Are You Living in the "Married Roommate Zone"?
We see this happening more and more - a husband and wife living at the same address but very disconnected from one another. They are essentially living like roommates rather than husband and wife. You feel emotionally distant from your spouse. And whether you have been married just a few years or decades, any couple can find themselves in this place!
How can you know whether you might be living in this "Married Roommate Zone"? Here are signs that you might be:
You don't spend much time with your spouse, and have little desire to do so.
You often feel annoyed with your spouse and often few them as "the problem".
You are getting more and more critical of your spouse's behavior.
You are not physically intimate much or at all.
You often ignore each other.
One online article I read listed six warning signs of you being emotionally disconnected: 1) Anger, 2) Defensiveness, 3) Going Silent, 4) Getting Busy, 5) Being Cranky, and 6) Being Critical. These line up with the bulleted points share just above them. If you are feeling like your spouse is more of a roommate than a husband or wife, then honestly evaluate which of these signs of which you may be guilty.
A few common causes of feeling disconnected as husband and wife: 1) You could have been growing distant for some time - a slow drift apart. 2) You are not making the time to spend with each other like you previously did - busy with other things. 3) You have stopped putting real effort and intentionality into your relationship.
And while there can be a myriad of reasons you and your spouse end up in the “married roommate zone”, here are a few suggestions about how to begin growing in connection as husband and wife:
Have an honest conversation with each other. You may be feeling this way but your spouse may not - or maybe you both do but neither of you are making steps to help. The first step is having an honest conversation. This is not a chance to blame your spouse, but rather honestly express how you have contributed. And begin to brainstorm together how you both can work to get out of this zone.
Set aside intentional time to connect together. “Busy-ness” is the curse of our culture. And too many couples are so busy with work, the kids, church, and other things that there is no time left for them as a couple. You made time for each other when you were dating - do you think you can maintain that connection when you are not investing time in your marriage relationship?
Allow trusted friends to help you. God did not make us to walk this “journey of marriage” without others to help us along the way. The goal is to find a same-gender mature Christ-follower to help you stay the course as you try to grow your connection with your spouse. Let them stand with you in the battle through their prayers, encouragement, and accountability. Don’t go it alone!
Additional Resources on this Topic:
Focus on the Family Online Post to Help
FamilyLife Online Post to Help
Written by Glen Solberg, Abiding Marriage, 2023. All Rights Reserved. Please email us at info@AbidingMarriage.org with any comments or questions.
Photo by Alex Green on Pixels