FEELING alone is part of the human condition even though it’s a common desire to feel connected and safe. It can feel particularly troubling to feel alone in marriage, but it does happen. It’s normal.
Loneliness in marriage possibly feels worse that the loneliness of being single, because loneliness as a single is assumed, and there is nothing unexpected and shocking in it, though it can involve ambiguous grief if we crave a partner. Being single can be a sad reality, whereas loneliness in marriage has the concept of being cheated about it.
The counter advantage in being single is the blessing of spending time alone. There is nothing better than being able to enjoy one’s own company without needing others around. Not that marriages wouldn’t be blessed with individuals in the couple getting time alone. They would. And in the best marriages, partners welcome some time alone.
But partners can enter marriage never realising how lonely it can feel when each may desert the other either temporarily or semi-permanently. It can be devastating because when we married we felt as if we had resolved this issue — i.e. ‘no more loneliness now that I’m married.’
Times of loneliness in marriage can feel worse because we feel plunged into momentary singleness again, which takes away our choice, together with the fact that conflict has brought this situation into play — and if it’s not conflict for both partners, it’s a conflict for one; the lonely one.
We not only feel lonely, we can feel confused and angry too. It means we can easily fall into complicated loneliness, which is not unlike complicated grief. Complicated loneliness is irresolvable by nature. We aren’t just lonely; we’re lonely and we stay lonely, and there seems little hope of that loneliness abating.
None of this assumes loneliness is not a significant issue for singles. I’ve been there.
Allow me to pray for those who are lonely:
I adore the fact that You made us to crave connection and thank You for the times when we have achieved connection that meets those needs You created within us.
I acknowledge that it is the lack of connection with a soul mate that creates the grief of loneliness within.
My prayer is for the lonely person right now, certainly the one reading these words; that You would comfort them by Your Presence and build within them both the hope for better times ahead and the courage to create authentic connection with You now.
Disclaimer: thankfully, it has been many years since I felt lonely in marriage, but I have experienced it.