to make a living without government help.
Over the past 50 years, that rugged individualism has morphed into an expressive individualism. This new individualism is the pursuit of personal growth and fulfillment. Now, we don’t see the government as the entity that we are independent from. We see anyone who we think is trying to control us as a threat. Expressive individualism focuses people on their own needs and desires.
When you combine our nation’s culture of expressive individualism with the desire to be independent and self-reliant, it causes problems for marriages. The first and most crucial characteristic of marriage is that two people become one, not two people focusing on their own needs.
In the dictionary, individualism is defined as “a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount,” and “the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals.” Independence means “not subject to control by others : SELF-GOVERNING,” “not looking to others for one’s opinions or for guidance in conduct,” and “not requiring or relying on others.”
Each of those definitions contains words and phrases that express going at life alone.
The world we live in encourages us to be independent, confident women and men, taking all the risk and responsibility and getting all the glory.
Marriage vs. Independence
Sure, we can do life alone, searching for our own meaning and happiness without relying on anyone else, but why should we?
The Bible tells us that God made us for relationship. He walked in the Garden with Adam so he could connect with him and build a relationship. God wants us to know Him. And if He made us in His image, then one of our primary needs is also to be known by others.
So God wants to know us, and we should want to get to know Him, but He recognized that even though He was with him, Adam needed another human.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18
It takes relationships with other people to have that need met. And the closest relationship possible with another human being on earth is marriage.
Look at the definition of marriage. Marriage is “the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law,” “the mutual relation of married persons : WEDLOCK,” and “the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage.”
If you are married, you are not meant to be alone.
You are possibly making yourself lonely in marriage by insisting on being an independent individual. Believing you can do it all and don’t need help goes against the way God designed us.
How can I take away the loneliness?
How can you take action to stop feeling lonely in marriage?
A good place to start is by looking at Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
These verses show the importance of having someone special to do life with. They give some practical advice demonstrating the characteristics of a strong relationship with another human being. It explains why two are better than one. Let’s look at it from the perspective of marriage.
First, verse 9 says two people have a good reward for their toil. When a married couple works together on something, they can accomplish more than what the two of them could achieve on their own. When you are a team, your household can run more smoothly, your parenting will be easier, and you have a more significant impact on the world.
In verse 10, we see that this type of relationship provides someone to support you when times get tough. Everyone needs someone to listen to their rants and not criticize them for it.
Verse 11 speaks of comforting one another when sadness comes. Offer a shoulder to cry on, and don’t judge your spouse for dealing with the sorrow in a different way than you would. Being married means that when something hurts my husband, it should hurt me as well.
And lastly, verse 12 shows the need for us to have someone who will protect you and have your back. Does your spouse feel safe with you? We talk of women going all “mama bear” when someone messes with our kids, but that same spirit of protection should come out for our husbands as well.
Tell my spouse this, not me
It may seem like you are not the one that needs to read this post. Show this to my spouse you may be thinking, so that they know they need to take away my loneliness.
There’s some truth to that, but remember, you can’t control your spouse. You can only control yourself. And you can take steps toward reducing the loneliness by increasing the interaction.
So look at the ideas from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Instead of waiting for your spouse to do these things, so you feel less lonely, decide to intentionally take these ideas and run with them yourself, doing them for your spouse without expecting anything in return.
The connection will improve. Maybe not right away. It needs to become a habit. You need to have a new mindset that prioritizes meeting these needs for your spouse instead of worrying about yourself to see long-lasting results.
Let’s go back to the earlier discussion about individualism and independence. Sure, you can do life alone. But why should you when you have someone who made a life-long commitment to do it with you?
Don’t ruminate on feeling lonely in marriage. Get up and do something about it that will make your marriage healthier and more durable.
Two-thirds of divorces in America come from “good enough” marriages. They don’t come from abusive or seriously troubled ones. In most divorces, the husband and wife have simply drifted apart.
Place commitment to your marriage above the ebb and flow of emotions. Start rebuilding that connection using the passage from Ecclesiastes as a guide, and watch your loneliness fade away.
If loneliness is only one of several problems in your marriage, you may want to know where to start first. Where should you put the most effort into your prayers for and actions in your marriage?
Check out our new “Marriage Killer Quiz!” It will help you identify your most prevalent mindset that holds your marriage back from being much, much better than it is.
After you take the quiz, if you would like some help to start creating a less frustrating and fulfilling marriage, marriage coaching may be for you.
We help you create a new and improved marriage through results-focused coaching without talking for hours about feelings, placing blame, focusing on the past, or having to admit you’re broken. Think of sports coaching. Coaches don’t focus on the mistakes each individual player made during a game. Instead they use those as a learning tool for the next game. Your mistakes are meant to be learned from, not to degrade you.
Coaching isn’t a crisis intervention. Nor is it a substitute for psychotherapy, or advice from a professional such as an attorney, accountant, physician, etc. If you know your marriage could be a lot better and you’re ready to make that happen, it’s an excellent time for you to hire a coach.
Sign up for a free 30-minute marriage assessment to see what coaching with us would be like! We’d love to help you!