Caution and Comfort for the Lonely Wife
Whichever lonely wife you think of, she is only one of many. Guy Winch, Ph.D., psychologist and author of the Squeaky Wheel states (2013) that in a recent study of older adults, 62.5% of them reported being lonely while being married or living with a partner. The study included both genders, but the wife is more likely to admit feeling disconnected and lonely. This is an attempt to caution and to comfort her.
It is not difficult for the lonely wife to be seduced into exploits she might later regret. The first mistake is to settle into the deprivation of her marriage rights, instead of requiring them from her husband. Those rights include, but are not limited to:
- Physical Presence
- Emotional Support
- Satisfying Social Posture
- Financial Partnership
- Spiritual Commitment
1. Physical Presence
Marriage is among other things, a physical togetherness. An unreasonable husband may think that if his wife does not request his presence, she does not require it. Meanwhile, because she does not want to seem demanding, she settles for shopping, eating, watching movies and going to bed alone. Why bother the man who refuses to spend time with her?
Actually, it is wise for her to initiate a conversation. According to Jack Ito, Relationship Specialist, “The lonely wife, who doesn’t say anything for fear of feeling rejected, unwittingly makes her husband feel rejected in the process.” This is not to blame her, but to suggest that his absence may be the symptom of his other personal issues.
To confess that she is lonely is a safer alternative than posting a profile on the LonelyWives website. The solution to loneliness is not about finding substitutes; it is about taking the direct route to the heart of the matter. There is also the advantage of feeding the husband’s need to feel wanted. The pain of the confession may be well worth the effort of dealing with the problem and the pleasure of finding the solution.
2. Emotional Support
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Sometimes the husband is physically present, but shares no emotional connection. Just suppose that the lonely wife yields to the temptation of online companionship; or she agrees for his best friend to check on her when she is alone. The friend feeds her craving for attention; she responds by exposing her inmost thoughts and desires. She begins to feel worthy and desirable.
Eventually, the substitute emotional support becomes a trade-off—an exchange of one problem for another:
- She trades distraction from feelings of neglect, for the fear that the new relationship will get out of hand;
- She trades excitement about the new relationship, for doubt that it will last;
- She trades assurance that the "friend" cares, for the worry that it may not remain a secret;
- She trades satisfying conversation, for the anxiety that her husband will show up at the wrong time.
With all the emotional investment already poured into the marriage; this kind of exchange equals Eve’s trade off in the garden of Eden—a bite of one fruit, for the loss of an entire orchard. There is no profit in her losing what she has, even if she does not benefit from it presently. There is joy and comfort in redeeming what is already hers.
3. Satisfying Social Posture
Social posture is very important to the woman. That is the reason a discreet, lonely wife is not willing to be seen in public with the man who offers her forbidden friendship. She wants to maintain the image of a happy, dutiful wife.
She rides to church with her husband when he is available, or to any social function to which the couple is invited. Their conversation on the way is minimal, but their smiles when they arrive are as much as can be expected.
This kind of hypocrisy can push her into an avoidance-avoidance conflict—to choose between losing a broken marriage and hanging on to an illicit friendship. The most important decision for her is to determine what she really wants and deserves. What steps can she take to build a satisfying social posture, first for herself, then for her relationship? If she decides to stay in the marriage, the next step is to fix it, with help if necessary.
4. Financial Partnership
Sometimes a lonely wife does unusual things to gain her husband’s attention. She might be tempted to spend money excessively, max out the credit card, enjoy a luxurious spa treatment instead of paying the utility bills.
It is easy when the relationship is rocky, to forget that she is in a partnership. Hurting her husband’s finances hurts her. It hurts their ability to help the children and other relatives who may need assistance. She could be embarrassed when she realizes that they cannot meet family obligations because of her irresponsibility.
Just as embarrassing is the situation is which she confides in her special friend about her lack of finances. If he helps her, he begins to visualize replacing her husband. If he refuses, he reveals that his intention is not to replace her husband. Either way, he underscores that her vulnerability is safer when placed with her husband. She can never go wrong waiting up to have that conversation.
- Married ... but Lonely | Today's Christian Woman
It doesn't have to stay that way. Try these ideas to bring your spouse closer.
- Lonely Wife: Solutions for a Failing Marriage
When I get a chance to talk with their husbands in couple’s coaching, their husbands are often stunned to find out their wives were feeling lonely.
5. Spiritual Commitment
Every human problem needs supernatural help. Whether or not there was a religious ceremony to begin the marriage, prayer and mediation can help bring the solution to the problem. God's promise never to leave nor forsake us, also applies to marriage. That's comforting.
The lonely wife's first prayer should be for herself: that God enables her to look at the situation with the right attitude, with sensitivity, patience and an open mind to His solution. If she realizes the need to make some changes in herself, she will do it.
Confronting her husband with the right attitude will make him more responsive. Counsel is more effective if she and her husband attach significance to the spiritual commitment they made to each other.
No two cases are exactly alike, but with divine help she will make the right choices, do the right thing and obtain the best results.
© 2013 Dora Isaac Weithers
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