Many singles think that if they could only be married, they would never feel lonely again. They would always feel loved, wanted, and cherished. I know I thought these things before I got married almost 25 years ago. Marriage can seem like such a beautiful, perfect dream. And it can be difficult to realize in advance that some of the things we tend to believe about marriage beforehand are myths. In fact, I am sure there will be some who won’t believe me that marriage – every marriage – has its lonely times, too.
Being married is not the same as being on a 50 year long date where all of your man’s attention is constantly on you every moment of every day.
There can be glorious moments of intimacy and oneness in marriage, at times. Yes, absolutely! But it is not usually a continual stream of non-stop honeymoon, romance, laughter, intimacy, closeness, and feelings of always being loved and desired. It is much like a garden, just like the Song of Solomon describes in the Bible. It must be tended to, weeded, and fertilized to help the good things – love and respect – grow and to get rid of the weeds that would strangle out the relationship. And we have to get rid of “the little foxes” that want to tear everything apart.
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:15
The truth is, even if you both love Jesus wholeheartedly, you are both still human – which means you will both sin against each other, at times. There will be hurt feelings, misunderstandings, disagreements, and just plain different priorities. Some of your different ways of thinking will not be reconcilable. Even in the best of marriages. This requires flexibility, adaptability, and incredible spiritual maturity.
You Are Two Very Unique People Merging Two Very Different Lives
The two of you have different personalities, histories, and filters. Your husband is not your dad. He is not your brother. He is not your ex-boyfriend. He is not you. And he is not a woman. He is his own unique person. You will need to study each other and get to know each other to be able to really understand one another.
You will have different levels of desire for different kinds of connection at various times. No wife has the exact same libido as her husband all the time. No husband has the exact same desire for emotional connection with his wife that she does all the time. One person will be more introverted and one will be more extroverted. One will want to spend more money than the other. One will want to hang out with friends or go out on the town more and the other will want to be home every night.
Your husband may want to unwind from his stressful day by watching TV, playing basketball with friends, hunting by himself, working in his shop, or playing video games. You may want him to spend every minute of free time with you. Or you may need more time to yourself and your husband may feel neglected if you don’t spend every waking moment with him. You may not always agree on how much time to spend together or how to spend the time you have together. Even if you both dearly love each other. That is something that has to be hammered out. There will need to be respectful, loving communication, compromise, and grace flowing both ways.
- Each person needs to have some time alone in order to be healthy.
- There also needs to be some time together for the marriage to thrive.
You are also both bringing a lot of unspoken expectations into the marriage and very different family cultures and paradigms. However, even if you were somehow able to magically agree on absolutely everything with your husband, have completely identical desires/expectations, have the same expectations, and never have a misunderstanding – job schedules, unexpected bills, illnesses, ministry responsibilities, chores, caring for children, different sleep schedules, business trips, injuries, cars breaking down, emergencies, deployment, hospital stays, bad weather, and all kinds of trials – unexpectedly crop up and ruin your plans. Sometimes for long seasons.
Marriage tends to involve a steep learning curve for both spouses. It takes time, determination, perseverance, and commitment to develop genuine oneness and unity. And it takes prayer and a willingness to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and a dependence on Him and His wisdom and His Spirit to help things gel.
Another poorly understood truth about marriage is that sometimes you actually are loved and wanted, but you won’t feel loved and wanted.
PMS, pregnancy hormones, stress, illness, exhaustion, different personalities, differences between masculine/feminine perspectives, and misunderstandings can cause you to feel like your husband doesn’t love you when he truly does. He maybe just shows love in a different way than you would prefer. Will you trust your feelings in those moments? Or do you have deep reserves of love in Christ to draw on and reassuring promises and truths from God’s Word to help steady your soul?
It’s also possible to feel lonely even when your husband and/or children are in the same room with you, especially if there is tension for some reason. So just having a person there with you is not a guarantee you will feel connected every moment.
You Won’t Always Get What You Want
If you freak out when things don’t go your way and your husband doesn’t/can’t give you all the time and attention you desire – if you react with negativity, crying, screaming, pressuring him, trying to force your way, insulting him, and having a tantrum – you will repel him and sabotage the very closeness you desire most.
You can easily create the loneliness you fear if you act in the flesh.
When you don’t get what you want from your husband, you will need to have a solid spiritual foundation so that you are not shaken. Otherwise, you will respond like the foolish woman:
Every wise woman builds her house,
but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.
You can’t treat your husband like your enemy and build your marriage. Your husband is not the enemy. Your real enemy is spiritual. You are going to need the power of the Holy Spirit to respond with self-control, dignity, poise, and respect even when you don’t feel loved or don’t feel like you are getting enough attention and affection. Otherwise you may just push your husband away and find yourself with a whole lot more alone time on your hands than you ever imagined possible.
You will need to have the ability to be content in every circumstance in Christ. There will be many times your plans fall through. Yes, even in marriage! And you will need a plan to handle those times in godly ways that build up your marriage and husband when everything in your flesh wants to react in a destructive way. You will need to be prepared to submit fully to the Lordship of Christ in every moment and to die to self.
The little thing I want from my husband in the moment can’t ever be more important than my obedience to Jesus.
I don’t get to sin against my husband because he isn’t giving me what I desire. I am responsible and accountable to the Lord to treat my husband well and to honor, respect, and love him. I don’t have to love or respect sin in his life. I don’t have to cooperate with sin. But I don’t get to indulge my sinful nature just because he doesn’t do what I want him to do when I want him to do it.
As a grown adult, I need to be prepared to take responsibility for my own emotions and my own spiritual growth and responses to the trials in life. I am responsible to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to respond in godly ways no matter what life may throw at me and no matter how my husband may act – whether I feel loved in the moment by him or not.
Whether you are single or married, you will need a strong relationship with Christ. There is no way around this truth.
He is the only one who will never fail you and never leave you for any reason. He is the Solid Rock for your life. Only He can always meet your deepest spiritual needs. Only He can give you the spiritual power you need to respond with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control when you are not getting what you want from your husband and during those times when you are alone for various reasons.
So, it’s wonderful to get married for two people who love the Lord and want to live for Him. But please don’t get married in order to “never feel lonely again.” There can be times of sweet togetherness and oneness. And there are inevitably going to be times when you will need to have the strength to be able to handle being alone, too.
We all – singles and marrieds – need to have the ability to be content in Christ alone. This is a discipline we need for the rest of our lives no matter what path we may take.