By Tamara and Lawrence Glasner
I think we all might feel “isolated” at one time or another. Misunderstandings lead to feeling unheard and alone. Sometimes, we consciously or unconsciously leave our partner out, out of our activities, out of our other friendships, and out of our daily lives. We don’t tell them what happened at work. We don’t include them in our leisure activities. We spend our lives completely isolated from one another, living separate lives, side by side. This separation can build up over the years or it can come swiftly after an argument when there is not an adequate apology or forgiveness.
No matter where you are as a couple on the isolation spectrum, there is hope for greater unity and joy in connection.
We’ve had to work on our communication skills over the years, and we can honestly say that we’ve developed tools that help us understand one another better. These include speaking slowly and thoughtfully, listening, and learning how to read one another’s non-verbal cues. None of these skills appeared overnight. Each one was forged in the fires of conflict that threaten every relationship.
These are our unspoken rules for dealing with isolation in our marriage and family quickly before it gets out of hand:
- We speak up when we feel “left out” or “not heard” line. This takes an element of bravery, but it can save your relationship.
- Without fighting or being offended by the conversation, we let each other voice their need for more understanding and closeness in the area of the pain.
- It is unacceptable for anyone in the family to gang up on anyone else. It’s one thing to feel isolated because of a disagreement between a married couple who are committed to getting things back together ASAP. It’s another thing to feel like the odd man out within the family setting. We all need to feel VALUED!
Our minds can go crazy playing out the most negative scenarios and that becomes a huge open door to the feeling of isolation. The truth is, many times our family has no idea how much they may have hurt us (and vice versa). True, honest conversation with a healthy dose of humility is the way to quickly remedy the situation and bring your house back to wholehearted trust and a feeling of belonging. It is helpful to pay attention to your thoughts immediately after a conflict or hurt. Remind yourself what you know to be true of your spouse or family member. We’ve discovered that, more often than not, our thoughts and judgments are the root of the pain, not the actual situation. Thinking the best of one another will always bring about a healthier resolution than thinking the worst!
We have been married over 37 years, and we can honestly say that it is getting better and better. We are happier now than ever before and love each other more than ever before.
At the end of the day, we are all God’s creation and He treasures us, whether or not anyone else does. He is faithful to love us and claim us as his own if we will turn to Him and let Him love and care for us, especially in the most vulnerable places of our hearts. This is a terrific example of how we are to treat each other. If something has driven a wedge between you and your spouse, or you and your family, and you need to get back to a place of feeling safe and valued, say a quick prayer to God and he will be there to assist. I KNOW. I’ve been here. In the meantime, remember that God gave you your spouse and your family so that you and they would not be alone. As such, start the journey of living “together,” as God intended, today.