People think that when they get married they will “never be lonely again.” Wrong.
Loneliness in marriage is predictable. The longer you live together, the less you feel the need to talk. No wonder so many empty-nesters divorce after their kids leave: the silence is deafening.
What causes it and how do we cure it?
Having been married now 41 years, I think I have finally figured out why we all struggle with this.
HERE ARE THE “CAUSES” AND THE “CURES”:
- I see couples sit an ENTIRE meal at a restaurant interacting only with their phones. A full hour will pass with no conversation whatsoever. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube offer millions of entertainment choices. Why interact?
- I have learned that 10 minutes with a spouse is worth more than 10 hours with Google’s algorithm! Turn it off. Close the lid. Look eyeball to eyeball. Say, “Hi! How was your day?”
- Couples grow apathetic about their relationship. They think they have heard everything their spouse has to say!
- Get up out of that “funk.” Start reading new books. Share what those books are teaching you. If you do not grow personally, you will shrivel maritally.
3. “My Space”
- I get it that sometimes couples want to be alone. Everybody needs time to think and process. The problem is, when you got married, you surrendered that right.
- Married life is not an occasional sexual encounter. It is “shared life.” It is companionship. Be willing to drop what you are doing when your spouse needs to share burdens, feelings, and dreams.
- Don’t let your pursuits and career focus get ahead of your marriage. You may look up one day and notice your partner is gone.
- Set a time where you plan your life: Sunday night for the week, early morning for the day, New Years Day for the year.
- Teamwork is synergy … and energy! Loneliness is cured when two partners feel they are working toward the same goal, the same vision, the same project.
- When two partners are overworking, they clam up. The fatigue and exhaustion affects their conversation and their sexual life.
- Find the time of day you best interact. For us, it is early morning before and after breakfast. Preserve that time as sacred.
- My wife helps me to prevent overwork by looking at and APPROVING my schedule. I travelled 165,000 miles last year speaking, and this year we cut that down to a pace that did not leave her feeling alone and isolated.
- Find a distraction or hobby that you both like: camping, watching BBC movies, driving around, day trips, eating out, etc. Plan a time every week where you dive into your secret “joy”… together.
- Play together. We have rented golf carts and ridden over the exhilarating hills on golf courses! Nothing cures loneliness like FUN.
Loneliness is a serious problem, even in marriage. You can fix it if you focus on it.