The BIG Lie that Leads to a Lonely Marriage

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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.

couple dancing quote

 

For more ways to build more intimacy in your marriage, check out our video series, “Best Sex Life Now”, by clicking here.

Also, you can purchase a copy of our latest book, “The Marriage Minute”, by clicking here, for more ideas on how to reconnect with your spouse.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Randy Ruby

    This state of loneliness is called disillusionment. My wife and I broke this cycle when we attended a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend. http://www.wwme.org

  • Brandon M.

    Good for you man. Way to step up. Keep the faith and stay close to Christ. God Bless.

  • ashleywillis4

    That sounds amazing! I wish more couples would take the initiative and get help. Thanks so much for your response.

  • Julie Heichel Filson

    I have been married for 20 years and find that we have fallen into this cycle. We have 2 teens, a 10 year old highly special needs child, our own business and only 1 car. Most of our conversations revolve around the daily logistics of our lives. I am the primary caregiver for our youngest child and I find that by the end of the day I am too worn out and exhausted to have anything left for my husband. We feel like we are living more like roommates or business associates lately. We don’t have any desire to split but living like this is not what either of us envisioned.

  • ashleywillis4

    Julie, it is so easy to fall into the cycle you have described. I would encourage you all to start “dating” again. Try and have a date night once a week, if possible. The business of life can choke out our marriages, and we all have to fight to maintain the spark. You all have so much on your plate, and I can only imagine how exhausting it must be right now. You all WILL get through this. I am praying for you all.

  • Concerned American

    My solution to the problem is to read “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura.
    it is an invaluable insight to what women can and should do for their husbands and their marriage.
    The biggest mistake people make is thinking marriage is about themselves. It isn’t. It isn’t about you at all. It is about what you can do for your spouse. When the wife takes the lead to treat her husband in a loving, kind, and respectful manner bbecause it is the right thing to do, she should find that her husband returns that gift to her…elevating the relationship and marriage.

  • Brandon M.

    Maybe their should be a companion book based on Ephesians 5:25 called: “Loving your wife as Christ loved the Church as gave Himself up for Her.”

  • Concerned American

    I’d say that you should go read Dr. Laura’s explanation of why a companion book for husband’s isn’t warranted.

  • Moby Dick

    Easy way for you to say it’s all the wife’s fault. And she’s the only one who needs to change.

  • Concerned American

    Easy for you to say that when you haven’t read the book!

    *BTW I am a woman…and a wife. Not everything is the woman’s fault, but an environment of nagging and disrespect don’t lead to happy outcomes.

  • Moby Dick

    You have a point and I’m glad that works for you. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve heard and read some of her other material and it definitely doesn’t work for all situations.

  • Concerned American

    No advice is applicable 100% of the time. But, as long as you didn’t marry a jerk, a cheat, or an abuser (basically, a dishonorable man), then the advice is applicable.
    A good man will do nearly anything for his woman when he feels respected, appreciated, and loved.

    Most women would do well to quit nagging and complaining, and remember that they chose this man for a reason. No man wants to come home, after working hard for his family, to hear about how he isn’t doing enough or doing things the “right” way…. that’s a sure fire way to kill a marriage.

  • Claudia0102

    I tried that. I read the book and it makes perfect sense. However it didn’t work. The more I did, the more I gave and the harder I worked the more I was expected to do. The less I was appreciated. I created a spoiled brat, for lack of a better word! Almost like a child who has been given everything regardless of their behavior, never having to do chores.. just given any and everything; they never appreciate it as a matter of fact, the more I did, the less I was respected. And nobody can love someone they have no respect for.

  • Concerned American

    Then you either married a jerk or did something wrong.
    it’s less about doing things for a husband and more about respecting him. He doesn’t need a mama hen doing everything for him.

  • Claudia0102

    Obviously you are a man… I understand the importance of respect, just like oxygen is vital for life. Jerk is not the term I would use. I am married to someone who is very self centered, self absorbed. Someone who is willing to say “my way or the highway” and truly mean it.

  • Concerned American

    Well, that sounds like a jerk to me…. I’d have to wonder what redeeming qualities he had to make you want to marry him?

    I am a woman; I’ve been married to a jerk (and that’s being kind about it) and found the guts to leave. I’m now married to a pretty wonderful man who is a good husband and a great father. I don’t own all the issues in our marriage; but I certainly have made efforts to be a better wife. No marriage is perfect, it all takes work…. but you’ve also got to know when you’ve done all you could – sometimes there is no fix, and the only left is to walk away.

  • Claudia0102

    When I was explaining how much I “worked” at my marriage and how much I put into it, your advice to me was that he doesn’t need to be mothered… please tell me how you work on your marriage. Can you give me some examples?

  • Concerned American

    For starters, I tend to be perfectionistic, overly critical of myself and others, and overbearing in certain situations.

    So, I made a conscious effort to truly listen to what my husband was saying when we argued… to learn to discern what he was talking about.

    It DID come down to some basic things: needing to be respected, needing to feel like the man/provider of the household, and needing to feel appreciated.

    I had to look at what I was saying and doing to make him believe that I didn’t respect him and appreciate him.

    I started speaking to him instead of nagging at him. I started to be kinder in my tone. I stopped making assumptions about his actions/inactions. I started making home feel like a place he wanted to be – giving him space without him asking, keeping up with my end of the cooking/cleaning, giving him a chance to give input into our household where he desired – and respecting his opinion instead of dismissing it.

    Now, I have created a routine for our household thay both he and my son can count on- one that works for me too, so I’m less stressed and frustrated, which helps alot.

    We have kept our traditional division of household chores – although I’m much better about helping him with his tasks if he has had a hard day or picks up extra hours.

    In turn, he is more loving. He is more attentive. He is better about helping me out if I have a long day. He respects my needs and space, and doesn’t withdraw so much. He enjoys spending time as a couple and as a family.

    It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t all on me. But I married a good guy who does love me. I just had to humble myself to help us find our way as a couple. He in turn, has decided on his own to work out his issues.

    Don’t mistake it though – I don’t mother him, or at least make a conscious effort to not mother him. I don’t do everything for him, and I won’t be treated as a servant. I don’t try to make his decisions for him, I don’t dictate his life.

    Its a struggle for me at times, but life is easier and happier for all of us when I treat my husband with appreciation and respect.

    *on edit: I started doing these things before I read Dr. Laura… but reading her book just kinda made it all click for me.

  • Claudia0102

    May I ask your age? Also what is your profession, are you employed? How many children do you have? I’m a bit of a perfectionist and tend to be highly critical of myself as well. I am curious about anyone who is giving me advice.

  • Concerned American

    Mid 30s, healthcare, 1.

  • Claudia0102

    And btw, the redeeming qualities are these: honesty, would never cheat on me, handsome, smart, and I was married to such a controlling and abusive jerk at one time, the fact that this man (my current husband) wasn’t as obsessed with me seemed great. At the time I was attracted to the fact that he was into himself because I had been controlled, obsessed over, stalked, etc. It felt like a breath of fresh air actually…. several years later I found myself wanting him to be more interested, obviously not to the point of obsession.

  • Concerned American

    I think that you have to remember that you got who you married, if none of this was a surprise to you.
    So, then, the next question is whether you want to leave or you want to stay for whatever the reason.
    if you stay, then you have to realize he is who he is.
    Then the next question is does he really respect and love you? If so, then something has to get him to respond to your efforts, and you just haven’t found quite the right thing or have set the wrong expectations.
    If he doesn’t really, then you’ve got to find a way you can coexist that you can live with.

    He may be smart and handsome, but does that matter if he doesn’t love and respect you?

  • Claudia0102

    He loves me. No doubt about that, he loves me. The loneliness is basically due to the fact that he can’t understand that I need more. He has a lot of hobbies, a lot of things that he loves to do. Clean cut hobbies, he’s not out in bars, clubs, chasing women. He’s extremely active, athletic and into his sports. I don’t mean watching on TV.. 49 year old man who plays like a teenager. Unfortunately, these are sports I cannot physically participate in, I spectators and cheer him on when time allows. However, I’m tired..I have 3 sons, 5600 square feet house to clean, and I work 40 hours per week as well as commute 50 minutes to and from work. He’s a very honest and devoted man, I can trust him 100% and that’s a big deal to me. He is an adrenaline junkie, his need is more adrenaline driven. Racing motocross, race cars that can almost fly – 190 mph in the 1/8… racing mountain bikes. Etc, he’s very fast paced! I’m 10 years younger and can barely keep up.

  • Concerned American

    Wow, sweetie, you do have a lot on your plate there….

    If I were you, I’d invest in a housekeeper for at least some of the upkeep around the household – this frees up time for you to spend with your family.

    I know that seems petty and wasteful, but it can be a step to help you feel more in balance… and sometimes that is worth the financial price tag.

    Then, I’d find out if your job allows any kind of a work from home situation… if so, even if it were just a few days per week with the rest in the office, it could help you feel more balanced. If that’s not an option, then perhaps it is worth it for you to evaluate finding a different job closer to home?

    Also, just as an aside, because it is a common health problem for women, you may want to have your thyroid checked… because that can really cause issues (my husband has hypothyroidism, has been treated for 3 months and it has really helped him feel better).

    What I would do next is really evaluate HOW I interact with my husband – you’ve come home from a long day at work, with a terrible commute, you gotta deal with the kids, deal with dinner, etc etc…. when you walk in the door, what does your husband do? Does it talk to you? Bark orders at you? Ignore you? How do you respond?

    Then, when you both have a day off, what do you do? Does he immerse himself in his activities – and if so, what is your reaction to that? Does he invite you to join him when goes out – if so, what is your reaction to that?

    When you go to bed at night, do you go together? Do you spend time talking, cuddling? If not, why not? If it is unavoidable due to schedules, that’s one thing; but otherwise is it you or him?

    You really have to get to a point where you can let things go and not be so hard on yourself – it’s a step toward being a better wife and mother.

    I had to finally realize that yes, my husband indeed loves me. He comes home faithfully every night; he dutifully works (and works hard) every day – for me; for our family. If he didn’t love me, he wouldn’t do those things. And because he does do those things, and does love me, there is a way to put things back together – I just gotta find it.

    You can only control you and your reactions. So, how would a loving/grateful wife respond to her husband?

    Being gentle, kind; being his safe place; making home a place he wants to be; being his cheerleader and support….

    My husband enjoys sports (watching) and loves going to games – professional, college, football, baseball, etc…. There are plenty of times that I do or that I want to complain about spending money on tickets, or that I really don’t want to go to another game – but now I keep my mouth shut about my real opinion, because it is hurtful to him. Instead, I work with him to find games that we can attend as a family, that work well with our schedules; and then I also help him to find games that he can go with his friends/family while I spend some time with my friends… he is beyond appreciative that I am no longer a negative Nancy about it; he has his needs met and he is more attentive and giving in turn – in fact, he now makes it a point that we get out to do activities that appeal more to me than to him. . . It’s been a wonderful turnaround.

    The thing is, that it takes work and A LOT of self reflection. And time. I never really told my husband what I was doing or why… but he says often how much happier I seem, and he is less anxious because of it.

  • Lafoole

    Disrespecting someone doesn’t happen on its own, it takes a negative perception of that person, which you create in your own mind. The more you criticize and belittle them, the more they will avoid you. If you then go behind their back and gather an audience to further degrade them while they aren’t present then you are guilty of defaming them.

  • Ebeth Weidner

    How about when the husband lets the kids vent about mom and instead of correcting them, joins in on the roasting, Or when the husband vents to the kids and says things like, “your mom is crazy and needs to be in the mental ward” or she has no filters, believe me!” Venting and saying mean things about each other to others can and does certainly make it a very lonely existence, too. Realizing that your spouse doesn’t have your back.

    A good marriage partner should be one who is devoted and loyal in front of each other and in secret Because even in secret….somehow it gets out to the other spouse…somehow.

  • ashleywillis4

    Ebeth, you are so wise. Thanks so much for your response.

  • http://www.ScrubRubs.com/ Emm Spring

    A lonely marriage can also be when the husband will not talk to the wife but will hang out with his friends several nights a week. It’s when the husband doesn’t want to be bothered by the wife or the kids and ignores them all until he needs something from them.. clean clothes, dinner made, needs to show off his kids and pretend that he has been a father to them when others are around. It’s when a husband passive aggressively puts down the wife and kids so they won’t bother him. It’s when the only reason the husband even married the wife is for convenience so he never has to figure bills, cook or clean, do laundry, he can brag about having kids but never has anything to do with them, even when they were babies or toddlers or ever, so he has a place to crash that’s not his mother’s house after he has had his fun with his millionth side chick.
    A lonely marriage isn’t always the fault of both the husband and the wife. Sometimes, it’s just the fault of the selfish, lying cheating jerk.

  • Chokwadi

    Wow!!! Its like you read my mind.

  • John James

    So you were perfect in your relationship? You never made ANY mistakes?

  • Claudia0102

    She is making a huge mistake everyday. It’s called enabling. Don’t allow yourself to be treated like this Emm. Do something. Personally, I would probably have his clothing nicely packed up in garbage bags outside in the driveway therefore he wouldn’t have to bother setting another foot inside my house again. You can not make someone respect you. However, you CAN REFUSE TO BE DISRESPECTED.

  • http://www.ScrubRubs.com/ Emm Spring

    Oh, I stopped it long ago. I just choose to tell my story sometimes because I know there are other women out there going through the same thing.

  • Anne Taylor

    I don’t think that’s what she is saying, John James. I think her point is that she feels as if her husband has more or less vacated the marriage and operates as his own entity, separate from his wife and children. My guess is it all boils down to communication.

  • http://www.ScrubRubs.com/ Emm Spring

    He actually vacated it before it ever started. I was just really young and naive at the time and couldn’t see it. When you grow up with abuse, it’s harder to see when you’re being abused from your spouse because you think it is normal.

  • http://www.ScrubRubs.com/ Emm Spring

    I never said I was perfect, did I? You must have a guilty conscience about what I said to comment what you did. Projection doesn’t work with me anymore.

  • Anne Taylor

    I missed his comment but I’m glad he removed it. I agree with what you said about when you grow up with abuse, it feels like old pajamas. Until you figure out it was wrong.

  • Moby Dick

    Yes sometimes it is one or the other in these terrible cases. I pray you are able to get past the bitterness with time.

  • http://www.ScrubRubs.com/ Emm Spring

    The bitterness has been gone. The only thing that upsets me is when articles like this say both parties are responsible, instead of including a clause or paragraph with exceptions included.

  • JT4

    Sadly, this article describes me very well. I am a 37 yr old mother of four, in my 2nd marriage to my spouse of 4 years. I was a few months pregnant with my last child when we married, (his of course), and it was just prior to our wedding that his “other” side came out that I had never witnessed while we were dating. He may have never hit me, but his tongue and his body language were so cold and fierce, it cut like a knife in my heart. It took one time for me to realize this was not the kind of relationship I wanted to be in. But my love for God outweighed love for myself and I thought God would want me to marry him to make things right for my child. For the first 3 years, I was severely beaten and broken by my husband’s emotional abuse. I believed it was my fault for triggering him; that I needed to have a thicker skin & not be so sensitive; I made excuses that it was PTSD because he was a Veteran. I didn’t know how to fight back or diffuse the situation and so I usually cowered in a corner and sobbed until he calmed down and apologized hours later. At one point, I almost ended my life because I felt so broken. It was the thought of my young children and how they needed me that kept me from following through. And then eventually I turned a corner. I determined that I was no longer going to live as a victim, drowning in silent self-pity and especially not be dependent on him for anything. I found the strength to love myself again, to know I was a daughter of God who didn’t deserve the disrespect that was wounding my heart, to forgive him, to work on myself by getting psychiatric help (he refused to go to counseling when I suggested it), and then, just 4 months ago, to become licensed in real estate so that I could make a good enough living to be able to leave him and support myself and children. Today, he recognizes how my dependency on him is changing at an alarming rate to being more independent. Especially in my career. He wants to be a part of my business, and I want him to have nothing to do with it. He finally consented to marriage counseling after realizing that I truly do have one foot in the door and the other foot out. When he randomly texts sweet messages to me or calls me in the middle of the day, I don’t get warm fuzzies like I used to when we were dating. I feel indifferent and even annoyed at times because I’m trying to work and he wants me to drop what I’m doing just to chat. He seems intent on changing his behavior this time (yeah, he’s said that to me every single time he’s hurt me), but I’m kind of at that point where it might just be a little too late. I am conflicted because I am a Christian woman who wants to follow God’s plan for me, but I’m having a hard time discerning whether that’s staying or going in this marriage. And it’s not bad ALL the time. My husband has some very wonderful qualities about him, and when his behavior is good, our marriage and family life seem good. But I just don’t know how much more patient I can be through his down times, not to mention how much longer will it be before the love in my heart for him has been completely eroded away. Sadly, I recognize that my love for him is very conditional instead of unconditional as Christ would have me love. Please help! What is your advice?

  • Victoria Mounier

    @disqus_TzgFteJGBa:disqus Pray continually for him for only God can bring about true changes in his life. Even though he has done it before with the sweet messages/calls, the best thing you can do is treat him as if he never hurt you…it is a rough thing to do and I know that better than anybody..I am not going to toss my personal issues with my hubs on here..but if you want some advice from someone who has been there more times than she can count…and has finally come to a very happy place in her marriage after several years of problems and issues, email me @ ameillezaronyx at gmail dot com I would love to discuss this with you more!!

  • http://marriagemiracle.org Theresa R.

    Being in a lonely marriage is worse than being single. I was in that type of relationship for 15 years. When I look back, I realize that what I needed was not that complicated. I wrote about it here: http://wp.me/p4Xa3y-an