One of the greatest perks of getting married is the whole “till death do us part” clause. Having someone who’s always got your back, a partner who’s there to listen, and a friend and lover who will cherish you through sickness and in health are commitments you were excited to make and keep. At least, that is what you thought you were signing up for.
The reality is that a relationship can be a lonely place. That can be confusing because we're not alone when we are living with our spouse. Marriage just isn’t that simple and when expectations are not met within the union, it can lead to depression, resentment and loneliness. Your marriage is always subject to change and growth, and when you aren’t on the same page as your spouse it can feel like you are the only one trying.
Here are some reasons why you might be feeling lonely in your marriage, and what changes you can make to overcome this problem.
Take a deeper look into your schedule.
A prominent reason for modern day marriage problems is the busy schedule of the couple. You and your partner are so busy with your careers, other family matters, and the like that you hardly get any time to spend together. As this goes on for weeks, months or years, the gap between you and your spouse will widen. This can make you feel very lonely, because you aren't making the conscious effort to spend quality time together. Seeing each other every day simply because you live in the same home doesn’t equate to real quality time.
Think about it, when was the last time you shared intimacy, either physically or emotionally, with your spouse? Have you guys had a date night recently without the kids, or even taken five minutes to share with each other how your day was? Your marriage cannot thrive when you don't add quality time into your routine.
Consider that your spouse isn’t the cause of your loneliness.
Loneliness after marriage does not always stem from your spouse. There are many reasons as to why you may be feeling more down or lonely recently. According to research studies, your loneliness can also be the result of depression, anxiety and other mental problems. If you have a past history with these problems, reach out to a therapist or doctor and see if you can get some help.
Past events or relationships in your life can also be the culprit. Friction with your parents, siblings and friends can cause you to feel distant and lonely in your life. Even if your husband is attentive and loving, having a wilder support system is important in making you feel connected. Furthermore, previous romantic relationships that turned sour due to neglect also might still be seeping into your marriage, because you haven't dealt with those old feelings correctly.
Avoid blaming your spouse.Wallowing in your own sadness or allowing it to morph into anger won’t solve anything, and it could actually make you feel worse. If your spouse is acting in a way that bothers you, confront him or her with a positive tone and try to express that. Blaming a spouse for working too much, not paying enough attention to you, or doing anything else that you perceive as “wrong” will only cause them to get defensive and feel attacked. It will push your spouse away and leave you feeling lonelier than you already did. It’s better to ask someone to help you process your feelings than to blame them for your feelings. Approach issues in a constructive, open way and bring some possible solutions to the table. Give your spouse time to understand and process the emotions you are going through, and come back to the conversation at a later date if needed. This will not be an overnight fix, so continue to keep lines of communication open.
Don’t rely on your spouse for all your needs.
If you expect your spouse to fill all the roles of best friend, emotional confident, lover, domestic partner, co-parent and your primary intellectual stimulant, you might always feel a little disappointed. While your spouse should be able to provide an incredible amount of support, they simply won't be able to do everything. You can't expect your spouse to fix all your problems and be your genie.
Instead of relying on your spouse to fulfill all these needs to the fullest, divide those tasks among a few platonic friends as well. Maybe you have a girls group you meet with every Wednesday for lunch that you can talk to, or you have a Bible Study you like to attend with other church friends. This is a way to take some of the pressure off of the marriage and improve your own self-confidence too.
Look for new things you both can share together.Does your partner have a hobby they are dedicated to or a favorite past time? Maybe you could develop an interest in what they find exciting. Talk about their passions and interests, and see if there is any that you are willing to join in on. Even if it doesn't immediately strike you as something fun, don't assume it won't be worth exploring. For example, if your spouse has a passion for working on old cars but your favorite activity is socializing with new people, suggest going on a date to a local car show. This would be a way that you both can have fun and enjoy each other’s company. You can successfully blend some of your more off-the-wall interests if you get a little creative. This is a great way that you both can connect in a non-hostile environment.
Make your partner aware of what you want more of.
We all have some basic needs in our relationships and we all look to fulfill these, whatever they may be. It can be sex, physical touch, conversations, and genuine interest in how the other person is doing or something entirely different. If you’re experiencing that your needs are overlooked, again and again, you need to start by making your partner aware of this. Your partner is not a mind reader, and there is a very real possibility that they do not even realize you are feeling lonely in the marriage.
Instead, what you need to do is find a solution together. Just working together as a team can help decrease the feelings of loneliness. Bring a list of the things that you want your partner to do more of. Maybe you need him to text you once or twice throughout the day, or request that you go on more dates together. Whatever it is, make sure you have laid out specific action items that will help you alleviate your negative feelings of loneliness.
Practice taking their perspective.
The longer we’re married, the more we tend to assume we know what the other person is thinking. But research clearly indicates this is not so. If you’re lonely, chances are your partner is, too. However they are also probably trapped in a cycle of emotional disconnection and feel helpless to break it.
Figuring out another person’s perspective is a thought exercise you should consider trying. Close our eyes and focus for a few minutes and imagine their world and their point of view within it. Gaining a greater understanding of your partner’s thoughts and feelings will allow you to express more sympathy and understanding toward them. In turn, this deepens your mutual bond. You also can begin to see where you may be lacking in the marriage, and come up with ideas on how you can promote a more positive home life.