Lovepedia Loneliness: A curse or a blessing?


Loneliness: A curse or a blessing?

We see less and less of each other, pick up the phone less often and communicate mostly via text messages. And in the meantime, something is creeping into our lives stealthily and unnoticed: Loneliness.

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We need one another

Humans are not made for solitude. Biologically, psychologically and emotionally, we are designed to live in community. Marriage, family and friendships help us to experience a deep sense of attachment and belonging. Nevertheless, loneliness can creep into even the most beautiful moments with the people we are close to.
Feeling lonely in a relationship can be extremely depressing and painful. Feeling unappreciated, unnoticed and unloved can cause people to isolate themselves even more. Recurrent disappointments plunge them into deep loneliness. However, in order to be happy, people need a companion. And if they don’t have one, they develop – often quite unconsciously – compensation strategies. For example, it is not uncommon for people with attachment problems to make friends with animals more easily than with people. They expect comfort and understanding from these creatures that are unable to talk, which they may not have received from their caregivers or friends. But animals, as lovable as they are, cannot replace human relationships. They cannot fill the gap of loneliness.

Connected and yet lonely

Thanks to the internet, networking with the outside world has become easier than ever before. The smartphone connects us wherever we travel, work or live. Thanks to modern achievements, the world is open to us; it has become a global village, so to speak. And yet it is a sad fact that along with the proliferation of working from home, e-learning platforms and online shopping, we are becoming increasingly lonely. Social media networks are supposed to connect us, as the term would have us believe. But instead of genuine networking, we end up in even deeper isolation if we don’t find the right way to interact with the digital world. We distance ourselves from real life, apart from the people we know. The appropriate and responsible use of media, on the other hand, offers us a wide range of unprecedented opportunities to stay in touch.

No two cases of loneliness are the same

We will always experience some loneliness in our lives, regardless of our family status or circle of friends. But not all loneliness is alike. Not everyone who is alone necessarily feels lonely. Being alone is an objectively visible condition – loneliness, on the other hand, is a subjective feeling. Being alone and loneliness can, but do not always have to occur at the same time.
The experience of loneliness has a lot to do with the human longing for the infinite. It sometimes feels like “homesickness”, like a never-ending longing for a true home. It was precisely this experience that St. Augustine was referring to when he wrote in his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Sooner or later, there will also be moments in the hearts of spouses when they experience each other apart. Or even abandoned. And lonely. No human relationship, however harmonious it may be, can completely satisfy the longing for attachment.

Loneliness in marriage

It is a miracle of love when two people with different upbringings, perhaps even different cultures, leave their own families to bond with each other and become “one body”. (Cf. Gen 2:24)
Marriage is about facing life together. Living together requires a good deal of teamwork, a willingness to compromise and an understanding for one another. Sometimes, however, being together can be a big challenge. And it is precisely such situations that offer spouses the opportunity to rise above themselves. Love wants to grow, it wants to unfold. In good times and in bad. Over the course of marriage, spouses learn to love each other, even if their relationship is not enjoyable at the moment. At such times it is important to keep talking.

Loneliness as an opportunity

Even the happiest couples are not immune to loneliness and inner emptiness. But this can be transformed into something beautiful. Into something fruitful that allows the relationship to grow even deeper together. In fact, there is also a soothing loneliness that can lead spouses into a deep connection with one another. And with God!
That is the beauty of a Christian marriage, that God is also in the covenant! By praying together and making the best of it, spouses invite God into their everyday lives. Christian spouses draw love from an inexhaustible source, which is God himself!
Whether you are single, engaged or married, have children or not, remember that in loneliness lies the opportunity for change! You are created for God, for infinity. In the silence that loneliness offers you, you can meet the one who has always been there and who is also there now. For you! Take heart!