When your spouse feels more like your roommate
Maybe you’re not sure how or when it happened: The person you’d been so very in towhile dating morphed into … not much more than a roommate.
How can you deal?
1. Get intentional about same-gender community.
Isolation leaves us vulnerable. Even in a healthy marriage, your spouse shouldn’t be your sole source of authentic friendship.
Go one step beyond your comfort level in openness with friends, “for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25).
2. With your spouse, eliminate some of the mind-reading and unspoken, unagreed-upon expectations.
It’s so easy to think, If he or she really cared, they’d ___. But our “normal” and what comes easy for us may not be normal or easy for a spouse—even if they’ve done it before. Take 100% responsibility for your contributions to communication issues.
3. Be willing to redraw expectations.
It can be incredibly painful to lay down hopes for a marriage. But at times, we’ve set our hopes on an image beyond what our spouse can reasonably fulfill.
This is still a loss! Yet it can be freeing to choose the spouse given to you by God rather than the one your heart demands.
4. If you’ve been burned by your spouse not asking, not listening, misunderstanding, or delivering that blank/token/judgmental/unemotional response, don’t give up altogether.
On earth, Jesus surrounded Himself with faulty, often faithless human beings—and continued to love them well. In a more extreme example: Judas was among Jesus’ 12 disciples. He wasn’t part of Jesus’ inner circle (James, John, and Peter), but Jesus didn’t self-protectively shut him out.
(Are there times, particularly in abusive or dysfunctional relationships, when self-protection is necessary in marriage? Absolutely.)
5. Be wise, yet courageous in vulnerability.
If you’re in a safe marriage, courage and even forgiveness may be in order as you press yourself to trust another human. (It’s impossible to selectively hold part of yourself back—like your pain—without restraining other parts of yourself—like happiness.)
But God has also given you wisdom to know when a person is not trustworthy. Ask Him for discernment.
6. Turn to the Heart-Changer.
Pray that God would transform your spouse—and expose the log in your own eye.
The creatures worshipping at God’s throne in Revelationhave eyes everywhere, including beneath their wings. God sees us as we shelter beneath His care.
Ask for great perseverance, for patience as His plan unfolds … even if it takes a lifetime.
If you’ve drifted apart, there is hope for finding your way back to each other again. Read “9 Steps to Defeat Isolation in Your Marriage.”
The good stuff: Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. … But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. (Psalm 73:25, 28)
Action points: Ask God for wisdom and courage to know how to honestly assess your marriage and best love your spouse. You might consult a trusted friend or counselor for next steps.
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