How to Combat Everyday Loneliness in Marriage
The days were especially long in the early years of our marriage. My husband was in graduate school (re: gone most of the time) and I was home all day with a toddler and a baby.
We were in vastly different worlds for most of our wakeful hours. He was in a fast-paced, intellectually-stimulating, stressful university environment. I was lost in a sea of stuffed animals, sippy-cups and dirty diapers—feeling alone, and forgotten by the rest of the world in our toddler play-land of a home.
I’ll be the first to say, it’s what we chose. He was in school to open doors of opportunity. I wanted to be home with our kids, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how difficult it would be to face the mundane tasks of motherhood on a daily basis.
Some days, loneliness consumed me. As I poured all my energy into keeping our kids alive and keeping our house from falling into a state of disaster, I also fielded emotions of resentment and frustration, which I childishly aimed at my husband.
When he came through the door, I wanted him to hear my war stories, validate my feelings, and relate to my mind-numbing at-home experience. I wanted him to recognize my unseen accomplishments and let me escape the angst and chaos of our lives with kids.
What I found was that my husband always arrived home just as exhausted as I was. He was completely unaware of the dynamics of our day, and had stress of his own he brought home tucked into the pockets of his soul. I didn’t see it at first, because I was too preoccupied with my own fears of being forgotten in the abyss of motherhood.
More than once I lamented to him about how I felt alone, as if the burden I carried was unfair or unbalanced, even though we had discussed and decided on this course together. It took me a few years to recognize that he also felt alone in the journey at times.
In the years that followed, I realized that the loneliness both of us felt was something we could fix. He learned how to come home and get a read on the day, listening to my struggles and triumphs. I learned how to receive him home without a complaining attitude or a critical spirit. It has been freeing to discover how intentional connection and honest communication can silence the voice of loneliness.
Wife Step: If you experience this type of everyday loneliness, start a conversation with your spouse. Point out the heroic things you see him doing to contribute to your family, and take the initiative to build your connection. Don’t let loneliness lie to you about who your husband is or where your marriage is headed.
Emily Sue Allen is the founder of the Kindred Mom blog and host of the Kindred Mom podcast. Soul care for moms and helping women find rest and joy in the midst of busy life are among her greatest passions. She is a contemplative, creative soul who celebrates the beauty of a humble, handmade life and deeply values the power of encouragement. Emily lives with her six kids and husband of 13 years in the Pacific Northwest, and personally blogs at emilysueallen.com. Find Kindred Mom on Instagram and Facebook, and follow Emily personally on Instagram.