What to Do When Marriage Feels Lonely

Published Dec 13, 2019
What to Do When Marriage Feels Lonely

You never thought that you could feel so alone as a married person, but here you are. Marriage should never be lonely, but often it is, and there are some common reasons why. If you're struggling with loneliness as a married person, take heart - it doesn't have to be this way. Here are a few helpful ideas to create community both in your marriage and outside of it.

Being lonely in a marriage sounds really backward, doesn’t it? 

So many of us who are married, or who’ve been married, got married because we wanted to spend forever with our very best friend and favorite person on earth. A great number of couples step into marriage with the “it’s you and me, forever” mentality. And you know what? That way of thinking is fully backed by Scripture.

Closeness and friendship with our spouse was woven into the very fibers of our being when God created us.

In Genesis chapter 2, we see that God made woman because He knew it wasn’t good for the man to be alone (v.18). Our Abba, in all his infinite wisdom, understood the troubles that loneliness would bring on mankind.

God’s solution was perfect. But when sin entered the picture, it caused a breaking in His original intent for marriage. At the very moment man and woman bit into the forbidden fruit, a spiritual separation occurred that would impact the marital covenant forever. 

Why Am I Lonely?

When I found myself at the very sobering place of loneliness in my marriage, I thought of so many things that could be the culprit for my feelings.

I remember feeling confused because I couldn’t reconcile my loneliness. I saw my husband every day. We seemed to communicate well. I didn’t understand why I was lonely in our marriage. Perhaps I needed to spend more time with my husband doing fun things like impromptu date nights, or cooking dinner together.

As the years have passed by, the Lord has shown me some of the reasons for loneliness in my marriage as well as marriages in general. I pray if you’re feeling lonely, some of these reasons resonate with you so you would know that you aren’t alone!

Here are a few reasons you might be lonely in your marriage:

1. You Don’t Have Any Interests or Hobbies Outside of Your Marriage

When we don’t have interests we enjoy outside of our spouse, we unintentionally make our happiness dependent on our spouse. Initially, this may feel like it works, but in the long term, it can lead to either one or both spouses left feeling pressured to be the other’s source of happiness. God never created us to be the source of happiness for our mate, so this expectation becomes a burden that is heavily felt. 

Psalm 34:8 tells us that those who trust in God are those who find happiness! Not those who trust in their spouse! It’s a very simple truth, yet so many of us overlook it.  

Early in my marriage, I wanted to do everything with Christopher! This is a natural feeling, especially when you’re newly married and you’re really getting used to being one with someone else. However, I really neglected to do the things that made me feel most like myself. As a result, I forgot about so many things that brought my heart joy.  

Even in marriage, we need interests and activities that can fill up our “me” tank so we can show up as our best selves for our spouse. Of course, we have to balance these activities in our marriage, and not neglect our spouse. 

2. You Have Unhealed Hurts, Pains, and Memories Your Spouse Doesn’t Know About

All of us come into a marriage with emotional baggage. Doing the hard work of unpacking that baggage with our spouse and working through it together will make you stronger as a couple, if you let it. On the other hand, If we don’t feel that we can be fully transparent with our spouse, we’ll retreat away from them, leaving one or both of us feeling lonely.  

Marriage is like a mirror that shows us ourselves. Being in such closeness with another person really places the spotlight on us and our problems, weakness, and trauma. These things can leave us feeling vulnerable (which we don’t always like) and we can pull away from our spouse. Insert loneliness. 

3. You’re Simply Experiencing Neglect 

Loneliness in our marriages can simply be the result of spousal neglect. There is a happy medium where husbands and wives should tend to the needs of the spouse. If the basic needs in the relationship, like communication, fun, or intimacy, are being neglected, loneliness can settle into our hearts.

3 Ways Loneliness Is Felt: 

1. Rejection

Sometimes when we’re lonely in our marriage, we can think that there’s something wrong with us. We can begin to feel inadequate in our relationship with our spouse, especially if they want to do things that don’t involve us directly. We all face rejection in some way, but it’s important for us to be grounded in our identity in Christ, so that we don’t take the rejection on and make it part of us.

2. Sadness or Depression/Heaviness

Because God made us to be deeply connected with our spouse, loneliness can really cause us to be sad or depressed. When that connection is missing between us and the very person we’re supposed to be close to, sadness can grow on the inside of us. & if we don’t guard our hearts and work through our sadness in a healthy way, the sadness can turn into depression.

3. Feeling Misunderstood

Have you ever heard of the saying that says you can be in a room full of people but still feel alone? This can happen so easily in marriages when one or both spouses feel misunderstood. At the heart of effective communication is the need to be understood. To be heard and valued. There are seasons in marriage where both spouses are at different places in their walk with God, or they are simply involved with different things. However, without intentionality from both spouses to understand each other, one or both can easily be left feeling unheard and eventually, isolated.

Places Not to Turn When Marriage Feels Lonely

1. To People Who Are Unbelievers

Our loneliness can lead us into some spaces with company we really shouldn’t keep, if we aren’t mindful. The Bible tells us that our enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). When we are lonely, it can put a void in our hearts that is so big that we become thirsty for attention and companionship. We just want people who will accept us for who we are and befriend us. The void can cause us to begin to question our bond with our spouse...& if our spouse is a Believer, it can cause us to question God. “Why would God want me to be lonely and misunderstood in my marriage?” is a thought that can come into our minds.

It’s so important to remember that whenever we’re experiencing a void in some area of our life, we need to take that void to God and lay it at His feet. This will allow us to be led of His Holy Spirit as to who we need to reach out to for companionship. The Holy Spirit is our safeguard!

2. To Old, Sinful Habits

Our loneliness can be like a trigger that sets off an alarm in our hearts and minds for us to self-medicate. God knew it wasn’t good for man to be alone because loneliness leaves us starved of true relationship + connection. If we aren’t connecting with people the way God designed us to, it can be like an open door for us that leads to sinful and harmful habits. These things, although harmful to us or our spouse, brings us a level of satisfaction that makes us feel connected to something vs. nothing. & for some people, they can be so lonely that they no longer care about the effects of their habit, as long as it makes them feel better. 

The thing about sin, however, is that it is blinding. It keeps us from fully seeing the damages it causes. It looks and feels good to the senses, but hurts us in ways that aren’t worth the temporary fix they provide. Instead of turning to old and sinful habits, we should turn to activities that allow us to care for our temple (body, mind, and soul) in ways that honor the Lord. 

3. To Things That Have No Eternal Benefit 

It can be difficult to see this in the moment, but our loneliness can be a good motivation to begin to pursue things that are of eternal benefit. Sometimes, we have to reach outside of ourselves and our personal bubble in order to heal our loneliness. What better way to do this than connecting with the Body of Christ, of which we are a vital part? As we give ourselves (healthily) toward God’s church and the things that have eternal impact, our perspective in our marriages will change for the better, and it will help us to connect more deeply with our spouse.   

10 Encouraging Bible Verses for When You're Lonely: 

  1. Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 
  2. Ephesians 4:1-2 “Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”
  3. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
  4. 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 
  5. Psalm 16:11 “You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures.”
  6. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
  7. Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
  8. 2 Timothy 4:16 “At my first defense, no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…”
  9. 1 Samuel 12:22 “The Lord will not abandon his people, because of his great name and because he has determined to make you his own people.”
  10. Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and courageous, don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.”

God Understands Your Loneliness

The Lord did not create us to be lonely on the earth. He created us for deep and meaningful relationships with our spouses. Because of the fallen nature of the world, our marriages are susceptible to loneliness. However, there is much hope. 

Our Abba Father understands our loneliness and can fill our hearts with so much joy and peace. We have to be intentional about seeking Him and choosing Him, however, and not the pleasures and desires of our flesh. Seasons of loneliness can and do lift. Seek God, seek healthy, Godly community, and seek the treasures of heaven over this earth. Doing these things will replace our loneliness with joy, peace, and abundant connection.

Britnee Bradshaw is a free-spirited, Old Navy-wearin', coffee-shop lovin', wife and momma. She serves in the worship ministry with her husband at their home church in Glendale, AZ and writes with the sole purpose of pointing others to Christ. You can catch up with her on her blog, On The Way Up, or via social media @b_brdshw!