married but lonely

As I waited for my pizza slice and gyro, to go, I casually flipped through the pages of a local newspaper that was laying on the bar. When I reached the last couple of pages, I scanned the want ads, always on the look out for that perfect job. That’s when I noticed the personal ad:

“Older white male, married but lonely, seeks attractive female companion, any age, race or marital status.”

My first thought was, “Ewww. That’s kinda yucky.” That thought was quickly followed by a series of questions: How old is he? What’s his definition of attractive? If he’s married, why is he lonely? Does his wife know about this? If the attractive female is married, why would she respond?

I took my slice and my gyro and walked to the coffee shop around the corner, and as I walked, I pondered those questions further and imagined the people involved in that story. As I did so, I realized that although the situation is definitely yucky, it’s probably more common than I’d like to think. In fact, the people behind those words could be people I know. Lots of people are lonely and, as pitiful as it may sound in a seedy ad in a second-rate paper, lots of lonely people are married.

Renee and I have married friends whose relationships with their spouses are not healthy. I admire their tenacity and commitment, especially in an environment that breeds dissension and divorce as easily as pizza slices. But I regret the tragedy of the fruitless relationships. Every situation is different, and it’s difficult to understand the depth of the circumstances that lead to such a condition, but I think I’d choose the battle over surrendering to mutual isolation. Maybe that’s idealistic but it satisfies my imagination.

In any case, as I reflect on my own marriage, in light of a random personal ad, I’m grateful. Renee has2220134232_794196917a_m.jpg been my best friend for over 20 years. I’d rather spend my time with her than anyone or anything else. We’ve always wondered if we’ll ever run out of things to talk about. It hasn’t happened yet. Having a bunch of kids helps with that. We have bad days but never lonely days, and I always have the confidence that if the world falls in on me tomorrow, as long as I can breathe, I can go home and find comfort and companionship.

For people who have that, I pray they’ll realize the value of it and be grateful. For people who are married and lonely, I pray they’ll choose to fight to make what they have all it can be, rather than giving up on it silently or looking for it elsewhere. For people who aren’t married, but long to be, I pray they’ll hold high expectations, and that their longings will be satisfied with love even more abundant and even more true than those high expectations.

6 thoughts on “married but lonely”

  1. As I read this, I am taking a moment to reflect on our marriage. Actually, to be honest, I reflect on our marriage quite often. I am in awe of God’s mercy on us. His mercy in putting us together when we were so young and dumb and His mercy in keeping us together when we are so old and dumb. I am soooo thankful when I see others that don’t have this gift. I don’t know why God gave me this very unique, very special and loving relationship….but, I am so grateful that He did. Dale, I am very proud of you. I love reading your blogs and I want everyone to see what a wonderful man that I am married to. I am so glad you are sharing your talent and insights in this way. I know it makes you happy, and it makes me happy to see you be happy. I just wish you wouldn’t stay up so late sometimes 🙂 I love you forever….


  2. Dale – you amaze me each time you write. Second time for tears though… sadly I can relate to some of this. Thank you for sharing yourself and your family.


  3. Tree and I went out for dinner last night at Rodizio in Denver to celebrate our (belated) 7th anniversary. We both noticed an older couple who I think spoke to eachother once during their entire dinner. Tree and I wondered if they had a fight earlier or perhaps received some bad news that would cause them not to engage in conversation. But we also wondered if they were always like that, sitting across from eachother in silence. It made us feel both sad for them and blessed for our own marriage at the same time.


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