Married, lonely​ ​

Tuesday, January 26, 2016, is Spouses Day, a day set aside to celebrate and honour our spouses. It is a day when we should not only tell our spouses we appreciate them, but prove it.

Celebration of our spouses should actually be a daily and continuous activity, but this day is specially meant to draw attention to the need to appreciate our spouses. But how do you celebrate and appreciate your spouse in a marriage where either one or both spouses are lonely?

One challenge some married people contend with is loneliness. It comes in many forms​:​

We have grass widowhood.
This is when one spouse is temporarily unavailable. Temporary can range from a few days to years.

We also have lonely full time housewife.
Once the husband leaves for work, she gets lonely until he gets back, especially when there are no children to keep her busy.

But our concern today are couples living under one roof, probably sharing the same bed, yet there is a deep void in one or both spouses resulting in a lonely feeling. A marriage is bigger than the spouses who make up the union, but a lonely spouse does not feel this bigger entity not to talk of feeling like being part of it.In marriage, two people (male and female) come together to become one. Consequently, every spouse has a responsibility to make his/her other half whole. To achieve this, a spouse must make himself/herself an indispensable part of his/her spouse’s life so that the spouse’s life is incomplete without him/her. Your lives should be inextricably intertwined. That is the meaning of the illogical but mystical two persons becoming one. This is one of the most effective cures for loneliness in marriage.

The day your spouse’s life becomes 100 per cent complete and functional without you, know that your marriage is now a miwhu-miwhu (dying) marriage, in the departure hall preparatory for expiration.

Making yourself indispensable in your spouse’s life involves a lot of self-improvement. You must work on yourself daily to get better and complement your spouse better. If you are bronze today, strive to become silver, then gold. Nobody treats his/her gold any how; you keep it in a safe and special place. Be your spouse’s gold. No sensible person treats gold like some base metal.

Sex is vital in marriage, but it is not the most effective weapon to make yourself indispensable in the life of your spouse. Except for the intensely devoted and/or deeply religious spouses, many people easily seek sexual satisfaction outside their marriages. The number of unfaithful spouses is staggering. It all points to the painful reality that spouses do not have monopoly of sex even in spiritually-patented holy matrimony. Pirates abound.

The only spouses who are sexually indispensable to each other are those who live their marital vow of fidelity to the letter and the number is miserable. So as important as sex is in marriage, it is unlikely going to cure some marriages of loneliness. We have situations where spouses give themselves to each other without any feeling of intimacy or emotional bond. They just go through the motions. That is partly why any marriage where the raison d’être of the union is that one is male and the other female is doomed.

Some spouses just sit and think that the situation will improve or sort itself out. Life does not work that way. Things do not happen out of nothing. The only time that happened was at creation; even then, God spoke the world into existence. Every happy marriage is a product of hard work from both parties. Spouses must chip in their bit not once in a while, but always. A happy marriage has a life of its own and needs continuous nourishment like your body. Starve it over time and it will die. Now is the time to get cracking.

On this Spouses Day, I encourage married people to kick out loneliness from their marriages as a Spouses Day gift. The starting point is to find out the reasons for the loneliness in your marriage. Does your spouse want more compliments and affirmation; give it to her/him. Have you grown apart over time, find common ground and the sparkles that ignited your union at the beginning. Ab initio, you should be friends, but if there was no friendship at the beginning, you can build it gradually. Friendship is a good ingredient for a happy and fulfilling marriage. You cannot be lonely when you are with your friend.

In all these, communication is essential; it is the livewire of every happy marriage. Communication, especially when empathic, breaks barriers, builds bridges, clears the air, repairs damaged relationships and opens your eyes to areas you never thought of or hitherto ignored.

All these efforts require adjustments and sacrifices, also important ingredients of marriage. I am yet to see any happy marriage where there are no sacrifices and adjustments.

Running from your problems does not solve them.

I have seen lonely spouses devoting all their attention to their children. Children certainly need your time, but do not use them to cover your marital problems. Some bury themselves in work. When you are done with work, your problems will be waiting for you. Some find refuge in friends, but friends are no substitute for a spouse. In an attempt to take refuge in friends, some have been exploited by friends of the opposite sex and later end up being more depressed and lonely or feeling used and cheap.

I always advocate that couples should sort out their problems within, but if the issues to be resolved are beyond you, get help from sources that can add value. There are therapists, marriage counselors and marriage sponsors, but always guard against people with ulterior interest who will exacerbate your situation. With your spouse, take action and cure yourself and your marriage of loneliness.

Happy Spouses Day in advance.

By Francis Ewherido​ ​JAN 23, 2016​ (​HTTP://WWW.VANGUARDNGR.COM/2016/01/MARRIED-LONELY/​)​

About Kemi Odutayo

‘Kemi Odutayo, a graduate of University of Lagos, Nigeria is a Practitioner of NLP, a blogger, an author, a counselor and a media consultant. She is the Head of Operations, Me4 Communications, a publishing, marketing and communications outfit specializing in publishing books/eBooks, managing and offering training for social media accounts for individuals and organizations. Kemi and her husband of many years, Kayode Odutayo have a beautiful family blessed with three lovely children.