What to Do When You Are Lonely in Marriage

lonely in marriage

As humans, we are not meant to be isolated. We all crave deep and lasting connections with other people. But we know it’s possible to feel alone in the middle of a crowd, and it’s possible to sleep in the same bed with someone for years and still feel lonely. Many of us never expect to be lonely in marriage, hoping that our spouse will be the lifelong companion who saves us from loneliness. Over time, however, couples can gradually disconnect from one another and find themselves feeling isolated and withdrawn.

Loneliness is not just about physical proximity, it’s about emotional connection. FamilyLife’s Dr. Dennis Rainey and his wife, Barbara, explain, “You may have sex, but you don’t have love. You may talk, but you don’t communicate. You live together, but you don’t share life.” If you’re feeling lonely in your marriage, here are some ways to reconnect with your spouse:

Make the first move. Feelings of loneliness are seldom felt by only one person in a relationship. If you’re feeling isolated, chances are your spouse is, too. Take the first step to reconnecting with them, even if it’s just a small gesture. Open up to them about how you feel and give them an opportunity to do the same. Healing cannot begin if you hide or mask your pain.

Forgive past hurts. Especially if you have been feeling alone for a long time, hurts have likely been building up in your marriage. Nothing breeds loneliness more than unforgiven hurt and conflict. If you have been wronged, make the decision to forgive your spouse. And if you have wounded them, seek their forgiveness immediately.

Spend time together. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes couples get so busy or caught up in their individual lives that they neglect to simply spend time together. The less time a couple spends 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.

Make your time count. The quantity of time together is important, but so is the quality of that time. Couples have to be intentional about their time together to create a marital connection. When you and your spouse are talking, put down your cell phone, set aside distractions, and focus on each other. Find ways to bond over shared experiences: taking a walk, cooking dinner, going to a concert or sporting event, or playing a board game or cards together. Encourage and compliment your spouse. Make your moments together count.

Prioritize physical closeness. This is not just referring to sexual intimacy, though that is certainly an important part of marital closeness, but also to the little things that may have fallen by the wayside like holding hands or snuggling on the couch. The key to resurrecting physical touch is to start small. Sit close to each other, give neck massages, and pull out a surprise kiss. Getting closer physically will naturally lead to feeling closer emotionally.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While the idea of seeking outside input on your marriage can be intimidating to many people, nearly every couple can benefit from marriage counseling. Getting an outside perspective can be extremely helpful to you and your spouse. Read my post to help determine if you should get counseling, and find tips to make sure you find the best counselor for you.

You may feel lonely in your marriage, but you are not alone in the struggle for marital intimacy. We have all experienced loneliness in our lives, but you don’t have to feel it in your marriage.

Have you ever felt lonely in your marriage? How have you responded to these feelings, and what have you done to reconnect with your spouse? Please share your story below.

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

  • Nikki

    My husband never wants to do anything with me. When we first started dating I we took trips we had at home movie nights, we had date nights. The closer we came to the actually wedding date I left him because he started not wanting to do anything at all! Now we have been married since October and now instead of not wanting to do anything he goes fishing every Sunday his off day. I would go too because I wanted to be around him but we go to visit his cousin and they stay about 2 1/2 hours away and we would literally spend all day with them, and it became to much he would never leave on time so that I could do homework, or if I had to work Monday he was off Sunday Monday we would make it home so late and I was exhausted at work the next day. Now I don’t go and I have asked him to go visit them maybe once a month, but nope he goes every single weekend, and on the weekends I beg him to stay at home and do something with me, he will get on the phone with them and say how much he hate he missed seeing them if they did some type of function. On holidays if I don’t go with him to visit his family I won’t see him at all our first Christmas together and I spent no time with him. This past Mother’s Day Weekend he came home at 2:00 in the morning after I told him on Saturday that Sunday would be rough for me, we had a miscarriage. He was supposed to go visit his mother and we were going to meet up later that evening, but he I found out after he saw his Mom, he went over to his cousins. I don’t know what to do I asked God to help me know what his truth is today during church service, which I go to by myself, because I found out after we got married that he really does not care about going to church, which surprised me because we would go when we were dating. There are times when he will make plans with me to go fishing which I hate but I want to do whatever it takes to be with him and his cousin or someone will call and he will drop his plans with me and go with them. I’m tired. I don’t know what else to do. I have gotten to the point now that I leave and go spend time with my sisters and in those moments I’m happy because I don’t have this feeling of not being good enough, I’m around people that actually want to be around me. I cried about a month ago when I told him I felt like we were slipping away from each other and he told me that I was being childish by crying. I stopped telling him things months ago because he dismisses my feelings, if I’m sad about someone dying (A elder from my childhood church died and I loved her and my Uncle who married my Aunt) he says well they were old, and that is how life is. I know this is super long, I just have no one to talk to. I don’t know what else to do, lately I just want to leave.