For the first time EVER I am finding myself resentful of my husband in bed…

For the first time EVER I am finding myself resentful of my husband in bed… August 24, 2009

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have 7 children. We obviously have had a healthy sexual relationship and we are best friends. We do everything together.

I need to be a stay at home mom, with no options for childcare ($ + 7 kids). About a year ago, my husband lost his job. I know that many others are going through the ups and downs of this economy like we are.

I have done my best to support him. Desperate times call for desperate measures. He has applied for over 180 jobs while working with his hands to make any amount of money to pay bills and feed our family. (Yard work, handyman, etc.) We have not used the church or had any government help. Things are now increasingly getting really harder.

I do not need advice on getting financial help, we are working on new solutions.

Now to my problem. For the first time EVER I am finding myself resentful of him in bed. Thoughts of those unpaid bills creep into my head during love making, and I find myself having feelings of resentment towards him. I start thinking of all of the “things” that would make our life easier and the resentment comes in again. This makes me so sad because my husband is an extremely hard worker and I love him so much. I logically talk myself through it but I cannot seem to change the way I feel. I have noticed that my libido is rapidly diminishing and my ability to orgasm is disappearing. On top of that, with all of the failures that my husband has had to face this past year, he does not need to feel failure in this area. This makes me feel guilty and perpetuates the problem.

Yes, we have a good relationship and I have communicated these issues with him. (Of course I did not want to make him feel even worse so I made light of how much is affects me).

Please Please help me find a solution to giving back to him. This is one area in our marriage that deserves a standing ovation!

I am sorry that you and your husband are finding yourselves in such a stressful situation. And that is exactly what I want to focus on: stress. You need to know that it is a perfectly normal byproduct of stress to experience a lower libido and orgasm potential (this is true for both men and women). You are describing a situation where the stress level must feel abnormally high. You and your husband have 7 children to care for emotionally and physically – this would be inherently stressful even under the best of circumstances. The employment situation has become a chronic one – you’ve been dealing with this for an entire year! Efforts have not bore the productive fruit I’m sure you were both hoping for. Goodness grief! I would cut yourself some slack. Of course you’re starting to feel implications in the bedroom!

Along with sexual symptoms, it is also normal under high levels of stress to have symptoms of anxiety, depression, racing thoughts, sleep disturbance and resentment. And, of course, none of these help you get “in the mood.” You describe many strengths that you and your husband have: an open and honest level of communication, a strong love, endurance, respect, friendship and up until now a healthy sex life. It is a positive sign that you were able to share some of what you’ve been feeling with him and it is also healthy that you are concerned for his well-being. I would encourage the following:
  • Continued loving communication with your spouse. You can discuss the symptoms you are experiencing with him without personalizing, blaming or attacking (it sounds like you are already doing this). Blame the problem, not each other. Talk about how your current situation is affecting you both, not just sexually but in all aspects of your life. This is not to create a “woe is me” atmosphere, but instead allow these feelings to have a voice so you can acknowledge them as normal, understand where the other one is coming from, and better be able to move forward to healthier ways of functioning. Many times when we keep negative feelings hidden, the opposite effect of what we’re actually wanting occurs: they gain more power. So get them out and let them go.
  • Seeing your symptoms as “normal” under the circumstance and exercising patience with yourself. Maybe you won’t orgasm as often until some of the stressors in your life diminish. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t enjoy the closeness and bonding that sexual activity brings you and your husband. It also doesn’t mean that your libido won’t go back to normal once things get less hectic. Lower your expectations and relish whatever still feels good.
  • Think of sex as a natural stress reliever. It gives you an outlet for physical release as well as endorphin release. Endorphins help you have a more positive mood. Tell yourself you are going to use sex as a self-helping tool.
  • Your brain is immensely powerful and you have more control over your thoughts than you’re currently giving yourself credit for. Practice visualizing the life you want, both financially and sexually. Close your eyes and take the time to “feel” what you want your life to look like.
  • Go back and revisit all the strengths you see in your husband. Think to the times when he courted you, and the times you were completely and utterly turned on by him – the butterflies in your stomach that he caused. Spend time thinking about these feelings – ideally in a place where you can lay back, relax and close your eyes. Visualize the feelings and savor them. Become aware of how your body responds as you do this exercise. Take the time to enjoy these sensations if they are positive. The more you do this type of exercise, the more you will be able to bring these feelings to your consciousness when you need them.
  • Be sure to include your wants and desires specifically in your prayers. Get in the habit of asking for what it is that you need from your Father in Heaven in specific terms. Rather than the general request of “I want to have a better sex life,” ask for the ability to control negative thoughts during sex and an increased ability to orgasm – in fact, “I want to have an orgasm tonight” is a great, assertive and righteous request. Ask and ye shall receive.
  • Find ways to take a break from the stressors you face. Taking a walk in the park, taking a quiet bath, listening to your favorite music, appreciating the beauty of a scenic landscape – whatever it is that relaxes you and makes you feel whole even if just for a few minutes. Self-care is SO important!
  • Take all the love that you have for your husband and find small ways of serving him (write him a love letter, help him in whatever way with the job hunting process if he’s open to that, prepare his favorite meal, take him out on a date you’ve secretly planned, offer a sexual favor focusing on only his needs, give him a massage, give him a list of all the strengths you feel he has, thank him for little things, etc.). Serving him will more than likely help with the feelings of resentment.
  • My next suggestion is not meant to put any pressure on you because it is not your responsibility to financially provide, but many women in your circumstance find it empowering to try to make some money on the side. There are many things that you can do from home (i.e. childcare, cooking meals for others, computer work, filing, sewing, consulting, etc.) that may generate some income. Again, I only offer this as a suggestion if it would help you feel more in control. I would not want it to act as another stressor point. You are already fulfilling your responsibilities in your role as mother and home manager.
You can also find some great tips for ways to reduce stress at the following website:
How to enjoy sex when stressed and Economy affecting your sex life? are other articles that may be useful.

I wish you both the best and hope that you are able to find yourselves in a different financial position as soon as possible. I know there are many out there who are sharing a similar situation and I commend you for bringing up a topic I know you are not alone in experiencing.

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