Isolation and 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
  • Philippians 4:6-8 (The peace of God will guard your heart and your mind.)
  • Joel 2:25 (The Lord can restore years the locust has eaten.)
  • Matthew 11:28-30 (In Christ you will find rest for your soul.)
  • Hebrews 13:5-6 (The Lord is your helper.)
  • Psalm 23 (He leads you beside still waters, restores your soul, comforts you.)
  • Isaiah 26:3 (Those who fix their thoughts on God will have peace.)
  • 1 Peter 5:7 (Cast your anxiety on Him for He cares for you.)
Help
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Conversations
Starters
    For those whose spouses are deployed:
    • Tell me about yourself and your marriage.  How long have you been married and (on a scale from 1-10, 10 being AWESOME) how would you describe your relationship?
    • Is this a first marriage for you both? Number and ages of your children?
    • How long has your spouse been deployed? If he/she is deployed, how much longer will he/she be away from home?
    • If you could pick one issue that you most want resolved in your marriage, what would it be? How would your spouse answer that question?
    • How well are you able to communicate about the deeper issues of life and marriage?  How is that different from communication before deployment?
    • Are you able to get together with others whose spouses are deployed? What level and frequency of support do you have with spouses who are in similar situations?
    • How connected are you to a church family in terms of worship, activities and service opportunities?
    • Who do you have a Christian friend (same sex) to talk to and share with, someone who can encourage and support you? How often do you get together?
    • What do you do with your free time?
    • How often do you share with God the concerns you have for yourself and your family?

    For those whose spouses have extended duty:
    • When did your spouse begin extended duty and what difference has that change made in your marriage and family?
    • How would you characterize your marriage in general?  Is it strong, on shaky ground or somewhere in-between?
    • How do you think your spouse views your marriage?
    • To what degree does your spouse know how you feel?  How open have you been with your spouse about this particular issue?  What has been the outcome of those conversations?
    • How connected are you to a local church family? Describe your frequency of attendance for worship, Bible studies, activities and any service on your part.
    • Think about your three closest friends (couples). How free are you to share details of issues that you are facing in your life with any of them? Who do you know that you can go to with anything that concerns you?
    • When you spend time as a couple, what kinds of activities do you enjoy together?  What are things you have in common?
    • If you were spending quality time alone as a couple, what does that look like to each of you?  What would you do?  Are you in agreement?
Deeper Questions
    For those whose spouses are deployed:
    • When your spouse is deployed, how often do you feel lonely or isolated? When do these feelings typically occur?
    • How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed by loneliness?
    • Tell me about your daily routine.  How well are you managing to keep the household running?  Are you taking care of yourself and your children by getting plenty of sleep and eating proper meals? What areas do you know you need to improve on?
    • Do your feelings of isolation and loneliness stem from being separated or did you have some of these same issues before deployment?  Could there be something else adding to these feelings?
    • What can each of you do to limit sexual temptations from causing infidelity in your marriage?
    • Who do you have to hold you accountable for your actions during deployments or periods of isolation?  How honest have you been with them?
    • How do you think God would want you to respond in these circumstances?

    For those whose spouses have extended duty:
    • Consider the possibility there is may be more to your loneliness and isolation than just the fact your spouse has extended duty.  Can you remember when you began to feel isolated and lonely?  Was it connected to anything besides the longer hours?
    • Is the current assignment/extended duty temporary or is there an end in sight?
    • Do you know how your spouse feels about the current assignment and the long hours away from home and family?
    • What are your feelings about your spouse, the assignment and the extended duty?  Have you shared this with your spouse in a loving manner?  How does your spouse respond to this?
    • Are you harboring any bitterness regarding this situation?  Are you open to confessing this bitterness to your spouse and then asking for your spouse’s forgiveness as well as the Lord’s?
    • Who do you know (another couple) that can help you both through this season of your lives?  Is there someone who has had a similar life experience?
    • What have you done to help alleviate your feelings of loneliness and isolation?  How can I come alongside to help?
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Resources
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
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.”

  • - 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.”

  • - 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.”

  • - 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.”

  • - 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.”

  • - Penny Monetti, Called to Serve. Encouragement, Support, and Inspiration for Military Families, Part I

    “Trusting God offered no guarantee that my husband would come home safely or that life would return to ‘normal,’ but I learned that I didn’t walk alone.  God cared about my daily challenges.”

  • - Beatrice Fishback, Loving Your Military Man, p.44

    “Honor and respect go hand-in-hand in demonstrating that we support our husbands.  Honoring them shows we support what they do and who they want to become.  A woman who honors her husband totally accepts who he is, created by God, for her.”

  • - Linda Montgomery, Danger—Infatuation! www.excellentorpraiseworthy.org

    “Love is a beautiful thing, but it is something you give and share on an intimate level only with your spouse.  Flirtation may seem fun at the time, and harmless…but beware!  Satan would love to fuel those feelings into a fire of emotions which could end up burning down your home!”

Next Steps
    • You are to be commended for recognizing your loneliness and isolation and for seeking help.
    • Pray and ask the Lord to guide you through these difficult times.  Ask the Lord to free you of any resentment and bitterness you may be harboring.
    • Share your feelings with your spouse, being open and transparent yet speaking the truth in love.
    • Attend a Bible-believing church regularly and get involved in a bible study.
    • If you are a mother, join a play group and make a point of befriending others whose spouses are deployed and reach out to them.
    • Explore other opportunities to interact with people in a healthy manner.  Initiate.
    • Set a daily schedule/routine and stick with it as much as possible.
    • Set goals to work toward during the course of the deployment.  You could do this together as a couple and hold each other accountable.
    • Do some volunteer work either at church or for a local charity.  Get your children involved, too.
    • Choose one of the books or online articles.  Read it and then we’ll discuss it.
    • Think of one thing you could do to help your children who are struggling with the separation.
    • Plan to attend a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember getaway when your spouse returns from deployment.

    If your spouse has extended duty,

    • What is one step could you take today toward bridging the gap that has developed between you and your mate?
    • Plan a date night with your spouse well in advance and organize a sitter.
    • Pack your spouse a delicious lunch with a note inside expressing your love and respect.
    • Support your spouse and don’t be angry with him/her for doing his/her job.
    •  Keep in mind that your spouse is not your enemy!
    • If you are a woman, read Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas, particularly chapters 12-13: Helping Your Husband to Become More Involved at Home and How to Help Your Man Put Family First.
    • Remember that the Lord loves you, and He is the author of marriage.  He also knows that your spouse cannot meet all of your needs.  You can rely on God for comfort and strength during these hard times.  Reach out to others in the body of Christ.
    • Ask your spouse, “What things would you like me to do that I’m not doing?”
    • Ask God to help you be a better spouse, a better friend and a better parent.  What is one thing you could do in each of these areas to improve your relationships?
    • Spend more time asking about your spouse’s day than complaining about yours.
    • Focus on being in a good mood when your spouse comes home from work.
    • If you want your spouse to move toward you, ask yourself how you are moving toward your spouse.
    • How could you make your spouse’s life more enjoyable?
    • How can I help you get started in working through these feelings of loneliness and isolation?