Sometimes we feel alone. We feel unheard, unloved, and uncared for. It’s a melancholy that we can’t put our finger on exactly; a hollowness in the heart—an emptiness that refuses to fill.
We know this feeling – it is no stranger. It’s been by our side for as long as we can remember, often in hiding, but surfacing more than we’d like.
Distracting ourselves through work, mission, spirituality, and love has always worked, but never solved our loneliness. It’s easy enough to ignore when we are a key player in a group project at work. Or part of our temple choir. Or captain of our local adult baseball team. Or husband and father of our family. Yet painful feelings are still there, coming to the surface and reminding us it’s still alive when we least expect it.
And while we would never point a finger at our coworkers or teammates for our feelings, there is one partner who often cannot escape blame – our spouse. Because in our mind, it is her responsibility for making our feelings of sadness go away. It must be so, because if she really loved me, if she really cared about me and treated me the way I need, I wouldn’t feel so alone. I have given her my heart, and she hasn’t given me hers in return. It must be her fault. 🙁
I have given her my heart, and she hasn’t given me hers in return. It must be her fault.
Sometimes this is true. But rarely. In most cases, our internal longing for connection started before we met her, and will follow us for the rest of our lives, to some degree. Modern psychologists may call this an “attachment issue.” Clergy may describe this as your soul’s yearning for G-d. And a disparaging friend may just call you “too needy.”
Whatever the source, one thing is for sure—your spouse is most likely not the problem. So we must be extra cautious not to make her pay the price. When we feel abandoned, we mustn’t alienate or criticize the woman who loves us—who has always loved us and shown us her love. This just pushes her away and intensifies your feelings of isolation.
Instead, we must lift the burden of your inner peace off your spouse’s shoulders, and empower you to find it yourself. This process alone opens your creative energy to find new ways to give yourself the love and acceptance you need. And, as so often happens with my clients, realize that you were missing nothing to begin with. It’s amazing to see men just “walk-away” from a lifetime of struggle once they accept that their pain was all in their own heart and mind, not based on anything real.
And we take it a step further. To seal the deal, we choose to show up more loving than before, more giving, accepting, patient, and present. This is a gift to her, and a reminder to us that our relationship is real, her love is real, and we have everything we need to be happy.