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 Over time, however, couples can gradually disconnect from one another and find themselves feeling isolated and withdrawn.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.

  • madeleine

    We had been married for 10 yrs…but I was so lonely–laying in bed next to my husband, I felt like I was miles away from him. I felt like I’d lost my best friend and he was replaced by a robot. talking about it did not seem to help–so I prayed and thought about what is love….then I decided to be loving even if I did not feel it….and I continued to pray asking God to fix us…and He did—some yrs later, we learned about The World wide Marriage Encounter Weekend and went—–we learned how to share our hearts with each other and that love is a decision to do what is caring and good for each other. We learned how to pray together and stay together!! That was almost 30 years ago and our love has grown better than ever and I never feel lonely any more!! Thanks be to God!!

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

    What an amazing testimony. Thank you for sharing Madeleine!

  • worthless

    So here is my story. My husband is an otr truck driver, gone Sunday thru Friday, only home Friday evening to Sunday afternoon or sometimes Sunday evening. He likes to work on his mud truck every waking moment he is home and the bad part is we don’t havea big garage so it’s at his buddies house, so also works with him so this is my weekend schedule to see him.

    Friday when I pick him up
    Friday night when he comes home from working on truck
    Saturday in the morning for maybe an hour before he goes to work on truck, sometimes he just wakes me up and tells me he is leaving to work on it
    Saturday night when he gets home from working on truck
    Sunday til he goes to work, and then he is usually watching tv before he goes to work.

    Now when I say Friday and Saturday night I mean 10 pm to sometimes 1 am Saturday morning.
    I am so lonely, not like go find someone else lonely but want my husband to spend time with me lonely. I have mentioned to him I don’t like him gone all the time and I get “I’m in a truck all week I have to have a hobby” Saying it with a bit of pissy tone. I could go with him and sit and do nothing but I have a 13 yr old at home and refuse to make her go sit and be board also. He likes me to go to the mud runs, which I do go to most just so I can see him but I feel I don’t matter to him anymore, it hurts, I cry, I wonder if he really loves me anymore, it’s hard to stay strong but I have to because of my daughter, which also don’t like him gone all the time, she asks me “why don’t dad like to be home with us?” It breaks my heart but I tell her “her just likes to work on cars” then when she goes in her room I go in mine and break down and cry. I know I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world but I’m not ugly either, I look the same now as I did the day we got married 7 yrs ago. He comes home wants sex and I truly feel like that’s all I’m worth to him.
    Well anyways thank you for listening.