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.