Married But Alone?

I was thinking about women today who have essentially been alone in their marriage.  Married but alone seems a contradiction in terms, yet it happens so frequently. 

In my personal experience in dealing with families, I have seen three types of “being alone” in a marriage: 

1.  Physically Alone – perhaps these husbands travel a lot or are in the military and are gone.  My husband was active-duty military, so I understand that one.

2. Emotionally Alone – communication breaks down and there are no shared feelings, no support,  no warmth for each other

3.  Socially Alone – perhaps  no common interests or shared time is happening.

I certainly am not a marriage counselor and don’t propose to have an answer to this, but I can think of a few places I have seen other families start.

If you are in this situation, could you try – (and these are just my ideas, so please do take what resonates with you as again, I am not a marriage counselor!)

  • To attempt to have ten minutes a day where you sit down and talk about the day (and trying to talk about something more than the logistics of bills and where children need to go the next day!)  Would a Non Violent Communication Group help you both communicate better with each other? 
  • To have a date lunch with just the infant and leave the other children at home, or have a date after the children go to bed?  Or have a date early in the morning before the children wake up?
  • To find a shared, common interest?  What did you all do when you dated?  What did you like to do?  Could you do that again?
  • Counseling if you need a third party or a marriage tune-up?  I have mentioned before that the Imago therapists are seen as compatible with attachment parenting by Attachment Parenting International :   
  • Can you nurture yourself anyway, even if you are alone or lonely?  What would that look like for you?  If you know yourself and feel confident in yourself, that can only help your marriage.  That is something so very attractive! 
  • How is your spiritual journey?  Is that something you could work on as a couple?
  • How could you work as a cooperative team?
  • Could you love your spouse anyway through the way you treat him, by the things you do to put him ahead of you and would he respond to that?

Live big and love each other,



6 thoughts on “Married But Alone?

  1. Carrie,
    I discovered your blog this week and have spent HOURS reading back through the archives… you are a prolific writer! So many of your articles speak to me…. especially during this time in my life.

    Thanks for some good steps for reconnecting!

  2. I’ve been feeling a bit “alone” lately myself. Though it’s more about being an alone parent than an alone wife. Once our son is asleep, we’ll talk or watch a movie. But it’s been more about wanting a little assistance with the baby for a bit when he gets home so I can get a couple things done- either for all of us or for myself. Our son hasn’t been napping much with the heat wave we’ve been having, so I’ve been spending most of my time trying to take care of him, keep him cool, fed, entertained, etc. Laundry falls behind, the high chair is in need of a good cleaning, I’m ready to switch to compostable paper plates so we can reduce dishes, meals are whatever takes the shortest time & least heat, etc. But my husband comes home & has to work in the garden, or mow the lawn (we have a large yard), or spend time on the computer, etc. A few months ago it was reroofing the house- yes it saved money by doing it himself with a friend, but it took longer & meant less time spent together. Same with work- a big upgrade that meant I was a “single mom” for a while. And never time for me- which includes putting away lots of my “stuff” (books, notebooks, journals, editorial work, studies, etc) in storage or tossing, or just simply writing (I have about 10 novels in various states in desperate want of completion).

    I guess I just want to know if I am “single mom” with a visiting husband/dad or a parenting partner.

    Wow, just realized that was a bit of venting, but it feels better to “get it out” so to speak. 🙂 Sorry to bore anyone with it!

    Dandelion wishes,


  3. This post came at an appropriate time. I am physically alone much of the time. My husband works in NYC taking the 6:00am train in the morning and the 7:00pm train at night. He leaves at 5:30 well before our children are awake and comes home at 8:30, just in time to kiss them goodnight. Lately because of a vacancy in his department he gets home at 8:30, eats dinner and works from 9:00 to midnight at least doing the job of the person he is short. It can be hard. I hope the nighttime work is ending as he was finally able to hire someone who will take on this work. As far as our schedule goes, I don’t see that changing. Sometimes I feel like having a husband 24 hours a week is not enough for me or for the kids but it is how it has to be. Our weekends are filled with family time: swimming, dinners at the table, church, board games, movies. Our children are the focus of our weekends for the most part. We try very hard to do our family errands as quickly as possible. So thank you for the reminder that other spouses are often alone. I am grateful that our separation is just physical. Thankfully, our marriage is strong and can handle the separation.

  4. This is such good advice, good reminders…
    My husband is active duty also, and after two long deployments to Iraq, I wholeheartedly agree that it is simple steps like these that (re)build intimacy and companionship.
    May your words find their way into many hearts and homes where they can bless.
    ~Amy Danielle

  5. I fully understand the, what I call ” the married single” my husband of 16yrs works 12hrs continental shift work for 12 to 12 am or pm. he misses most holidays and I spend most of the time on my own.

    There are many things that we do to keep it together,

    1st when he is home and has a day off we make it a point that it’s about us ( thankfully our children are getting older and we are able to explain it to them)

    2nd there are a few rules that are in place, he can not work on Christmas or our birthdays. Other holidays are not that big of a deal to us, but Christmas and birthdays are the can not miss ones.

    3rd when he has to work he call regularly to check in to give me time to vent or give him a update on how the day was, also to say goodnight to the kids.

    Those are just a few tips that work for us

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