By Glenda Lesher

Remember the 60’s hit Only the Lonely, by Roy Orbison?  The message of the lyrics was that of a jilted lover whose hopes were pinned on a new romance to relieve his loneliness.  A beautiful and haunting melody, yes, but it gives the false hope that loneliness can be cured by another person.

Loneliness is a dilemma faced by many people, not just those without a spouse or love interest.  Marriage is not an anti-loneliness pill.  As a mentor, some of the loneliest people I hear from are those in unequally yoked marriages.

In the booklet, Loneliness, counselor Jayne Clark writes, “Circumstances vary, but the feelings are similar.  We feel isolated, vulnerable, and alone…We want to be known and understood; we don’t want to feel invisible.  We want to be included and cared about.  We desire intimacy.”

My own battle with loneliness started as a child.  It was difficult to make new friends or maintain them when my family moved every year or two.  Marriage didn’t help either. Neither of us knew the Lord or had a clue what marriage should be. It ended painfully after only three years.

Things changed once I became a Christian.  Because the feeling of aloneness has been passed on to all generations since the Fall, there is only one remedy: reconciliation with the Father through Jesus Christ.  Psalm 68:6 says “God makes a home for the lonely,” and my heart was now His home.  He didn’t stop there.  The blessings of a church home, a Christian husband, and family followed.

Even in Christian marriages, though, we have to guard against isolating ourselves from each other.  In Dennis Rainey’s article, Are You Playing Hide and Seek in Your Marriage?, Dennis writes about the isolation that can occur when a husband and a wife drift apart after years of poor communication, self-absorbed lives, and concealment or “hiding.”  Dennis recommends building bridges of understanding, forgiving one another, and praying together as a couple.  Standing together, a couple can defeat the real enemy – Satan.

My husband and I couldn’t be more different.  He’s a morning person, I’m an evening person.  He’s a talker; I’m a reader and a writer.  My family was warm and affectionate; his wasn’t.  There were times in our marriage we pulled apart from one another rather than together and that caused isolation.  If there had not been drastic changes, we might have ended up as another divorce statistic, but we didn’t want that.  Before we even knew about FamilyLife, we followed the same game plan they recommend and recommitted to have a healthy, godly, and enduring marriage.

Remember the words of Jesus, “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in Heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50, NASB).  Loneliness won’t be completely eliminated until Heaven, but being in His family is the place to start.