Sometimes loneliness creeps into a marriage and before you know it, emptiness, feeling isolated and separated from others becomes part of your life.
Many people feel lonely in marriage yet such a union is supposed to provide a happy, healthy environment for both partners to thrive.
Sandra, who has gone through this, had this to say:
"My husband works long hours, he has little time for me and the children. His work requires him to travel a lot but I have a full time job which does not allow me to join him at all. We are always running in different directions, apart from phone and online conversations," she says.
"I crave for his company, his touch, his presence which seems fleeting. I am not sure how I can continue this way because sadness continues to engulf me and I find myself in tears all the time. I am married yet alone, lonely and isolated."
Although one would expect that marriage should protect individuals from the ravages of loneliness, this is unfortunately not the case. Loneliness is determined by the quality of a couple's relationship.
Loneliness creeps in slowly and gradually as a couple refuses to communicate and address their needs, as a result of fear, however, in most cases it is as a result of selfishness.
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Studies indicate that approximately 20 per cent of married couples suffer from chronic loneliness while older couples, rated at 62.5 per cent, reported being lonely while married.
Eva who has been married for 25 years says that while her friends and family believe that her marriage to John has been successful and happy, behind closed doors, they do not talk at all, neither do they share the same room.
While both of them are extremely unhappy, they live together because of economic reasons and, according to Eva, for the sake of their children.
Loneliness distorts an individual's world view and their perception of love and attachment. They have a tendency to judge everyone as and are extremely suspicious accusing them of not caring nor committed to the relationship.
In most cases, the lonely hearts judge their relationships as less fulfilling while they themselves put little effort if any in working towards a healthy, happy relationship.
Disappointment, unmet expectations, anger, frustration and resentment cause such persons to protect themselves from further emotional hurt and therefore become extremely sensitive. They are extremely defensive and appear to their partners as detached, aloof and sometimes hostile.
This state of affairs does more harm than good and instead of the partners growing together in perfect unity, they drift further apart and as a result become lonelier.
Life offers daily choices, happiness, isolation and loneliness. The choices you make have drastic effects on our relationships. Here are three choices that can significantly improve your situation.
1. Address outstanding issues regardless of depth and period. Remember, it only takes one willing partner to influence the other to begin the journey of healing. Choose to resolve every issue as it presents itself and pursue love, peace and unity.
2. Forgiveness is not an option, it is a must, because holding a grudge and resentment holds you captive as prisoner. Seek freedom through forgiveness.
3. Learn the art of healthy communication. Listen attentively and remember nonverbal communication represents over 82 per cent of all communication.
4. Pride comes before a fall! Swallow your pride and seek help where necessary. A mentor, pastor and counsellor may help you reignite the relationship. Don't allow isolation to take up center stage in your home, if you don't slay loneliness, in good time, it will destroy not only yourself but your entire household.
5. Make the choices and plan quality time together