Feel Alone in Marriage or Life?

sea side 

I’ve been scouring over my journals from my very messy marriage years because I’m working on writing the book – Messy Marriage {Yay!}. And as I’ve done so, I’ve recalled how alone and alienated I often felt during those years {Not so Yay!}.

In a messy marriage it’s easy to feel that you and your spouse are not in this together when there’s hostility or resentment present. And very often we pull away from friendships and spiritual support at those times because we fear that our messy marriage will be exposed, which in turn, causes the chasm of loneliness to grow deeper and wider.

If you’re feeling alone in a messy marriage or simply in life, then here are some practical steps that I took {and still take} to bridge the gap …

Meditate on Christ’s love and nearness
Do you take the time each day to realize just how very deeply Christ loves you? Imagine him sitting near you. Hold his hand. Imagine the scars on His hands, His brow and remind yourself that He suffered that pain for you. Imagine Him holding you and giving you the comfort you so desperately desire. Use Bible verses, like Psalm 23 or Romans 8:35-37* or others that speak of Christ’s love for you to anchor your meditations upon. Christ wants to be and is the Lover of your soul.

Seek Godly Support
Fight the tendency to withdraw and reach out instead. If you have a godly same-sex friend, mentor or counselor {or all three} who can listen and walk with you through this trial, then schedule time with them on a regular basis. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after just one caring encounter.

Practice Gratitude
Make a point to thank God for not just the good but especially the “challenging” in your day. Whisper a prayer of thanks when you encounter that difficult person or situation. Say something like, “Father, thank you for this difficult moment. I pray you’d use it to teach me how to respond more like you.” Thank Him in the small things. Thank Him even in the things that didn’t happen, like almost getting rear-ended by the texting driver behind you! Pray that God would open your eyes to His little and big gifts all throughout your day.

I can’t guarantee that your situation will improve if you do these three things, but I know my “feelings” and “sense of connection” improved drastically when I did and still do these things. They are mainstays in my life now and I can’t imagine going without them, and I bet they’ll do the same for you!

What have you done to bridge the gap of loneliness in life and/or marriage?

Have you done any of these steps I’ve mentioned? Which ones have made the biggest difference?

*“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” –Romans 8:35-37 (NIV)

photo by bibekthecrony 

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Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum Whimsical Wednesday, and T.G.I.F.
 
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Write in any way you feel inspired about marriage, parenthood or anything that reflects Christ’s redemption in your life.

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Come join our Wednesday Link-up!

  • this is so interesting, Beth. many of the single women I’ve worked with are sure that when they meet a man their loneliness will simply vanish like smoke in the wind. yet some of the loneliest women i’ve talked with are married …
    and, for sure, when all is said and done, only Christ can fill that yawning emptiness that lurks deep within, no matter if we’ve got a ring on that left hand or not.

    • Yes, that’s that magical thinking that can really contaminate our lives, Linda. And you’ve reminded me of something I’ve heard somewhere–that the loneliest place on the earth is feeling alone “in marriage.” It’s one thing to realize you’re lonely because you have few friends and quite another to know the one who should be your best friend is alienating or rejecting you. But for sure, Christ is the One who can fill that longing. Thanks for weighing in with some rich insights, my friend!

  • this is so interesting, Beth. many of the single women I’ve worked with are sure that when they meet a man their loneliness will simply vanish like smoke in the wind. yet some of the loneliest women i’ve talked with are married …
    and, for sure, when all is said and done, only Christ can fill that yawning emptiness that lurks deep within, no matter if we’ve got a ring on that left hand or not.

  • I agree gratitude is huge! I so often apply this to my marriage…when my husband does something to irritate me, I (try to) immediately replace those thoughts with something positive, like “he is loyal,” or “he is a loving dad” and I always end up thanking God for my husband, even when my sin nature would rather complain. Thank you for your ministry, Beth! Can’t wait for the book!

    • Yes, that’s such a great practice for anyone in marriage to do, Becky. We all can succumb to negative self-talk and God’s given us the imperative (through Paul) to “rejoice always!” Not easy, but definitely worth it! Thanks for your sweet words to me, my friend. I appreciate every one!

  • I agree gratitude is huge! I so often apply this to my marriage…when my husband does something to irritate me, I (try to) immediately replace those thoughts with something positive, like “he is loyal,” or “he is a loving dad” and I always end up thanking God for my husband, even when my sin nature would rather complain. Thank you for your ministry, Beth! Can’t wait for the book!

  • GailBP

    Wise advice…all of it, as usual. And these principles apply to any difficulty in life. I especially need to remember to practice gratitude. Thanks for the link party too, Beth.

    • Thanks so much, Gail! I appreciate your practical and biblical advice each week as well. I am always so glad to be a place to share your links as well, my friend!

  • GailBP

    Wise advice…all of it, as usual. And these principles apply to any difficulty in life. I especially need to remember to practice gratitude. Thanks for the link party too, Beth.

  • I well remembered being lonely, Beth. Both inside a bad marriage that ended and during singleness. And growing my relationship with Jesus and even talking out loud to Him when home alone — as if He were my husband {which He is!} was the biggest thing to abate those moments. Also, I found service to others to be extremely helpful both to them and for me. My life is so different now, thankfully. And my Michael and I have a very good marriage AND tomorrow we are off to Cape Ann, MA where we eloped to celebrate our anniversary on the 18th. Praising God…thanks for the link up.

    • That’s a great addition to this list, Sheila–helping others when you feel alone. Feeling needed and experiencing the joy of giving can really turn our attitude around and fill that gap with valuable connection. Thanks for weighing in and adding further insights, my friend! Oh, and have fun on your anniversary trip! I hope we get to see pics at your place soon!

  • I well remembered being lonely, Beth. Both inside a bad marriage that ended and during singleness. And growing my relationship with Jesus and even talking out loud to Him when home alone — as if He were my husband {which He is!} was the biggest thing to abate those moments. Also, I found service to others to be extremely helpful both to them and for me. My life is so different now, thankfully. And my Michael and I have a very good marriage AND tomorrow we are off to Cape Ann, MA where we eloped to celebrate our anniversary on the 18th. Praising God…thanks for the link up.

  • Nan

    I’m glad that you suggested talking to a same-sex friend. We have a friend whose first marriage broke up because his wife confided her problems to her male-friend. They had an affair and she left her husband for him.

    Thanks for hosting today!

    • Yes, that’s something that can really get you “in trouble” instead of out of it, if you turn to the opposite sex to fill that loneliness gap! I certainly wanted to emphasize that! Thanks for stopping by to encourage me, Nan. I value your bloggy friendship!

  • Nan

    I’m glad that you suggested talking to a same-sex friend. We have a friend whose first marriage broke up because his wife confided her problems to her male-friend. They had an affair and she left her husband for him.

    Thanks for hosting today!

  • Sherry @ IntentionallyYours.or

    Beth, thank you so much for sharing this so succinctly. I know that when my mess of a marriage hit the fan (so to speak) back in 2003, it was only through God’s grace and the two beautiful women He sent to walk it out with me that I’m sharing the story of redemption we tell today. God created us for relationship, the enemy spends so much of his time telling us lies to isolate us.

    We’ve got a private group on facebook that exists to encourage and pray with/for husbands and wives whose spouses have ‘gone prodigal,’ and we share these very steps. Think I’ll post this blog link in the group to share with them!!

    So glad to be in the fight for marriages with you!! Intentionally Yours and I LOVE Messy Marriage!

    • I love joining with all of you over at “Intentionally Yours” to strengthen and equip marriages, Sherry. And I’m so glad you’ve been used by God to help offer hope to those who’ve walked where you’ve walked. You are a very brave woman to share the painful story, but it’s one of great beauty and redemption as well. Thanks for your kind words and keep on coming back around, my friend! Love it!

  • Sherry @ IntentionallyYours.or

    Beth, thank you so much for sharing this so succinctly. I know that when my mess of a marriage hit the fan (so to speak) back in 2003, it was only through God’s grace and the two beautiful women He sent to walk it out with me that I’m sharing the story of redemption we tell today. God created us for relationship, the enemy spends so much of his time telling us lies to isolate us.

    We’ve got a private group on facebook that exists to encourage and pray with/for husbands and wives whose spouses have ‘gone prodigal,’ and we share these very steps. Think I’ll post this blog link in the group to share with them!!

    So glad to be in the fight for marriages with you!! Intentionally Yours and I LOVE Messy Marriage!

  • Megan@DoNotDisturb

    It’s amazing what looking through old journals opens up isn’t it. So glad that you were brought to the point of remembering but are also able to move forward and encourage others who are on that path as well.

    Blessings!
    Megan

    • Oh, yes! You don’t know the half of it, Megan. I’ve long been trying to write this book, but lately have really set aside specific writing times and reading through those books has really been gut-wrenching! It makes me feel suspicious of my husband all over again even when we have a minor hiccup! Yikes! And I’m worried about how much to share–fearing some in my life wouldn’t approve. But I’m persevering so far, as I sense God urging me on. Thanks for your kind words, my friend!

  • Megan@DoNotDisturb

    It’s amazing what looking through old journals opens up isn’t it. So glad that you were brought to the point of remembering but are also able to move forward and encourage others who are on that path as well.

    Blessings!
    Megan

  • Mia

    Dear Beth
    A good heart-to-heart is like good medicine, but I have found that just spending time with God works wonders for me! Marriage is difficult, but also wonderful when you and your spouse both walk with Jesus and consider the other more important than yourself. That takes some MAJOR humbling before God.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • Oh yes! That’s the bright spot in my day for sure–spending quiet time with God. My sense of His love and my love for Him has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year, as I find deeper ways to connect with Him through His word and meditating on His goodness, Mia. Thanks so much for weighing in and encouraging me, my friend. Always love seeing your smiling face in the comment section!

  • Mia

    Dear Beth
    A good heart-to-heart is like good medicine, but I have found that just spending time with God works wonders for me! Marriage is difficult, but also wonderful when you and your spouse both walk with Jesus and consider the other more important than yourself. That takes some MAJOR humbling before God.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  • Loneliness in marriage is a symptom of so many things, among them: identity placed in spouse, enmeshment, but also unfulfilled, legitimate desires. Thanks for opening yourself up here. Great post.

    • You always bring such insight to the conversation, Scott. You’ve really studied to show yourself approved, my friend! Thanks for hanging out around here and weighing in our conversation!

  • Loneliness in marriage is a symptom of so many things, among them: identity placed in spouse, enmeshment, but also unfulfilled, legitimate desires. Thanks for opening yourself up here. Great post.

  • I’ve had many lonely times in my marriage as my small town doc husband works long hours and has to live to the rhythm of a pager calling him to the hospital at all hours. The key for me has been sidling up close with my Savior and letting Him fill the cracks that no one else can.

    • Oh, yes! There’s “aloneness” in more ways than just a messy marriage, Alicia. I thought of folks who have a spouse who works long hours or has to travel when I wrote this post as well. I didn’t mention those scenarios, so I’m glad you brought it up here. And I’m so glad that you’ve found your cup filled to overflowing with your Savior’s love! Thanks, my sista!

  • I’ve had many lonely times in my marriage as my small town doc husband works long hours and has to live to the rhythm of a pager calling him to the hospital at all hours. The key for me has been sidling up close with my Savior and letting Him fill the cracks that no one else can.

  • All three have worked for me Beth and continue to. I don’t always walk them out as well as i ought 🙂 but they have been a life-line all the same. i find that after working through # 1, number 2 is sometimes the harder thing to do…at least it was in the beginning. Sometimes we suffer and struggle in our own little self-made prisons while God has care and support around us. Godly support and counsel is important for messy patches in marriage.

    And congrats on the book! 🙂 I know it will help and bless many.

    • “Life-line” is a good way to put it, Ngina. I’m so glad to know you are committed to these practices, but I could’ve guessed that from the insightfulness you have and share at your place. And a rousing “amen” to the way God fills in those “messy patches” with His presence and godly community. It’s a must!

      And hang on to that “congrats,” Ngina. I’m far from close to being done. Praying for me might be more what’s in order. But I appreciate the pat on the back just the same! 🙂

      • I hear you Beth! Am on that road myself and i have no idea when i’ll get close to being done! 🙂 I’ll be praying for you.

  • All three have worked for me Beth and continue to. I don’t always walk them out as well as i ought 🙂 but they have been a life-line all the same. i find that after working through # 1, number 2 is sometimes the harder thing to do…at least it was in the beginning. Sometimes we suffer and struggle in our own little self-made prisons while God has care and support around us. Godly support and counsel is important for messy patches in marriage.

    And congrats on the book! 🙂 I know it will help and bless many.

  • Lisa

    For me, practicing gratitude seems to be best. I was recently going through a serious depression – and I RARELY get depressed – and the wonderful thing that lifted me up was singing praises and thanking The Lord! I had the best of times crying and praising Him in the shower through the trial.

    Being a very private person, probably to my own hurt, I rarely talk to other ladies about my troubles. Pouring out my heart to The Lord is by far better than anyone else I could talk to.

    Great post, Beth! I appreciate your transparency!

    • It’s such a healing balm, isn’t, Lisa?! The trick is continuing to use it and to apply it even when things seem bad. I’m so glad you’ve found the gift that rejoicing brings when you were depressed. And drawing close to the Savior is such a blessing. There’s no other god like our God who let’s us draw near and feel His deep love for us! Thanks so much for joining the discussion, my friend!

  • Lisa

    …and a special congrats on the book!!

    • Hold on to that “congrats,” Lisa. As I mentioned to Ngina, it’s a long way from being completed. But thanks for your encouragement! I’ll take it just the same!

  • Lisa

    For me, practicing gratitude seems to be best. I was recently going through a serious depression – and I RARELY get depressed – and the wonderful thing that lifted me up was singing praises and thanking The Lord! I had the best of times crying and praising Him in the shower through the trial.

    Being a very private person, probably to my own hurt, I rarely talk to other ladies about my troubles. Pouring out my heart to The Lord is by far better than anyone else I could talk to.

    Great post, Beth! I appreciate your transparency!

  • Lisa

    …and a special congrats on the book!!

  • Yes, that’s that magical thinking that can really contaminate our lives, Linda. And you’ve reminded me of something I’ve heard somewhere–that the loneliest place on the earth is feeling alone “in marriage.” It’s one thing to realize you’re lonely because you have few friends and quite another to know the one who should be your best friend is alienating or rejecting you. But for sure, Christ is the One who can fill that longing. Thanks for weighing in with some rich insights, my friend!

  • Yes, that’s such a great practice for anyone in marriage to do, Becky. We all can succumb to negative self-talk and God’s given us the imperative (through Paul) to “rejoice always!” Not easy, but definitely worth it! Thanks for your sweet words to me, my friend. I appreciate every one!

  • Thanks so much, Gail! I appreciate your practical and biblical advice each week as well. I am always so glad to be a place to share your links as well, my friend!

  • That’s a great addition to this list, Sheila–helping others when you feel alone. Feeling needed and experiencing the joy of giving can really turn our attitude around and fill that gap with valuable connection. Thanks for weighing in and adding further insights, my friend! Oh, and have fun on your anniversary trip! I hope we get to see pics at your place soon!

  • Yes, that’s something that can really get you “in trouble” instead of out of it, if you turn to the opposite sex to fill that loneliness gap! I certainly wanted to emphasize that! Thanks for stopping by to encourage me, Nan. I value your bloggy friendship!

  • I love joining with all of you over at “Intentionally Yours” to strengthen and equip marriages, Sherry. And I’m so glad you’ve been used by God to help offer hope to those who’ve walked where you’ve walked. You are a very brave woman to share the painful story, but it’s one of great beauty and redemption as well. Thanks for your kind words and keep on coming back around, my friend! Love it!

  • Oh, yes! You don’t know the half of it, Megan. I’ve long been trying to write this book, but lately have really set aside specific writing times and reading through those books has really been gut-wrenching! It makes me feel suspicious of my husband all over again even when we have a minor hiccup! Yikes! And I’m worried about how much to share–fearing some in my life wouldn’t approve. But I’m persevering so far, as I sense God urging me on. Thanks for your kind words, my friend!

  • Oh yes! That’s the bright spot in my day for sure–spending quiet time with God. My sense of His love and my love for Him has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year, as I find deeper ways to connect with Him through His word and meditating on His goodness, Mia. Thanks so much for weighing in and encouraging me, my friend. Always love seeing your smiling face in the comment section!

  • You always bring such insight to the conversation, Scott. You’ve really studied to show yourself approved, my friend! Thanks for hanging out around here and weighing in our conversation!

  • Oh, yes! There’s “aloneness” in more ways than just a messy marriage, Alicia. I thought of folks who have a spouse who works long hours or has to travel when I wrote this post as well. I didn’t mention those scenarios, so I’m glad you brought it up here. And I’m so glad that you’ve found your cup filled to overflowing with your Savior’s love! Thanks, my sista!

  • “Life-line” is a good way to put it, Ngina. I’m so glad to know you are committed to these practices, but I could’ve guessed that from the insightfulness you have and share at your place. And a rousing “amen” to the way God fills in those “messy patches” with His presence and godly community. It’s a must!

    And hang on to that “congrats,” Ngina. I’m far from close to being done. Praying for me might be more what’s in order. But I appreciate the pat on the back just the same! 🙂

  • It’s such a healing balm, isn’t, Lisa?! The trick is continuing to use it and to apply it even when things seem bad. I’m so glad you’ve found the gift that rejoicing brings when you were depressed. And drawing close to the Savior is such a blessing. There’s no other god like our God who let’s us draw near and feel His deep love for us! Thanks so much for joining the discussion, my friend!

  • Hold on to that “congrats,” Lisa. As I mentioned to Ngina, it’s a long way from being completed. But thanks for your encouragement! I’ll take it just the same!

  • OutnumberedMom

    Someone once told me you can’t deny feelings, but you recognize them for what they are and hold them up to fact. Jesus IS close and loves us; there are those who love Him and love us; and there is a lot to be thankful for!

    • Yes, those are the facts – Jesus loves us so much and we need to focus on that when we feel all alone … because the truth is we are not. Thanks so much for adding that thought to the discussion, Laura Lee. It needs to be a truth that we remind ourselves of continually! 🙂

  • OutnumberedMom

    Someone once told me you can’t deny feelings, but you recognize them for what they are and hold them up to fact. Jesus IS close and loves us; there are those who love Him and love us; and there is a lot to be thankful for!

  • Nykiah @howtotrainasuperhero

    My word! I love this post! Have you ever heard that saying Jesus take the wheel?? I’ve learned over time that There cannot be any I’s in marriage. Lot’s of grace, consistent repentance and most importantly relationship. Relationship with the Lord to and he has got to be sovereign! Thanks for having me! Can’t wait to build a bloggership with you! 🙂

    Blessings!,

    Nykiah
    howtotrainasuperhero.com

  • bluecottonmemory

    There are moments I feel alone and isolate – and often times, I realize I have put myself there – and need to come out of my self-imposed exile:)

    • It’s great that you take stock and realize when it’s occurring. So many people keep going on in auto-pilot and never do some self-examination. Then they wonder why they’re off in a ditch! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing openly, my friend!

  • bluecottonmemory

    There are moments I feel alone and isolate – and often times, I realize I have put myself there – and need to come out of my self-imposed exile:)

  • Nykiah @howtotrainasuperhero

    Have you ever heard of “Jesus take the wheel!” This so reminds me of that. I’m thankful that God is always showing me grace in this thing. I’ve learned over time that there are no I’s in marriage. It’s so funny how God has set up marriage. I’m so glad he sees the bigger picture before I do! Congrats on the book Beth!

    • I’ve heard the song, Nykiah, and it’s a good one. I need to keep it on a running loop in my brain some days! haha! I’m chiming in with you on how grateful I am that God sees the bigger picture and is always there to love on us when we feel alone. Thanks for coming by and for the encouragement on the book process. I’ve got a long way to go, so I’ll take all the encouragement I can get, my friend!

  • Nykiah @howtotrainasuperhero

    Have you ever heard of “Jesus take the wheel!” This so reminds me of that. I’m thankful that God is always showing me grace in this thing. I’ve learned over time that there are no I’s in marriage. It’s so funny how God has set up marriage. I’m so glad he sees the bigger picture before I do! Congrats on the book Beth!

  • Visiting from http://www.intentionallyyours.org/
    As I am currently separated from my spouse–I definitely feel lonely and felt it even before we separated. I have done all 3 things you have suggested and it has made a world of difference. Even just #3, giving thanks regularly and looking for things to be thankful for, has given me hope and peace during such trying times. Thank you for sharing true, solid suggestions to get through hard times.

    • That’s great to hear, Katy–that you’ve been proactive in doing what will connect you with other believers and keep you anchored in God’s goodness, love and blessings. We are all so richly blessed but don’t take the time to hunt for those treasures we receive each day. You have my prayers regarding your marriage as well! Thanks for stopping by and weighing in!

  • Visiting from http://www.intentionallyyours.org/
    As I am currently separated from my spouse–I definitely feel lonely and felt it even before we separated. I have done all 3 things you have suggested and it has made a world of difference. Even just #3, giving thanks regularly and looking for things to be thankful for, has given me hope and peace during such trying times. Thank you for sharing true, solid suggestions to get through hard times.

  • Yes, those are the facts – Jesus loves us so much and we need to focus on that when we feel all alone … because the truth is we are not. Thanks so much for adding that thought to the discussion, Laura Lee. It needs to be a truth that we remind ourselves of continually! 🙂

  • It’s great that you take stock and realize when it’s occurring. So many people keep going on in auto-pilot and never do some self-examination. Then they wonder why they’re off in a ditch! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing openly, my friend!

  • I’ve heard the song, Nykiah, and it’s a good one. I need to keep it on a running loop in my brain some days! haha! I’m chiming in with you on how grateful I am that God sees the bigger picture and is always there to love on us when we feel alone. Thanks for coming by and for the encouragement on the book process. I’ve got a long way to go, so I’ll take all the encouragement I can get, my friend!

  • That’s great to hear, Katy–that you’ve been proactive in doing what will connect you with other believers and keep you anchored in God’s goodness, love and blessings. We are all so richly blessed but don’t take the time to hunt for those treasures we receive each day. You have my prayers regarding your marriage as well! Thanks for stopping by and weighing in!

  • Mel Caldicott

    This is such good advice and the book sounds fab! I would definitely be interested in reading it. I love it when people share their messiness. It’s so encouraging to others.

    I linked here from 1-minute Bible Love Notes and thought you might want to link this post at the linkup I host called Essential Fridays.

    http://www.essentialthingdevotions.com

    I’m sure my readers would love to see this!

    Blessings.

  • Mel Caldicott

    This is such good advice and the book sounds fab! I would definitely be interested in reading it. I love it when people share their messiness. It’s so encouraging to others.

    I linked here from 1-minute Bible Love Notes and thought you might want to link this post at the linkup I host called Essential Fridays.

    http://www.essentialthingdevotions.com

    I’m sure my readers would love to see this!

    Blessings.

  • I hear you Beth! Am on that road myself and i have no idea when i’ll get close to being done! 🙂 I’ll be praying for you.