What to Do When You’re Lonely in Your Marriage

lonely in your marriage_thumb

 

We all know that it’s possible to be in the middle of a crowd and feel all alone.  Furthermore, it’s possible to sleep in the same bed with someone else for decades and still feel lonely.  Why?  Well, loneliness is not just about being in physical proximity with another person, it’s feeling like you are emotionally light years apart from them.  Author Gary Chapman has done a tremendous job with identifying how you feel close to someone. It’s when they speak your love language. Chapman says there are five love languages:  words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Each person has a predominant love language that they crave. When that love language is missing, loneliness can creep in.  Here are a few examples of how that happens and what you can do about it to ensure that you and your spouse are loving and being loved in your language of love.

Lack of time together – the less time married couples spend together, the more likely they are to feel distant from each other.  This can be resolved by deliberately scheduling date nights in, date nights out, TV free nights, and occasional weekend getaways…just for the two of you.

Lack of physical touch – this is not only referring to a lack of sexual intimacy, though that certainly is a big part of husbands and wives feeling alienated, but also to the little things gone by the wayside.  When hugs are rare, snuggling is extinct, and holding hands feels foreign, the love language of physical touch is probably absent in your relationship.  The key to resurrecting physical touch is to start small.  Sit close to each other on the couch, give neck massages, and pull out a surprise kiss.  You know, gross your kids out!  Getting closer physically will naturally lead to feeling closer emotionally.

Criticism – the opposite of Chapman’s love language of words of affirmation.  Nothing closes a heart faster and swells loneliness more than biting, stinging criticism from a spouse.  Arguments get heated and a verbal shootout takes place.  No one wins here.  The key to overcoming this loneliness hurdle is to be very, very careful when you give your spouse “advice” and be deliberate about using encouraging words as often as you can.  “You look amazing in that dress.”  “Thank you so much for being such a hard worker.”  “I really respect your judgment.”  With that kind of encouragement, marital loneliness quickly becomes an extinct species.

There is much more I could say here, but I think you get the point.  If you really want to kiss marital loneliness goodbye, understand and implement the 5 Love Languages.  You can learn more and get your free Love Language profile at:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

If you’ve experienced loneliness in your marriage, I’d like to hear about it and what you’ve done to deal with it.  Please share your comments.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Byubon

    I have tried many tactics with my husband who is a fabulous husband in so many ways. However, for several years now intimacy is null and void for us. I have suggested he see a dr. and he claims he has. Nothing has changed. I have asked if there is anything wrong or bothering him, he said no. He used to be so touchy, feely with me and we had the BEST intimate relationship for the forst few years together. But, now rarely does he compliment me, rarely does he even touch me. I can stand naked in front of him and he does not ever acknowledge my presence. Never does he touch me in any kind of intimate way. He is however, a hard worker, always ytring to please in every other category, a great father, helps around the house and with anything for our daughter that he can. I love him so much but, I am really tired of being lonely and at times just starved for some affection. The most I get the past few years is a peck on the lips when he is heading out or we are going to bed or waking up. No other physical contact at all other than that! I have attempted to talk at least 100 times plus with hm about how empty I am feeling about our relationship. He has minimal to say and usually sweeps it under the rug! NEVER will he try talking to me about this problem in out marriage and seems as though it does’nt really even bother him! Many nights I just cry myself to sleep as I am miffed about what to do. I really don’t want to leave him however, I also do not want to be without intimacy the rest of my life! For years now I have gropped him, tried to be intimate with him and he will always turn away, avoid the initiation, and just flat out change the subject. I have on several occasions sent him pics on his cell phone of certain body parts of mine and he does not even acknowledge getting them. One time after I asked him if he had recieved one he just laughed. To date I would guess it has been almost 3 years now that we have had NO SEX!!! Then I find myself getting so bothered by this I pick on little things probably just to get some kind of attention or rise out of him. I know this is not right but, I cannot help myself as i am overwhelmed with frustration in this relationship! At times I think it would be nice to just divorce and remain together as friends since thats what I feel like is only a friend and mother to our beautiful daughter. I love my child more than life itself and do not want her to be a child of divorce. But, I alos, hate being unhappy as it is hard to floow my dreams with a really good inner feeling! What the hell is really going on here??

    FRUSTRATED in marriage!

  • FB

    Dear Frustrated,
    I feel your pain, as I was in your position not too long ago. I’m not sure how old your husband is but I wonder if your husband is experiencing male ‘mid-life crisis’. I am assuming you both are Christians. I would advise you see a marriage counselor…by yourself for now…it will probably take a lot of prayer to get your husband to come with you. In any case, please take this issue to God in prayer. He is a miracle working God. I suggest you ask for grace to be extra kind to your husband. Let go of sexual advances and just love on him non-sexually for now…and continue to pray. I say it again, God is a miracle working God. He did it for me and I know He is willing to do it for you. A book I read that also helped is “You and your husbands mid life crisis” By Sally Conway.
    I will say a prayer for you and yours today. God bless you.

  • kalorrah

    After 19 years of marriage and a multitude of extremely difficult times, we found ourselves quite far apart…some days I wondered who this man was anymore. I decided that it was me who was the communicator and if there was a chance of going back to the way we were 19 years ago, I was going to go for it…it took time and effort – and alot of swallowing big lumps in my throat not to be snide and impatient when my first attempts weren’t so successful but now I can say that things are very good. The baseline of my effort was communication without fear of what the other might think – saying it kindly and consistently – discussing our feelings. He was unwilling to go to marriage counseling, felt that it made him look like a failure so I told him we could do our own private work, and he agreed after some thought.. I bought some marriage help books, some cassette tapes that my therapist lent me, printed like minded discussions from the internet (some from Mark’s blog which he really liked); along with meeting for lunch and just touching more and remembering what it was like in the beginning. It has been 2 years now and I have not cried myself to sleep in quite some time now…

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  • Rhonda

    Have him have his testosterone checked……not just for sex drive, but this important hormome is responsible for mood, energy, muscle and of course sex drive. My husband will turn 50 this month and has always had a high drive, after a year of depression due to his father passing and his job, he had his testosterone checked and the level was like that of an 85 year olds!! Soon his spirits were lifted, he became more energetic and has a sex drive. God Bless You.

  • Deb

    Are you sure that he is not viewing pornography? This will kill intimacy in any relationship.

  • ohiogal

    About “lack of time together”…..Yes, it is important to schedule date nights, etc., but we can not count on periodic and often infrequent interactions to sustain the relationship. We found it necessary to schedule a minimum 10 MINUTES quality eyeball-to-eyeball time on a DAILY basis!! A little quality time is better than none to preclude relationship drift.

  • JinJC

    3 years is way too long. You both need counselling ASAP. If he won’t go you will have to start by yourself. I am sure you are feeling very lonely. Don’t try to shoulder this burden by yourself anymore.

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

    Thanks to you all for sharing your pain, challenges, encouragement and advice. This is a tough subject to deal with.

  • Laura

    I certainly did not realize that there were so many couples out there with the same issue. My husband and I have told each other how lonley we are but the bitterness and lack of trust has all but destroyed our intimacy. Why is it harder for men to admit they could use a little help? It has been years since we even attempted to get “close”. Sometimes in the past I had felt more like a hooker than a wife. Cana man shut down his sex drive with out some kind of release? I know I have gone years. Can a man? This is a tough subject. But I would rather live single than to go on being unloved by some one EVEN when he says he loves me. They are just words with no action. I know we are both suffering but I have almost gotten comfortable with it!! I am getting OLD in a hurry and I know it.Thank you for shedding some light on this lonliness. I have a goal on what to work on and pray for.

  • Sheik Salim

    Do you think he has another woman that is giving him more pleasure? Or maybe he has an ED or other sexual problem? Or, possibly he is Gay? I cannot see how he is not attracted by all your sexual exploits! You need to get him to go for marriage couseling to find out what is his problem, otherwise get another ‘willing’ man out there. There are several around who may be more interesting. Good luck!

  • Scowfer

    It will go on forever if you allow it. I know,….. I have lived a lonely existence for over 10 years. I don’t believe in divorce as a child of divorce. My parents had a nasty one and it left a lasting memeory to a 4 year old at the time. I have been married 27 years and have never been on my own. Not that I don’t work, I just have never been by myself as I was married at 19. I guess the fear has left me in this lonely home. I have a 3 year old son and I love him dearly and that is another reason I don’t leave. Oh how I want to. Don’t let your life turn into this.

  • Linda

    Iam in the same boat with my husband of 9yrs, I got married young and in the 10yrs we have been together Ive been through alot.  He has done to much and so much that Iam at the point of throwing my hands up and leaving.  He knows he can say and do what he wants and I will always come back.  but the new yrs is here and I feel that right now I should just let him go.  He has stopped talking to me because he says I moved his cell phone charger.  The truth is I didnnt even touch it.  I feel like he takes and makes a big deal when it doesnt need to be and doesnt choose his fights, I dont like all the thnings he does but I dont choose to ignore him. I just cant take it my kids see the fights and I even had my 11yr old thell me that she searched the interent to see how to make her parents stop fighting, how sad is that.  i dont know what to do

  • sallymae

    As terrible as this sounds…I almost feel better after reading all the other comments. My husband is deep down a wonderful person, but I am finding it harder and harder to accept the lack of any physical closeness….we no longer even hold hands. We have been together for 11 years, and it has been this way for the past 6 years. I, too, cry myself to sleep many nights, and no longer want to go on in a loveless marriage. I have approached him about it many times, with always the same outcome….nothing changes. I feel trapped because of the economy being the way it is, and we are struggling to make ends meet. We do not have children together, we are an older couple on our second marriage. I do not want to endure another divorce, but feel so lonely ALL of the time it is making me so depressed.

  • sallymae

    Hi Laura-I am curious to know if you stayed with your husband. Did you go to counseling?

  • Lauramcc265

    I finally started to concentrate on getting me fixed by finding a local church that  celebrates life and connecting to one another. I am still married but it is up to him now. I no longer persue him, cry over his lack of response. I lavish my ability to love on praise to my Savior and I am not lonely like I was before. I get out and do whatever it takes to keep me from going into that depressed state.  I must add that I have NOT replaced him with any thing unGodly.  I must take care of myself and love who God made me. Find that and you can go on. Finding another Man sure isn’t this answer.I have repented of entering into a marriage that was not based on Godly truths.  Now it is my husband that must find his way with or without me but he will have to make that choice. I am loved by my creator and that my friend is enough.

  • Cpatty43

    Hello  I can relate to all of you. I have been married for 27 years and have suffered for at least 20  of them, always wondering if I let this go for  too long and is it too late to do something? I am already heading into my 50′s. I have 2 grown children and a teenager. I have had many doubts about my husband and I even wondered if he has mental issues because he is so quite and doesn’t share much with the rest of us, lost in thoughts or watching tv, I have even seen signs and possibilities of homosexuality and on top of that he just recently found out he has prostate cancer.

  • Cricket4464

    I know exactly how you feel…im goin thru the exact same thing and im only 34 yrs old and am full of life. My hisband hardly pays me any att. At all anymore. Should i stay or what should i go????

  • Meganannie7

    My husband and I have been married for a little over a year and have been together for nearly 3. We started seeing a counselour when things started to get really heated in our arguments. To the point where one of us would leave for about 2 weeks at a time. Our counselour taght us about the love languages. I am more of the words of affirmation and physical touch language and my husband is acts of service and recieving gifts. I have been working my butt off to save this marriage, but my husband even told me…and I quote….”I wish she never would have brought up the stupid love languages” That hurt. He seems so distant and like he doesnt have any motivation. Its almost like he doesnt want to work for this marriage…anything I can do?

  • guest

    WOW….I almost hesitate to even leave a comment here…… I am a husband that is basicly in all of you womens situation.  Its almost like the turned tables.   Just the opposite.   I can’t seem to get my wife interested in anything either.   I am a auto repair shop mechanic/owner and am around my wife during the day since she does the books.   We had a great intimate relationship in the early years before the kids were born.  (21 years ago… we’ve been married 27)   Since then….the mother-in-law is intrenched in our life and wanting to be “best friends” with my wife, and if its not that, then my wife is wanting to be best friends with our daughter.   I have been left out in the cold.   I have been on a “sexual starvation diet”  and it sucks going to the grocery store (out in public) everyday when you are hungry.  In my eyes, I married the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…..I just don’t get to come anywhere close to it anymore……

  • United

    ^THIS. I really wonder how many of these situations aren’t driven by porn or “porn lite”,which to me is just regular Prime Time TV now. (Did you see the Beyonce half-time show yesterday for the Super Bowl? ) Porn has torn my marriage to shreds.

  • Sandra

    The marital relationship mirrors so closely our relationship with God ~ the way He designed it, that anything that stands in the way of intimacy between the spouses, has a relevant correlation in our relationship with God. The sexual aspect of marriage, as the MOST intimate part of our relationship, is the part that mirrors our heart with God!
    This, to me, is where the problem begins to be solved. Pray for your spouse. Enlist others to pray for your ‘unspoken’ need if necessary! Give yourself completely to your LORD; and He will give you the ‘desires of your heart’. (From experience). I’m praying for many who responded on this one! God Bless.

  • Sleepless in Pensacola

    I can totally relate to this situation, and unfortunatly have forgotten what it felt like to be close with my wife. We rarely hug or kiss, and she NEVER makes the first move to give a hug or any attempt at affection. It’s no way to live life, but it’s the only way for us.

  • madeleinef@aol.com

    When we were married for 10 yrs—I felt so lonely. We had stopped talking, sharing, having fun.I felt as if I was living with a emotionally distant roommate. I prayed about it–asking God to help. He did by leading us to go on a Marriage Encounter weekend—We learned to share our hearts-our feelings, how to love unconditionally and grow in our relationship. That was 30 yrs ago and we are still growing and I never feel lonely-even when we disagree!

  • miserylife

    Even i’m a lonely wife and i feel he has changed to the extent. He least bother me, though he may love me he never showed his love to me, he is busy with his work, crime serials, internet and phones thus making me no time at the end of the day, if i ask him to speak for few mins before going to bed, he gives a reason ” headache” . i really dont want to be with this person wre he least bother me nor value nor care or love me. pls advice, this has made ma life miserable. i want to die but afraid of ma parents name in t society. pls advice……………

  • Christie

    I’ve only been married 4 months and feek lonely. There is no sex, no touching etc. we were together 2 years before we married and it was great.

  • Dean

    I am in the same situation. Married almost thirty years, and I can’t remember the last time my wife and I were intimate. I have told her point blank that I was lonley and she just doen’t seem to care. How are guy’s suppose to get the one they love to care.

  • arial Masters

    okay so there is no sex, no touch and certainly no words of affirmation. But there is not really critical words too. I feel a little betrayed. He vowed to love and cherish me as Christ the church but we have been round and round on this. I keep telling him i need these things…sex most of all…and he gets better for like a month and then goes back to his normal life of sleeping, work, and playing games on phone or studying plants….I am not fat, I try to be cheerful, I am very playful sexully so it is not that I am boring, and i try to always look nice and keep a clean house as I know that that is important to him. The last time I brought this to his attention was about a month and a half to two months ago I told him it would be the last time I brought it up… I am getting tired of being vulnerable and opening myself up to be hurt again and again. What is going on… I have considered low testosterone,an affair, and him perfering guys ( I do have a reason for that but I cannot disclose) We want to be in ministry, but how can we be an example when our marriage is so… well just soo.

  • jjones777

    Been married 33 years. Raised 4 kids. Never cheated but was sorely tempted several times. Had many arguments with my wife over her weight. Tried to tell her how important it was to me that she kept a decent figure. She has been anywhere from 40 to 100 pounds overweight our entire marriage. I am disgusted by her fat. I no longer bring it up as the angry fight is too painful. We appear normal and happy to others but I am very lonely and unhappy. It appears that my two choices are an unhappy life in a lonely marriage or divorce. We tried counselling (it’s very hard to find a good one). I have asked God to help us but nothing seems to change. Trapped between two bad choices.

  • jo

    We just 3 years in our marriage but we’re getting disconnected emotionally. My wife is not always on the mood when i need sex. When i talked about it she dont want to admit her shortcomings.. as she said she needs gifts that i usually does it for her.. and for me I need her service, that is our love language.. but sad to say we dont come up with any resolutions with our problems.,..

  • Lonely Wife

    I am a 48 year old female, I have been in this hell of a marriage for 24 agonizing years.. He had his mid-life crisis and had a 3 year affair. Before the affair he was never home and when he did come home he made me feel like a truck stop. He never took the time to take me out or spend quality time with me, he always preferred the streets over me and until this day he still does. The only difference is he does not go as much as he used to but he still goes more than I think he should especially all we have been through. I think now he’s suffering with low T but his pride won’t let him admit it. I have been lonely for so long, and I guess I am getting what I asked for because I had put him out when he was cheating on me but I let him come back. I don’t know why I thought things would be any different between us. I guess I am a glutten for punishment. I don’t believe in divorce but lately I have been thinking about it a lot. I wish a 1000 times over that I had of stuck with my original decision of never letting him come back. This has not been a happy marriage at all for me and I am really having a hard time wandering why I didn’t leave years ago. I feel more alone being married than I did when I put him out. Can any one give me any advice on what I should do? I am tired of being sick and tired.

  • Sheik Salim

    Are you that desperate for a man who is using you all the time? Dump him & move on with your life. If it is in your destiny, you will find a better person or remain happy singly. Put your trust in God, keep busy, motivate yourself & move on. Life is too precious to lose out because of such ‘vultures’.

  • geranium

    I love my husband. We were separated for 9 years but have been back together for 6 years, now. But I feel increasingly dissatisfied. I have to shoulder all the financial responsibility and it doesn’t come naturally to me.I have dealt with the loss of our family home due to natural disaster, with all the insurance issues, without any support form him at all.
    WE have ongoing issues with money, investment property gone bad and landscaping to our 1 year old house unfinished, All of which are apparently my responsibility. I wake at night with anxiety about all of it.
    He works away from home at a job he loves and flats with our older sons 3 nights per week while I continue in low paid work at a job outside of my trade with no satisfaction.
    Now he asks me to work more hours so he can continue on in his present job/living situation as his ‘rent’ will increase soon.
    Sex is just sex and seems to be for his ‘release’ rather than lovemaking. I struggle to maintain interest although he is affectionate to me at other times and say’s he loves me. We dont fight much anymore and seem to be better at communicating but I’m still wary of revealing my unhappiness in light of his past aggressive behaviour. I feel very sad and unsure of everything right now.
    we have a younger son still at home so I need to make this better.

  • Lownlee

    Yes! Most definantely not experiencing intimacy! Alienated , Avoided, LONELY! I have in good & bad ways expressed myself to my husband. He seems to do nothing about it , sometimes even that makes it worse. Hes a great provider though, works really hard all the time. He just doesnt take care of his business in bed. I can b naked in the bed and hell rest his arm on my hip!?

  • hopeful

    I dream about having a nice, quiet safe place to live, my own income, being able to eat/sleep/wear, do/think/say/work where and what I want.
    I want a close caring circle of good friends, who love and care for me.
    I want a my own money, my own job where people smile at me and appreciate me.
    I want a safe place for me and my pets.

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