Isolation or Loneliness

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Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
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Scriptures
Hope
Help
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Conversations
Starters
    • Has it always felt lonely in your marriage? Can you tell me about a time when you felt close? What was different then?
    • Have you taken time lately to share your true feelings with your spouse? Are you developing friendships with other couples?
    • Are you in a good local church?
    • Do you pray with your spouse every day?
    • What one simple thing could you personally do to increase the amount of time you as a couple spend together?
    • In what ways do you see your spouse trying to connect with you—even if it isn’t exactly what you want?
    • Do you and your spouse participate in some sport, hobby, or other shared activity together?
    • Do you cast your cares on God during times of extreme loneliness? (I Peter 5:7)
    • Do you ever try to “speak the truth in love” to your spouse (Ephesians 4:15) about your feelings of loneliness? How does that conversation usually turn out?
Deeper Questions
    • What do you believe captures your spouse’s attention instead of you?
    • Are you connected to any other couples who can hold you accountable for growing in this area of marriage?
    • Is there an area of bitterness from anything you are harboring which is causing the isolation?
    • Would you consider voicing your concerns and giving your spouse another opportunity to seek forgiveness?
    • Do you think your spouse is harboring bitterness for something you may have done? Are you open to seeking forgiveness?
    • How do you think God wants you to handle bitterness or anger in marriage?
    • Can you surrender to God’s plan even if it means you will need to take responsibility and confess first?
    • What do you think could bring joy and completeness in your life even if your spouse refuses to draw near to you for now?
    • What is one step you can take in the right direction and how can I help you do that?
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Resources
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
  • Groundwire Online help for teens, specializing in crisis situations like cutting, suicide, drug use, etc.
Books
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Encouragement
Quotes
  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Rekindling the Romance, p. 53

    “We learned that sacrifice is the language of romance, and selfishness is the language of isolation and rejection. Commitment inspires one to sacrifice, and sacrifice makes commitment a rare jewel to be cherished.”

  • - Chip Ingram, Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships, p. 142

    “God’s plan for you, whether you’re married, single, or about to be married, unless He gives you the gift of singleness, is to be in a warm, loving marriage relationship, characterized by open communication, a lot of hard work, deep commitment, setting boundaries, and doing it God’s way.”

  • - Robert Lewis, Rocking the Roles, p. 79

    “Most men are not necessarily unwilling to meet their wife’s needs; they simply are unaware of what those needs really are.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Two Hearts Praying as One, p. 43

    “Because Satan understands the power unleashed when two become one and join forces to call upon God, he will strategize to keep you from praying together.  He wants to divide you, isolate you from one another, and have you thinking unkind thoughts about your spouse.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, p. 120

    “Frustration is the by-product of attempting to fulfill responsibilities God does not intend for us to carry. Freedom, joy, and fruitfulness come from seeking to determine God’s priorities for each season of life, and then setting out to fulfill those priorities, in the power of His Spirit, realizing that He has provided the necessary time and abilities to do everything that He has called us to do.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, p. 195

    “Due to our fallen condition, our feelings often have very little to do with reality. In many instances, feelings are simply not a reliable gauge of what is actually true. When we allow them to be tied to our circumstances‐‐which are constantly changing‐‐rather than to the unchangeable realities of God and His Truth, our emotions are prone to fluctuate wildly.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, p. 86

    “There is no man on the face of this earth who can satisfy the deepest longings of a woman’s heart‐‐God has made us in such a way that we can never be truly satisfied with anything or anyone less than Himself (Psalm 16:11; 34:8‐10).”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 96

    “Behind virtually every case of marital dissatisfaction lies unrepented sin. Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Staying Close, p. 5

    “Isolation is like a terminal virus that invades your marriage, silently, slowly, and painlessly at first. By the time you become aware of its insidious effects, it can be too late. Your marriage can be crippled by boredom and apathy, and even die from emotional malnutrition and neglect.”

  • - Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Wife, p. 71

    “Many people, even godly men and women, live in marriages that are dead because there is no affection. And women endure it because their husbands are good in other ways, or they don’t feel worthy enough to ask for affection. But this is not the way God designed the marital relationship. … If you are in a marriage that lacks it, pray for the Holy Spirit’s transformation.”

  • - Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect, p. 137

    “When a wife believes there is a problem, when she feels hurt, lonely, or neglected, she definitely has no interest in responding sexually. When her spirit is crushed, her body is unavailable.”

  • - Emerson Eggerichs, Motivating Your Man God’s Way, p. 30

    “Most wives have little idea the depth of painful feelings men have when disrespected. Men don’t display a crushed countenance and begin to cry. Instead, they get angry, go silent and withdraw. Or they attack with words of disrespect, seeking to equalize things. This goes over the heads of most wives. Instead, these women feel even more unloved.”

  • - Jayne V. Clark, Loneliness, p. 3

    “It’s easy to think surely a spouse is the answer. But guess what? Married people get lonely too … Whatever the reasons, the reality is that marriage has fallen far short of their dreams. They’re lonelier now than they ever were.”

  • - Tim and Joy Downs, Fight Fair!, p. 132

    “The name we give to something shapes our attitude toward it’.”

  • - Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Staying Close, p. 241

    “Forgiveness is costly, but to refuse to forgive costs even more. As someone said, ‘The longer you carry a grudge, the heavier it gets.’ And, I might add, the lonelier it gets.”

  • - Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect, p. 222

    “I often hear many wives complain that their husbands are too disconnected and passive on family matters. But why is he passive? Quite likely in the past, every time he tried to step up to the plate, she had a better idea. After a while, he just let her have her way.”

  • - Fred Stoeker, Every Heart Restored, p. 88

    “While it may seem bizarre and shallow to women, we men can honestly think that if we’re happy, our wives are happy, and we won’t know otherwise unless you say something.”

  • - Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage, p. 60

    “Many of the marital problems we face are not problems between individual couples—Jim and Susan, Mark and Diane, or Rob and Jill. They are the problems between men, generally, and women, generally. They are problems that arise because we are either too lazy or too selfish to get to know our spouse well enough to understand how different from us they really are.”

Next Steps
    • Luke 18:27 reminds us that things that seem impossible to us are possible with God.  Pray and talk to God about the seemingly impossible situation in your life right now.
    • Put your thoughts down on paper or in a journal to help diffuse the strong emotions.
    • Pray every day with your spouse, even if it’s just for a moment or two. If he/she doesn’t want to pray with you, pray for them. If you’re not married, pray for a good friend to share life with that you can connect with on a spiritual level.
    • Don’t be tempted to settle for isolation in your marriage, but to do the hard work of moving toward one another.  If you’re not married, seek to build friendships that lessen the isolation. Think of something you could initiate today that would build a bridge in that direction.
    • Read the online article Nine Steps to Defeat Isolation in Your Marriage and
      determine to do one of them.
    • Remember that God has a plan for oneness in marriage and that He provides the power to make it happen. Ask Him to fill you with that wisdom and power.
    • Meditate on Philippians 4:6-8, and then make a list of the positive things about your spouse (or a good friend if you’re not married).
    • You be the one to break the silence and move closer, take the risk! Resist the temptation to give your spouse the silent treatment.
    • You cannot control your spouse; only God can do that.  Consider areas that you may be trying to monitor that are really God’s responsibility and are beyond your control.
    • Consider attending a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage getaway with your spouse.
    • Remember that love is action, not feelings.  Read and ponder 1 Corinthians 3:4-7.
    • Your spouse is not your enemy.  Read “Treat your spouse like a customer” for insight.
    • Selfishness is often the language of isolation and rejection while sacrifice is the language of romance.  Make a list of ways you are selfish and ways you are sacrificial. Which list is longer?
    • Ask your spouse for one need he/she has that you could meet today.
    • Think kind thoughts about your spouse.
    • Take some time to think and pray about your feelings.  Are you putting more stock in how you feel about your circumstances than in the unchangeable realities of God and His truth?
    • Reflect on Psalm 16:11 and remember that we can never be truly satisfied with anything or anyone less than God Himself.
    • You are either nourishing or neglecting your marriage.  Think about ways you have been neglecting your marriage and how you can begin to nourish it in some way today.
    • Be sure you are involved in a local Bible-believing church.  Consider attending HomeBuilders small group study for growth, encouragement and accountability.
    • Read and mediate on Psalm 1, and make note of the things you should do and should not do that are characteristic of a person who delights in God’s Word.