From middle school into adulthood, my best friends and I grew from girlhood into womanhood together.
In high school, my friends always seemed to have dates—or at least guys who were interested in them. Me? Not so much. I jealously looked on from the sidelines, wondering if I would ever find a guy who liked me. I worried that I would spend my life alone and lonely.
My soul was weary with sorrow.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Psalm 119:28a
The yearning not to be lonely was physical. At times, my chest and gut ached with it—and with the emptiness that I feared would last forever. I knew God was with me, but I wanted someone who could give me actual hugs, too. I was jealous of my friends, who never seemed to be as alone and lonely as I always was.
When I met Big Guy, I no longer was alone. The ache of loneliness began to dissipate. We married and had children. When the kids were small, I was never alone and I didn’t have time to think about whether I felt lonely.
As they grew and needed me less, I realized that I was feeling that ache of loneliness again.
I wasn’t alone, but I was lonely. Married with kids, I still felt like a lone individual. I lived life parallel to my husband, not together with him.
I cried out to God, Please God, fix this. I am so lonely. I can’t do this. I can’t live life so lonely. It would be easier to be alone. At least then I wouldn’t have to see the constant reminder of how miserable I am.
My soul was again weary with sorrow.
I felt lonely for many years in my marriage. The walls I’d built to keep hurt out also kept out the chance for connection with my husband. He felt lonely, too, and he had walls of his own.
God’s work in my heart and my work on our marriage have led our marriage to a place of connection. When Big Guy comes home at the end of the day, I am grateful for those moments when we just hold each other to reconnect. We have a daily reminder that God has joined us together.
We are not alone, and we are not lonely.
It’s been a while since I’ve remembered to be grateful for that.
I recently spent a day with my longtime friends. Although we hadn’t been all together for fifteen years, after we updated each other on our lives, we were reconnected in a way that made it seem like we’d never been apart.
This time, though, I wasn’t the one who was feeling lonely and alone.
One friend is married to a man whose work takes him overseas for most of the year. She functions as a single parent to their three teens; she is worn out. She has no one to share the burdens and joys of daily life, no one to help her juggle schedules, and no one to give her a break. More than that, she needs to just be held and comforted by her husband—who is on the other side of the world from her. She is married, but with her husband so far away, she feels lonely.
The other friend is single. Her work involves travel and an erratic schedule. She is rarely home long enough to develop a relationship. When she is home, she needs to manage appointments related to a medical condition. She has no one to share her life with, either in the daily rhythm of life or in the big challenges and decisions. She is alone and lonely.
Both my friends are so weary with sorrow from their loneliness.
We all have big challenges in our lives right now—but I am the one who gets to face the challenges together with my husband rather than being alone or feeling lonely.
Dear sisters, I know that some of you feel lonely in your marriages.
You may cry out to God in anguish, just as I did. If you are yearning for that connection in your marriage, my heart aches for you.
Sometimes it’s a matter of circumstances. A husband is deployed or needs to travel for work. Life is in a busy season and it’s hard to find opportunities to connect.
Often, though, other things get in the way of that heart-deep connection we crave—and we can work to change the loneliness we feel.
The weariness on my friends’ faces made it clear that doing this work is worth the effort. Even if it’s hard and your heart is full of the sorrow of disconnection, it is worth the effort.
Sweet sisters, take your sorrow to God and let Him wipe your tears away.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
No matter how lonely you feel in your marriage, remember this: you are never alone. God is ever with you. Let His unceasing presence breathe comfort into your heart.
If you’ve built emotional walls that interfere with a true connection with your husband, begin to dismantle them. Do the brave things. Persevere. The prospect of pulling the walls down may seem a daunting task, but even in this, you are not alone. If you think you can’t do it, remember that you have more than just your strength available:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Draw on God for comfort and strength as you do the work to restore your marriage. Cling to God’s presence. You are not alone, and your effort with God’s strength may be what it takes to end your loneliness.
While your husband may have his own walls and work to do in restoring your connection, your effort may be what motivates him to begin.
There are no guarantees, but a good connection with your husband makes life better. It is worth the effort.
When I left my friends this weekend, I made the hour-long drive home in the dark. I thought of the lights that would be shining for me when I arrived. They would be on because Big Guy was there, waiting for me. The lights and my husband beckoned me home.
I walked in the door, and there he was. I was not alone, nor was I lonely. And for the first time in a while, I said a prayer of thanks for that.
My soul is no longer weary with the sorrow of loneliness.
Oh, my sisters, I want that so much for you all.
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11
Image credit|C. Taylor