I have been married for 20 years but loneliness is eating me up. Carlos B.
Dear Carlos B, Loneliness in marriage is a pathetic situation. Twenty years in marriage is not a short time that you have taken and you can also choose to redeem your marriage.
As humans, we are not meant to be isolated. We all crave deep and lasting connections with others. But , it is possible to feel alone in the middle of a crowd, and it is possible to sleep in the same bed with someone for years and still feel lonely. Many of us never expect to be lonely in marriage, hoping that our spouse will be the lifelong companion who saves us from loneliness. Over time, couples can gradually disconnect from one another, feel isolated and withdrawn.
Loneliness is not about physical proximity but emotional connection. You may have sex, but you do not have love. You may talk, but you do not communicate. You live together, but you do not share life.
Researchers also say that loneliness will occur when somebody excludes you. When isolation infects a marriage, a husband and a wife exclude each other. When you are excluded, you have a feeling of lack of closeness, and little intimacy. You can share a bed, eat at the same table, watch TV, share the same account, and parent the same children but still feel lonely. Couples wear their masks, and play the marriage game as if there is nothing wrong.
You need to work on your relationship. You need to lovingly, energetically nurture and maintain intimacy in your marriage to avoid drifting apart from your mate.
Possible causes of loneliness may include among others; breakdown in communication with your spouse. Effective communication builds marriages whereas none effective communication can break it down. Failure to disclose painful feelings to your partner makes you pile up bitterness and this can make you isolate yourself. Bullying partners who want to keep their wives in door can also cause loneliness. Tight working schedules which have robbed time from marriages have so much caused loneliness in marriage.
Resolve to: pursue oneness with each other and take first step and open up. Healing cannot start if you hide your pain; never to go to bed angry with each other. Forgive past hurts and find a way to resolve your differences. Spend quality time together including getaways.
Allow your spouse into your life, ask questions and listen patiently. Learn the art of transparent communication. Prioritise closeness and do not fear asking for help. Seek help from a professional counsellor
Joseph Musaalo is a counselling psychologist