One of the more common complaints I hear from spouses is when one of the partners in the marriage talks about being alone in the marriage. These lonely spouses perceive a seemingly invisible barrier between them. It’s a level of communication they cannot change.
The deepest and most intimate component in your marriage is uniquely spiritual. While many couples can disconnect in different ways, there is one way that is non-negotiable if your intent is to love like Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:25-33). That missing component is an intimate “three-person” dynamic between the husband, wife, and God. I’m not necessarily talking about praying together, going to church, reading the Bible, or other “churchy” things. Some spouses respond to this spiritual disconnect by saying something like,
We talk about God. We pray together. We talk about church. Shoot, we go to church. Our kids are involved in the ministries of the church; we are active churchgoers. I attend the weekly men’s meeting, and my wife leads her Bible study. It’s not that we don’t love God or each other.
What I’m talking about is not necessarily what a couple or family is doing in their church, with their church, or for their church. Some of the busiest church people can be some of the most discontented people in their marriages.
The biblical term for what is lacking in this kind of marriage is koinonia, which is where we get our word communication, community, participation, or fellowship. Koinonia is a “three-person community” that represents the deepest possible intimacy a man and woman can experience in their marriage.
True koinonia can only happen in your marriage when you are sharing your full experience with God–the good and the bad of it–with your spouse, and your spouse is sharing their full experience of God with you. That is a real community. It is a free-flowing, dynamic relationship without interruption or hindrance.
Koinonia will not happen if either one of you is unwilling to be transparent, honest, open, mature, humble, vulnerable, and intentional with each other. If those character qualities are not present, there is no way for you to enjoy true oneness. Three of the more common hindrances in marriage are fear, anger, and unforgiveness. You could say these things are koinonia killers.
- Do you have fear or inhibition between you and your spouse?
- Do you harbor frustration, impatience, or other forms of anger toward your spouse?
- Are you holding on to unforgiveness because of something your spouse has done in the past?
Ask God to give you time, context, and courage to talk about this with your spouse. Plan a few uninterrupted date nights where you can talk. No dinner and a movie; just you and your spouse, eye-to-eye, communicating.
If your hope is to not be alone in your marriage, you must work through these communication killers. Identify what is hindering you from having this kind of relationship with your spouse. Begin a process of change so you can successfully remove anything that is disrupting your conjugal community.