Recently, my amazing wife Ashley recently wrote an insightful post on "The Big Lie that leads to a Lonely Marriage" and it stirred up a lot of conversations. Through those conversations, we're learning that many individuals feel "alone" in their marriage.

There are different degrees of loneliness in marriage, and we've heard statements like this:

"My husband just doesn't understand me."

"I'm the only one who seems to care about this marriage."

"My wife doesn't seem to care about my needs."

"We're just going through the motions. I don't know how to break out of this frustrating cycle."

"It's like we're not even married. We're just two roommates sharing the same house."

"I want things to be better, but he/she doesn't seem to want to change anything."

"I'm doing all I can, but I feel like I'm fighting alone. I feel alone in this marriage."

Do any of those statements resonate with you? There are few things in life more discouraging than feeling disregarded, disrespected or abandoned by a spouse. If you find yourself in a "Lonely Marriage," don't lose hope.

There are ways you can fight for your marriage even when it feels like you're fighting alone.

If you're feeling alone in your marriage, you can do everything in your power to bring improvements to the relationship by:

1. Give love based on permanent commitments, not temporary feelings

One of the most difficult (and most important) aspects of marriage is to love your spouse even when he/she is being unlovable. This is really the essence of love. It means giving the best of ourselves even when it's not being immediately reciprocated. This is what God has done for us. It's selfless, and it's difficult, but it's also powerful. Being frustrated with your spouse isn't a good reason to get divorced anymore than being frustrated with your children is a good reason to put them up for adoption.

2. Model the kind of behavior you want to see from him/her

When we're frustrated with our spouse, it's natural to want to unplug from them, nag them or criticize them, but none of those tactics ever seem to work. This step is a natural progression from the first point about giving love even when it isn't immediately reciprocate. Do for him/her what you'd like to see done in return. Encourage more than your criticize. In marrage disagreements are inevitable, but disrespect is optional.

3. Find encouragement in healthy friendships

When you're feeling lonely in a marriage, it's natural to seek encouragement from friends, but if you're not careful, it can also be dangerous. Their "encouragement" can turn into a session of bashing your spouse or romanticizing divorce. Find encouraging friends, but make sure they're healthy people who love you AND love your spouse too. Surround yourself with people who strengthen your character, and remove yourself from people who compromise your character.

4. Have faith

Faith isn't a feeling. It's a choice to trust God even when life does't seem to make sense. Through this lonely season, find comfort in the God who promises to never leave or forsake us and also promises to work all things together for our good. He will carry you through this, so choose to overcome this challenge by becoming better, not bitter. God's timing is rarely the same as our timing, but His timing is always perfect. Trust Him.

This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.

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