Jade and Scott recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. As Jade thought about the early years of their marriage, she wished she could relive them.
These days she and Scott seem to drift apart and having more arguments. When Jade comes home from work and tries to connect, Scott shuts her out. He is either busy scrolling on his phone, watching TV, or doesn’t feel like talking.
When they do talk, it’s superficial… How are you… fine… ok…what’s for dinner?
Jade feels a growing sense of discontent, loneliness, and disconnection with her husband. She feels they are living more like roommates than a married couple.
Can you relate? Do you long for a deeper connection in your marriage?
What Causes Loss of Connection in Christian Marriage?
The marriage relationship flows and ebbs in a way that mirrors the different seasons of life. Loss of connection in a Christian marriage can happen for various reasons. Most often, when couples are busy and distracted, they fail to make their relationship a priority. You may go through periods of disconnection when raising young children, building your career or business, or going back to school.
Living parallel lives for so long may make it feel like you are married to a stranger. Feeling lonely and disconnected in a marriage is a sign that you and your spouse need to work on your relationship.
What Should you do about Feeling Disconnected in Your Christian Marriage?
There is no perfect marriage because there are no perfect couples. If you feel lonely in your marriage, it may be tempting to numb these by turning to other things. But deep emotional, physical, spiritual, and intimate connections will happen with your spouse as you intentionally look for opportunities to connect in meaningful ways throughout the day.
Most of the time, couples rely on big events like anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and date nights to connect with their spouses. But these events are not enough to sustain a meaningful connection over time.
According to Dr. John Gottman, the small moments of everyday life enhance connection in a marriage relationship. It is the small loving actions that foster deeper emotional connection, trust, and intimacy in marriage. To develop trust, you must be aware of opportunities to connect with your spouse and respond (turn toward).
How does Turning Toward Your Spouse Improve Your Connection?
It begins with noticing and being attentive to your spouse. Dr. Gottman shared a story to illustrate what this looks like. One evening, he planned to finish reading a novel in bed, but he noticed his wife looked sad when he went to the bathroom. Dr. Gottman had a choice to finish reading his book or seize the moment as an opportunity to connect with his wife. He went into the bathroom and asked, what’s the matter, baby?
At that moment, Dr. Gottman’s actions showed he cared about his wife’s feelings and about building trust. He was there for her rather than choosing to think only about himself and what he wanted.
One moment like this is not enough. Your spouse’s invitations for a connection could be big, small, verbal, or nonverbal. If you always choose to turn away from their invitation, you will erode trust over time in your marriage.
Hannah and Elkanah are a couple in the Bible that show this principle of “turning toward your spouse.”
Elkanah loved Hannah dearly, even though she was barren. One year, the family went to Shiloh to worship. But Hannah was sad. When Elkanah noticed Hannah crying, he had a choice.
He could turn away and focus on his own agenda and say, I’m going to tend the sheep or something like that. Or he could roll his eyes and say, not again! I don’t have time for her sadness.
Instead, Elkanah turned toward his wife and provided understanding, comfort, and emotional connection. 1 Samuel 1: 7-8
Perhaps you, too, don’t feel connected in your marriage. Maybe you are saying,
I don’t feel connected.
I am unhappy in my marriage.
I feel my spouse doesn’t understand me.
You are not alone. God sees your heart and your longings. God longs to heal your marriage and restore your connection with your spouse
When you trust Him with your desires, He will help you reconnect with your spouse.
To deepen the connection in your marriage, ask God to help you discover the reasons for the disconnection and release you from negative emotions and dysfunctional ways of interacting. Pray and ask Him to heal your relationship so you and your spouse can experience deeper connection, love, and abiding peace.
7 Sustainable Ways to Build Meaningful Connection, Trust, and Intimacy in Christian marriage.
To develop trust, these 7 meaningful ways and scriptures will help you nurture and deepen your emotional, spiritual, and physical connection with your spouse.
1) Become More Aware. Ask God to help you see tiny moments as opportunities to turn toward your spouse. For example, when my husband comes home from work and shares about his day… I see it as an invitation to connect.
We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. Romans 15:1-2.
2) Speak the Truth in Love. Be kind and gentle with your words. Even if you feel hurt, always remember you are a team, and your intention is to stay connected and kind. If the conversations get heated, it’s ok to take a break and come back later.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1.
3) Love and Respect Each Other. Some meaningful ways to connect that show love and respect could include a quick call to check in during the day, a thoughtful text message such as, “thinking about you. Hope your day is going well.” Or you could leave a note of encouragement in your spouse’s lunch box or offer to help with chores.
So again, I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33.
4) Extend Grace and Seek to Understand. Each person comes into the marriage with their own baggage from the past. Understanding and extending grace is essential if you want to deepen your connection.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32.
5) Caring Conversations. Staying curious, asking thoughtful questions, and sharing your thoughts can help uncover the underlying reasons for disconnection in your marriage. You could do this 10-15 minutes daily. Caring conversations that include meaningful moments or highlights of the day can uncover struggles with pride, selfishness, problems at work, or unresolved issues from childhood. And this can lead you and your spouse to seek wise counsel or professional help.
Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. Proverbs 13:10.
6) Clothe Yourselves with Love. Love is cultivated in the little moments of everyday life. Be mindful of each other’s emotional needs, and don’t take daily interactions for granted.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14.
7) Be a Fountain of Blessing. Catch your spouse doing something good and compliment them for it. Instead of critiquing your spouse, find something you cherish about them. A show of affection such as a hug, kiss, gentle touch, time together, and prayer can be a fountain of blessing for your spouse.
Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. Proverbs 5:18-19.
Whether your marriage has been for 1, 5, 10, 20, or more years, developing a deeper connection is a work in progress.
I understand what it feels like to be disconnected in marriage and no longer take it for granted. When my husband is home, I appreciate it when he wakes up early and makes coffee for me.
Nurturing a deeper connection in your marriage builds trust and intimacy. Emotional connection is the lubricant that keeps the engine of your marriage running smoothly, just like the engine oil in a car.
How do you encourage deeper connection in your marriage? Let me know in the comments.
Prayer for You and Your spouse
As you trust God and honor His plans for your marriage, may you be captivated by each other’s love and be a fountain of blessing to each other. In Jesus Name. Amen.
PS: In addition to prayer, Seek Professional help if you need it.
You may also be interested in Healing Conversations in Marriage and How to Cultivating Joy in Marriage.
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