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Christian Perspective: Is Sexual Neglect Grounds For Divorce?

(stolen from the internet - EP won't let me post the source)

Jesus said, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9, NIV).

The King James Translation of the Bible says, "fornication" where the New International Translation says, "marital unfaithfulness." Many of us have paraphrased it to simply say "adultery" when we quote it or teach the meaning of this passage. Basically Jesus is saying that a spouse does not have to stay married to someone who has had sex with another person while married to them. A possible reason is that some people simply can't handle the loss of intimacy and the emotional devastation that can come with an adulterous spouse. The marriage contract is broken by the unfaithful spouse and, according to Scripture, does not have to be reinstated if the violated spouse does not want reunion.

So back to the question that serves as the title of this article. Is sexual neglect grounds for divorce? Based on the words of Jesus, only "marital unfaithfulness" is grounds for divorce and therefore we must determine what warrants the description of “marital unfaithfulness.” The King James version uses the word “fornication” which tells us that the unfaithful spouse had sexual relations with someone other than his/her spouse. The Greek word used for this phrase is “porneia” which is where we derive the word “***********” and means sexual immorality or illicit sex. Porneia includes ******, prostitution, homosexuality and any other form of sexual perversion (1). Therefore, any sexual participation with someone other than your spouse is “marital unfaithfulness.”

When a spouse commits marital unfaithfulness, the corresponding spouse has been violated and betrayed in a unique and terrible way. This form of violation and betrayal is seen as being so serious in God’s eyes that He grants the violated spouse freedom from the marriage contract if he/she desires that freedom, however it is certainly not required that the violated spouse divorce the violator.

Sex is such an important part of the marital bond that the Bible tells us, “the two will become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31). Because a person cannot be truly “one” with more than one person, the marriage bond is broken by the “oneness” experienced by the unfaithful spouse with the other person.

Now back to the question, “Is sexual neglect grounds for divorce?”

By “sexual neglect” I’m not referring to the occasional loss of sexual interest that is normal due to the stresses and obligations of life. I’m using the phrase to refer to a spouse who sexually refuses the other to the point that he/she is in danger of temptation.

Remember the words of Paul:

…since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7: 2-5)

Is a husband faithful to his wife if he is not willing to “fulfill his marital duty” to her? Before you make a decision, consider the following question:

Should someone claim to be a faithful Christian simply based on the fact that they do not worship the false god Baal? The reason I ask is because I have a corresponding question for your consideration: Can someone claim to be a faithful spouse simply based on the fact that they do not have sex with other people?

The answer to both questions is “no.”

James said in James 2:20-26:

20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

The Holy Spirit inspired James to tell us that faith without “evidence” and “deeds” is “useless.” So your faithfulness to God is not determined by what you do not do or who you do not worship, but on what you do and who you do worship.

Do you choose to make Jesus your Savior? Do you choose to worship Him? That’s what defines a faithful Christian--not just who you do not worship or what you do not do.

In the same way, a “faithful spouse” is not defined only by what he/she does not do. A faithful spouse is just as much determined by what he/she does. Marital faithfulness is proactive, not simply prohibitive. Just as much emotional devastation can occur by sexual neglect as with adultery. Research has consistently demonstrated that happy marriages are sexually active marriages and that sexual fulfillment influences all facets of the relationship including romance, conversation, recreation, trust, and acts of kindness.

For those who consider themselves a faithful spouse, consider Paul’s instructions on fulfilling your spouse and dedicate yourself to being faithful to your spouse in what you do, not just in what you do not. And for those who are being sexually neglected, remember that the Bible tells us:

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13) and “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

So don’t feel that you have to quietly endure the neglect, but study this article with your spouse and most importantly, study the Bible. Show your spouse Paul's inspired words in 1 Corinthians 7 and confess that you are feeling vulnerable to temptation because you are not being sexually fulfilled. Ask your spouse to help you be strong by fulfilling [his/her] marital duty. Then be willing to forgive because you know that a fulfilling marriage relationship is an ever-moving target. Do everything that you can to make your marriage fulfilling and don’t give up if at all possible.

Works cited: According to the MacArthur Study Bible footnote for Matthew 19:9
Oldandgone Oldandgone 41-45 54 Responses Aug 3, 2010

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As a married man, sex is such a pain in the ***. Times are busy and have kids. It is a total waste of time. If you have a good relationship, both of you know that you are there for one another and love one another. All a man really needs is a friend to help with everyday life and help raising the children. It says in the bible it is okay to refrain from the act as long as both agree.. So what’s the problem?

You can incorporate the affection into everyday life, without the act itself, and have something more advanced than the so called "normal" people that are too weak and seem to feel they need it 1,2 or 3 times a week! You can demonstrate love without having to do the act to prove it, besides it proves nothing.

Why be a slave, or chained to something that you are too weak minded to control? A man is suppost to control his desires to a certain degree anyways, or society would be a total mess. So why not accomplished the same thing whilst married?

Far too much emphasis has been placed on the sex act, and can be blamed for the downfall of society. And if the woman needs the act, which is in most cases, to a lesser degree than men want it, so if a man can do it, why cannot a woman? And focus on the more important aspects of life?

Hence, if a woman is too weak, and requires the act itself to feel loved, she is welcome to leave. Don't feel that if one is feeling neglected, that she should be required to stay. If a woman cannot recognize that she is loved and appreciated for all the she is, without having the act to prove it, she is too weak and would probably cheat anyways.

No, you're right. But your sixth sentence is absolutely key: "as long as both agree".
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Otherwise, you have some valid points in there. If both people in a marriage don't agree then there are a host of other problems. And the act of sex is merely a symptom of those issues (or rather, the lack of sex is a symptom). Oftentimes, in sexless marriages, the actual sex is a cypher for something else, or many other things. Just as, in more healthy relationships, the act of sex can help deal with other issues (and it can, even infrequently) the lack of it can exacerbate other problems.

To stay in topic, I feel that it should be acceptable by god for one that has had sex withdrawn to be free to divorce, and remarry. However, I feel both men and women are slightly confused on this issue...

As one that has had plenty of premarriage experience, it is clear that woman are not after the physical side of the act rather the closeness emotional side of the experience. If a man can provide that without the physical aspect then he has fulfilled his duties as required by god.

Nor is the act a cure all for marital issues, but more of a temporary bandade to pretend issues are resolved. The physical aspect is not a requirement but more of a suggestion on how man and wife should deal emotionally with each other. And this can be accomplished without the act itself, which in most cases causes more problems than it pretends to fix.

No where does it state that one will go to hell if the actual act is not performed by either party. It seems to be more if the other person is satisfied with what they are getting is the key. However, If the other person feels slighted or jipped by the lack the sex act, he/she should feel free to divorce and be on the right side of god in doing so.

Indeed.
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Staying in topic, there is much guff about men and women wanting different things from sex. This is bugger all to do with gender and everything to do with society. Check out the passages in Genesis, for example, about sex. They suggest that men and women intertwine the physical and the spiritual. The idea of separating the two is pernicious and close to Gnosticism.
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SOCIETY tells us that men are more gruff, active and physical - the Bible tells us that men are humans. SOCIETY tells us that women do not need nor desire physical connection, only spiritual - the Bible tells us that women are humans. Different roles, sure, men cannot give birth nor breastfeed; but different reactions to sex are societal not God-ordained. God meant for, from what I read, the emotional and the sexual to be completely together - "one flesh" was chosen specifically - and therefore the act is as important as the spiritual support.
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In other words, in healthy relationships, sex is an important part of resolving issues, it can bridge gaps and break down walls, but not the only part and I want to be clear in that I never said that. The lack of it, when both sides are not in agreement (even grudging agreement), is cancerous. It will infect the organism of marriage.
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However, constant demands for more sex, or reducing sex to just the physical act and not the union it was intended to be (note use of 'constant') is just as harmful. To that situation, Matt, you speak much truth.

I agree whole heartedly with your comments :)

In todays Society, it is very rare to see those that deal with the sex issue as it was intended, as you have stated,.. very rare. There are always hang ups and issues, and the inequality of the amount of desire between men and women.

In the old testament, god was more interested in the populating of the world, rather than if couples where just getting busy for recreation of it. Yes, we are to be joined as one flesh, but this, as in most of the bible, can be a metaphor possibly meaning as a unit acting as one, a team, two with one mind - one goal. We are already joined as one by god when we marry.

I have not seen a specific reference to a command to engage physically for fun or just because you are allowed as husband and wife. If fact, Jesus said, that it is better that a man should not touch a woman, but to concentrate on god. Nor do I believe, he commanded that husbands and wives are to fix their problems this way, or to feel that problems will not arise if one physically takes part.

Once again, It all depends on the intent... If one is withdrawing sex as a punishment or a lesson or control to get what they want, this is wrong. And with the right two people, a sexless marriage can work quite nicely.

Have to add here, that a sexless marriage does not work for everyone... Basically why god provided allowance for those that have no or little control, to at least keep it within marriage.
If my wife and I had not been around the block several times already, and found sex to be highly over rated, it may not have worked.
So, if ones marriage seems one sided and unfair with no resolution to be found, then yes, being refused is the same as cheating, and the jilted party should feel free to leave and carry one with a new partner.

What a load of sexist guff whereby a normal woman-who desires sex- can't win due to a false projection that women who have the same sexual appetite as men are somehow abnormal. You may equate sex with weakness but that's only because religion has rotted your brain.

Hold on, I thought I'd said what you said Faerylight - that a normal woman is as a normal man: sexual desires are on the same curve. That doesn't mean any particular woman and man will have the same desires but that, statistically, men and women have the same sexual appetites.
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Also, my reading is that sex = marriage = one flesh. The whole marriage ceremony thing is a relatively recent addition to liturgy and stems more from the rise of a bourgeois concept of ownership. Even medieval marriage was separate from religion in many ways.
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Paul wrote to specific circumstances regarding sex and we don't know what his thorn in the flesh was. Sex, to him and the intended readers, was a weakness. It is not so for everyone. Paul was a flawed man, like all humans are flawed humans, so his generalisations don't have to be our generalisations...
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Wait, sorry, I have literally just realised you're talking to Matt specifically. Ah, well, the above stands.

Lol still good to read well thought out arguments. So Thank you

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I abstained from sex before marriage (including 20 years during puberty) so that I would (1) be obedient to God and (2) give my wife the special gift of sharing that experience only with her. Well, 7 years into marriage and my wife rarely shows interest in me sexually. I had concerns about marrying her since she was promiscuous prior to marriage but had repented and became a new person (in her words) when I met her. I expressed my concerns about her past to the pastor that was to marry us but he told me my standards were too high and persuaded me to marry her anyway. I thought that every Christian woman's dream was to have a husband that saved sex for her only but I have found that not to be the case. I have talked to her numerous times during the marriage that sex is not just for physical release but makes me better connect with her emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc but she rarely shows interest. And she has turned me down so many times and/or acts so disinterested during the act that I gave up on initiating. I've told her that I wanted her to love me enough to fulfill that desire even if she was not sexually in the mood but still no change. I have always taken the lead on house chores (laundry, vacuuming, putting kids to bed) so that's not an issue for her. After battling 20 years of temptations only to marry a woman who has little interest has made me become bitter and resentful...but she says she wants me to be her best friend and wonders why I do not openly laugh and talk with her. How can a husband be best friends with a wife who makes him feel inadequate, rejected, unwanted by denying him sex???

God does not expect women to stay in a sexless marriage And people who say otherwise dont know Gods word. Back in Exodus 21:10 there is a scripture And it says if a man married a slave then later married a wife putting the first away hè was not deprive her food clothing And intimacy if hè deprived her of these she was free to leave as he has treated her as a slave for his benefit only. She owes him nothing. No payment is required all bets are off. God showed me this is how adultery starts with the neglect of one of these areas. Sex is a command in marriage and your husband is guilty of the spiritual abandonment known as adultery. Israel was guilty of adultery why because they turned their back on God. Think this through they are people who claim to be Gods children yet were away from him in their hearts. There is no room in marriage for this self life. He is not a man of God at all doing this. I was in a sexless marriage for 10 years when God gave me this scripture my husband was so convicted and turned his heart around he reads scripture and keeps it before him always as he wants this marriage and realise sit is a sin to not walk in the carnal side if you like of life. If your husband won't come to the party I don't believe The Lord says you have to stay it's your choice and you and your husband are both going to face the hard facts he is opening you up to attacks from the enemy he will stand before god for it as a guilty man. I hope this helps.

Just saw this, I'm late to the party, but fascinating.
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Thank you (assuming you're still around to see this).

I should add I have done this in the past and she was ok with it, but then I began to wrestle with it...I had sex with a woman who was also in a sexless marriage, although her husband wasn't aware of it, like my wife was .

My wife suffers from 'female problems' sever itching and dryness in her vagina her doctor has tried so many things but the conditon persists. I love her she is a wonderful woman, When we try to have sex it's painful for her, I'm at the point I don't want to leave her, because she is a wonderul partner, I also feel her age (50) is affecting her drive as well, she has offered other's options besides intercourse, but I guess I find myself having a less physical desire for her. I have pushed down sexual urges for sometime. She has even out of love told me it would be ok to have sex with someone else. Is it adultery if the other person is ok with it and doesn't consider it betrayal?

What about the New testament advise not to marry because the world as we know it will soon end

Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. ...For there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.

People have different destinies, different callings in life, even though we should (in a perfect world) all seek him with all our might. If you are called to not marry, and dedicate yourself fully to God (be 'married' to God), good for you. You are blessed, and should do what the Lord is motivating you to do. But God does not call everyone to live in celibacy for their entire life. Heck, there wouldn't be any more people on earth. Also, I don't think your reasoning for WHY you should not marry is entirely correct. God has a plan for all, if he blesses you with a child in the end times, he has a plan for that child. It might not end well, and it might end well. The responsibility of that child, and its destiny, is not entirely yours, for it is God who created that child, and God who gave you that child. Or so I believe. Be blessed, peace!

What do I do if I am the neglectful husband. We have been to counseling. I know it's my fault. I am not a bad person. I am always there for her and the family. But there are so many things wrong. I go through stages of "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave him self for it" I bite my lip and try to provide for my wife's sexual needs . But after a while I feel such a fake and feel so lonely and so I withdraw. I know I shouldn't have got married but here I am, what do I do?

you need to tell us how often us married people should have sex

Lots and lots and lots. My husband and I committed to 3 times a week at first after 10 years of no sex now he has gone from nil interest to desiring me the best advise was our pastor didn't feel sorry for him and told him straight we also had 3 different people who had the same word for him rise up and do what God called you to do. God calls husbands to be there for their wives that's the calling so sex is the biggest deal you can provide.

I feel too that we must pray about whether or not we are a part of the problem by continuing to allow the abuse and neglect. Living for Jesus in my opinion is not only about not doing wrong things but, doing the right thing. If we saw someone abusing our child over and over would we not take action to protect them? We need to seek God earnestly about our decisions and make decisions based on His word.

iN THE OLD TESTAMENT A WOMAN WAS ALLOWED TO DEVIORCE A MAN IF HE DID NOT GVE HER SEX I SURPOSE THAT GOES FOR A MAN TOO EXOUDUS 21:10

yes. indeed. A man could divorce for pretty much any reason but a woman could divorce a man only if he did not provide 1) food, 2) shelter, 3) clothing, 4) sex.

Clearly they thought this was an important aspect of marriage

Excellent advice

If God forgives sin and throws them as far as the east is from the west then why do we glorify the sin of divorce as if God will definitely not forgive this sin as fast or will hold this particular sin over our heads for a long time. I think the two getting divorced will be dealing with the side effects long after God has forgiven and forgot about it. Every good and perfect gift comes from God so when we get ourselves into these dysfunctional marriages its possible that it wasnt Gods will in the first place. I knew day 1 after getting married that it was a mistake, its been over 3 years now and Im still married. Ive hated every day of my life, Ive never achieved what I should have, I havent had the relationship with God that I should have, Ive been unable to help other people because Im so depressed that I dont have the energy or will to do anything. I didnt find out until after getting married that my wife had a sever case of bipolar and now Im stuck with someone that doctors have labeled as completely psychotic. She held it together long enough to get me and then all hell broke loose. She spends months in the hospitals, Ive lost everything paying for medical bills. We did not have sex on our wedding night, turns out due to her mental condition, her body does not function properly to have sex. She is not always crazy and I know its unfortunate that she has this illness but should I stay married to someone who cannot have a normal relationship. She has said she should have been a nun, because she has no desire for sex. My biggest goal in life was to have a great marriage and family. I cant possibly have a family with someone who cant even put a frozen pizza in the oven because its too difficult. At this point I just wish I was married to someone who was sane. If you have never had to wake up to your spouse painting themselves and all the walls in the house with nail polish then you have it better than me.

No one is glorifying divorce. It is a painful, terrible, horrible thing. God hates it because it hurts His creation. No one who has been through it will tell you it is easy. In fact most will tell you it is terrible but necessary. Divorce should never be considered lightly and how you treat each other during and after the divorce is critical. But, like major surgery, sometimes it is necessary to remove a cancer from your body. If your being married is negatively affecting your relationship with your Creator then you need to consider what that means. Will you trade your very soul to stay married to a person who is not capable of being truly married to you? I am not even talking about sex or any of the other issues at this point. Just that one alone is enough to consider leaving. Paul says that you should not marry an unbeliever and that you should stay married to a non-Christian only if remaining married does not interfere with your relationship with Christ.

I think it is grounds for divorce if there is willful neglect with no concern the partner's feelings.<br />
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If there is a severe medical problem that can't be treated, I think that is a different story. And by severe, I mean like my dad who has MS and can hardly dress or feed himself, or my friend's husband who was in a car accident and is now paralyzed.

It was nice to find this post. I've been living in a virtual sexless marriage since I got married only three short years ago. I thought that it was admirable that my husband never made any sexual advances before I said " I do". But, that's a pattern that has existed for the entire part of our lives together as married people. The only time he will engage with me is after I become upset that 3 or 4 months have gone by and I feel like a shadow in bed. He is willing then, but it's out of guilt, not love. I thought it was a medical issue, and I was right. His testosterone was low. The remedy was testosterone therapy and I do his injections once a week, every week. That was months ago, and he still has no desire to be with me sexually, or even attempt meeting my needs in that department.
I was honest and told him that I was feeling tempted. My libido is sky high, and I feel like I'm going crazy for a few weeks every month. I told him that I could not be content with him AND monogamous living like this. I have begged, I've sought therapy, pastoral counseling....and here I am.
I love my husband, but divorce is the remedy for this matter --not an affair. And I'm quickly going down one or both routes. :(
If I were going to be nothing more than a glorified room-mate, then he had no right to marry me. Coping with sexual sin /temptation was a struggle when I was single. But struggling in this dept as a married woman is hurtful beyond words.

Hi, Was nice to read this.. I am in the same situation. We too saved ourselves for marriage. We were married in sept 2011. We went on honeymoon for 2 weeks - whilst on honeymoon we had sex three times in that 2 weeks. That includes the wedding night. Since then we have never done it as often . If I am lucky once a month but usually it is once every 3mnths - and same like you - this is only after I have complained often with tears in my eyes. He will never initiate it, except once that I remember in July last yr one morning - and for the rest of that day I felt so good- like I was actually someone\'s wife, felt confident &amp; reassured, that I was loved &amp; needed by him. Oh how lovely that feeling was and I feel happy for those women who get to feel like that on a regular basis. I have a 4 month old son now, so divorce/ separation is not a favourable option for me. Most days I am happy, but then some days I remember how lonely I feel inside . I am glad I have this website &amp; people like you to talk to.. It really helps . I can\'t tell anyone else as I feel ashamed to tell my family that my husband does not want me sexually . I just continue to smile &amp; play the good wife.

Dear PatientLonely,
Tears went down my cheeks when I read your experience. I am lucky if I got sex once in 3 years. I remember sitting at the end of my husband's bed begging him to at least consider touching me. He would plainly refuse saying its just too late in the night or that he is tired. I never felt I was anyone's wife. I felt no one wanted me. I have felt so undesired and unwanted. I have two boys now and trust me it gets worst with time. You feel so lonely and simply worthless. But I have two kids now and I am trapped - I can't leave. I always envied other women and could never figure out what they had that I didn't have - I guess it's just one thing, called 'luck'.

I'm there with you ladies as well. I've been in a virtually sexless marriage for 20 years. I was a virgin when we got married and I was still a virgin 7 years later. Our honeymoon was sexless. When we finally had sex, we found out we were infertile and infertility can devastate a sex life. Ours was too fragile to survive that trauma. So we are childless in a sexless marriage. My husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few years ago and that's impacted his ability to get/sustain an erection. He got a prescription for Cialis but he didn't go to fill it for 18 months and, by that time, the prescription had expired. So you can see, it's not a real priority for him. His testosterone level is within normal range which shocks the hell out of me, frankly. We last had sex at Christmas time and it's only because I initiated and it's usually only for the point of "fulfilling my needs." I think we had sex 3 times last year. Makes me feel like crap. He's a nice man and a decent companion, so there's that, I suppose. However, I will say that I don't remember what it feels like to be wanted by a man. I think I last felt that when we were dating and most intensely with a former boyfriend -- not the man I married. I'm considered "beautiful" by the world's standards -- blonde, blue-eyed, big boobs, size 8, blah blah -- but the one man I want to want me ....... doesn't. I've raised the issue and then I'll "get" sex within a few days, but who wants guilt sex? I occasionally consider cheating and I believe I could find a man who *would* want me. I ********** often and don't feel guilty about it. Twenty years is a lonnnng time. If I had daughters, I'd tell them not to wait for marriage to have sex. I wish I hadn't. (It was not for lack of opportunities.) And, yeah, I'm a Christian and I'd STILL tell them that. Premarital sex could end up being the only sex they get!

To those who have advocated self-gratification as a relief, let me warn you of the long-term effect. If this has been your outlet for a long period, then when or if you are ever fortunate enough for her to consent again, you may find you are no longer able to climax, because of the habituation to the self-gratification. You risk ruining your ability to have normal sex. Look up Retarded Ejac******* causes.

good advice.

With all due respect, a question was asked "Is Sexual Neglect Grounds For Divorce?" and I find it difficult to believe that you quoted scripture and gave a lengthy sermon but did not arrive at an answer. Did you just leave it up to the individual to make that decision for themselves based on your lengthy sermon? How about bringing your response to a conclusion such as "Therefore Sexual Neglect is or is not in and of itself grounds for a divorce"

The best writings often start with a question and leave it to the reader to determine. I did not write it. For me, the answer is yes. But each person will have to resolve this within themselves.

I need some advice. I keep opening my heart only to be avoided and ignored by my husband. I have contemplated leaving several times, but haven't yet due to finances, the physical demand of separation, the fact our son will miss us both when with the other, and the fact that this is my second marriage due to my ex-husband being unfaithrul. It started when I became pregnant with our son, nearly six years ago. We were only married a few weeks. Sleeping in our bed in different positions hurt my back, so I resorted to often sleeping on the couch. The back of the couch gave me added support I needed. Due to the way I carried my unborn child all in the front in one spot it became nearly impossible for sex. My husband was upset with me being pregnant in the first place and really lost interest in me. I am short and had a difficult time getting in bed, so I kind of hopped to get in bed. When I did this the bed frame bent. My husband got very upset with me, like I had really done something wrong. I tried to fix it, but couldn't. I even went and bought a new frame, but still couldn't. My husband gave up on trying to get it set right after about 5 minutes. So there I am still on the couch, even after our son was born. My husband never really wanted to feel him move. I believe it was only once he felt him move. After our son was born he was instantly in love with him, but it was like the little bit of love he could offer to anyone went directly to him. If that's all he has to give, I would rather it go to our son than me, but after 5+ years I have been so lonely in this lack of relationship. I still sleep on the couch. My husband hasn't shown much interest in buying and hauling a bed in. It really is impossible for two people to sleep on. It's like sleeping on a hill on one side. I never get physical or emotional compliments and I have been neglected in many ways. We rarely have sex. Several months goes by with no sex. He forgot our five year anniversary. I work 45 hours per week and drive an hour to work each way. I go in early, so usually have to rely on him to drop the kids off, then I pick them up in the afternoons. I pay the majority of the bills in my house. I had bought the house on my own a few years before we were married. His job doesn't pay quite as much as mine and he is renovating the condo he owns that was a rental and wound up with water and mold damage. Free time and money has been spent on the condo the last couple of years. I have picked up about 35 pounds since we were married and was 30 pounds overweight at the time. I don't know if my weight is the factor, but I don't think that really is. I don't want to cast the blame on him, but I feel like I have been a fool for so long. He has talked about splitting up several times and says he doesn't care about us. Any time we argue he walks away from it and it's never discussed. I know I am being such a fool the more I write about this, but I don't want to leave myself and my family hanging. I worked too hard to have what little money I have. I financially can't make it by myself with all the bills, am overwhelmed by everything going on in life and don't know how I would be able to physically handle everything with me having to go into work before childcare is open. Flexibility at work is not an option. I don't want to live the rest of my life without sex and with loneliness and I don't know what God would expect out of me and decisions I would make. Can you please help with any advice or with what the Christian way would be. What would God consider neglect? My husband will probably come around in a month or two wanting intimacy, but he is ofcourse a man and it probably wouldn't matter whom it is to him. I don't think he is having an affair either. My gut feeling does not take me there. I don't think he has it available for anyone.

Start with a few small steps. Make some changes in your diet. Save a small amount of money and start making a financial plan. Think about what you really want in life and then start moving towards it. There is a lot of abuse through neglect. Your husband is not loving you as a husband should. When you are ready then tell him what you would like in a marriage. Ask him what kind of life he is interested in having in the future. I am sorry because I know this is very hard emotionally. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE.

I agree with FS. This did not happen overnight and will not be corrected overnight. By taking small steps both in the relationships and finances you will be better able to see what works best.
For a lot of reasons the weight needs to be brought into line. I know it is very difficult because if you are like most people depression tends to make us hungry, but you know it is not healthy and you want to be there for your son regardless of what happens between you and your husband.
The fact that you are so concerned lets us know what type of a person you are; so I will end as FS did. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE.
May you find Peace.

I suppose I would be the refuser in all this. I honestly don't mean to, I didn't wake up one morning and say "gosh you know what would be so much fun? Making my husband suffer." I had two babies, gained fifty pounds and now have two little ones grabbing at me and demanding things of me and climbing on me and screaming at each other all day long... And when they go to bed I have blissful silence in which no one is asking anything of me. My second pregnancy was very difficult, and we went as long as a month without sex. I feel that that time changed my perspective on sex to "chore" rather than "joy," and now for the life of me I just cannot change it back. It doesn't help that I have body image issues because of the way my children have changed me, but I'm at the point where I am living in a loveless marriage while my husband is living in a sexless one. This article and the three years worth of comments have made me see that yes I do need to make more of an effort, but I'm frustrated that my husband thinks that every single problem in our marriage can be solved if I just have sex with him more. It can't all be my fault.

No, it is not all your fault. But is is partly your fault. And you need to speak with each other about this. Start by explaining that you want him and need him to be there for you.

i'm a 32 year old married man. Me and my wife both rededicated our lives to god back in November. But ever since then something has changed with her. We have been married for 3 years and been together for 6. We haven't really had much of a sex life. My drive is sky high. My wife has none and has been rejecting me more and more especially over the past three months. She has refused to talk frankly about sex for several years now. Yesterday she told me that she has no drive or desire for me. She also stated that she would be happy if we never had sex again. I'm going bonkers. I do not know what to do. I've been praying and praying and praying for answers. I do not want to go through a divorce but i don't what to lose my mind either. Please Help!

start by reading here. feel free to look at some of the stories I posted (most I did not write just reposted from other places) - read "All that glitters", ask questions.

At some point you will need to speak with her but get your stuff together before you take that step

Women's path love..passion..sex drive Men's path sex drive...passion..love

I am no expert, but in the morning, a married couple should be in love with limps in a pretzel.

With a refuser, the chain is broken in multiple points. Men do not just want sex, it is the most obvious sign that affection and marital love are lost. Do you agree?

My dilemma is due to my wife's illness that has reduced any sexual activity to none. I know she didn't wish this upon herself (or me) yet I struggle contstantly with my libido which is quite healthy for a 50 year old. My mental assent to this issue is being overwhelmed by my unmet needs. I wish I knew how to deal with this problem. I'm dreadfully lonely and frustrated. I'm not going to divorce her so I can't think of any alternatives other than self gratification. I'm not seeking an affair. Any prayers and advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

I think your dedication and faithfulness to your wife is exemplary. It must be such a hard place to live in emotionally and physically, having your needs denied by circumstances rather than someones choice, yet still your reality.

You didnt describe your wife's illness so other options for mutual intimacy may be completely out of the picture or maybe you have not thought of them?

Self gratification is ok and a quick fix that helps relieve stress but it doesnt fulfill the basic need for intimacy and connection within relationship.

Is there nothing the two of you can do to intimately connect? Intercourse is only a part of that and since that is impossible would touching kissing, having her be apart of your self gratification every now and then be an option to at least give you an emotional connection?

Have you shared your feelings of desiring her and missing the intimacy between you..not in a guilt trip sort of way but a possible meeting of the minds and hearts to be able to come up with a way that you are not so overwhelmed by your unmet needs.

Again, I understand that I am really totally clueless and shooting in the dark here with the full circumstances of her illness and your sexual activity spoken as NONE may be in fact NONE with no hope of anything.

I know that in times like these hopelessness, despair, and fear can shut down our minds ability to think outside the box for solutions so that was my

Please forgive me if I overstepped in anything I might have asked or suggested.

I am praying for you. It is a sad set of circumstances to become apart of your life and such a young age.

I am the eternal optimist...most of the time ;)

Praying xx

Hi Lynn,
Thank you for your kind words and prayer. I didn't consider anything you've said to be overstepping your bounds or improper. My wife is suffering with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. I have suggested different aspects of intimacy other than intercourse and she has simply changed the subject. She is very sensitive to the fact that our lack of intimacy is due to her illness and any words of encouragement have not been received well. Any guilt is self imposed as I don't say anything to make her feel worse. She does sense my frustration which I can't hide sometimes. I do have my limitations. Thankfully, we don't have any children (except for our cat who thinks she is our child!) so that is not an issue. It's also very difficult to try to have pleasure when your wife is in terrible pain. I have the curse/blessing of being empathetic so I can't separate my needs from her pain. It is certainly not a simple situation.

Thanks again for your compassion. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please don't hesitate to share it with me. Even a simple "I understand you're hurting" goes a long way. :-)

I know many women with those ailments and while they are debilitating AT TIMES...it is not usually ALL THE TIME/FOREVER.

My worst fears for you were that she had had a stroke or accident that paralized making her unable to perform the simpliest of intimate acts.

How long has she had these conditions? There are countless meds for pain and control of the symptoms ( which I am well sure you are aware of) that will give people who suffer with these and other autoimmune diseases productive lives. Maybe not AS ACTIVE in life as most would be, but still somewhat ACTIVE...not completely halted in their tracks.

Before she became ill you had an active sex life? I understand she feels badly at times, but to leave your husband feeling lonely, frustrated with unmet needs as well as change the subject when you have brought up possible solutions to help you feel more connected seems a bit selfish.

Giving your wife the benefit of the doubt because you obviously love her much and she must be a phenomenal woman to hold such great faithfulness in you do you think she is shut down emotionally and intimately because she actually feels so badly physically all time or in her lack of libido? Could it be she suffers from Depression that literally kills the sex drive. All of these things can be fixed to bring you back together in maybe not a FULL ON sex life but one that is at least more than nothing.

Of course this type of renewed intimacy will not happen on its own. It would take a coming together of the two of you to TALK about the issues rather than deny, hide or ignore.

If not in counseling already do you think she or you both might seek out help to cope with the illness as well as encourage her self esteem that would boost her emotionally to be more open to meeting her husbands needs? It is an unrealistic expectation of hers and yours to think you can completely cut sex out of your lives, never talk about it, only stuff emotions and think that it will not fester into something very ugly in the future. Better to face forward the issues as painful as they may be and come to understandings between you.

Its like this HUGE ELEPHANT in the room between you two and the expanse between you will only grow larger as the days weeks months years pass on.

Is she totally incapacitated? Does she not shop? Cook? Clean? Is she in constant pain excruciating pain 24/7? Does the RA and fibromyalgia dictate her whole life?

I can understand you not being able to enjoy yourself and experience pleasure if she is in total pain all the time...to do so makes you the selfish one.

There has to be a balance, a mediation between the two of you as it should be in all aspects of marriage.

Again..I pray I have not overstepped. I really do understand the pain of loneliness, and rejection. My SM is on the mend but its been a long time coming. I have lived faithful for 30 years with a refuser..who refused for no good reason other than a load of lame excuses for not wanting intimacy or sex.

I am glad that my story is not yours. At least there is a physical reason for your situation, but RA and fibromyalgia in my understanding should not completely halt a sex life. Depression and self depreciation comes with chronic illness as well. Even if she felt well enough in her body to be intimate with you, the mental turmoil could be hard to overcome.

Thinking of you and praying you can find the strength, courage and words to express yourself and your needs to your wife and that she will be as empathetic towards you as you are to her.

xx

Well, she's been ill for 11 years, our sex life before wasn't that spectacular, not so much due to her sickness but to her unwillingness in effort. There are degrees of RA and hers is on the very painful and debilitating side. She's on SSID and I cook, clean, do laundry...you name it. We actually did go to a "therapist" once who thought I was selfish for wanting sex when she was hurting as much as she is. It was a nightmare. As far as meds are concerned, she is denied meds that would help her by medicare. It's a long story, but to shorten it up...I have to graduate college and find a job with benefits before she can (hopefully) get the help she needs. Here's another thing; I'm torn between wanting sex and not at all. 4 years (and counting) is a long time and I'm becoming less interested in sex with her as time progresses. She is dreadfully overweight and cannot exercise. She is also hyper sensitive. When you were mentioning love for my wife...I do want to share that my love for God and his word and not wanting to violate it, is more of an impetus than love for her. I'm trying to immerse myself into other activities (guitar, art, writing) in order to deal with this situation. I don't see any other way to see it being resolved. I wish I did. Maybe, someday it will have some form of resolution...I don't see it in the near future.

Thanks again for your words.

My heart hurts for you. Feeling trappec is an awful feeling.

Also surpressing your sex drive can work for a time....been there done that but the lonliness and feel if utter abandonment in what was created by God for us in relationship to not be alone can overwhelm our emotions in a split second thru a commercial song or simply watching others in a relationship that is in proper balance. It literally can become a mental and emotional health issue for us who are refused. I am truly sorry for your pain. I hope you find understanding acceptance and a respite from your life here on EP. There are some wonderfully caring people here.

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My husband is verbally abusive.During rages his face turns purple and he screams. He calls me names and berates me. Though he hasn't gotten physical, I have to leave the house and get away from this as it can go on for hours. I have lost myself over this, and don't know what to do at age 57 and recently having health issues.
I have given up trying to talk to him about any subject that could possibly cause his anger to flare. I am usually shaking having heart palpatations. I feel I cannot safely discuss anything that may be a different viewpoint than his own.
It has been 30 years. In the last 5 years I have begun to disassociate, and do want to be close to him at all. When he asks me why, I say I cannot discuss it, for when I say how I feel he will deny he did anything in anger, even saying it never happens and if there are problems they come from me and more arguments ensue.
He could not be an angry person, doesn't yell etc.. He says it is just my imagination! He is a charming lovable serving person to the general public and he denies he has anger issues with the counselors, and they usually believe him and some who don't he won't hear them out.
I know he is frustrated sexually and if he begins to wander and be with other women, is it warranted because of my cold nature towards him? I used to forgive forgive forgive him and deny it was a problem, just loving him anyway. But now I am becoming ill over this.

I forgot to ask this question that is plaguing me daily, am I wrong to be so cold towards my husband because of his abuse? I cringe when he hugs me or touches me. I have wanted to separate to be free from this even if it means living in a women's shelter and beginning my life over. But I am full of dread over doing this and I don't know what God thinks. I want to do the right thing.

And really what it comes down to is this..

No one, even biblical, said a husband and wife should stay together through abuse. Verbal abuse is abuse. If he isn't willing to work on reducing his abusive nature then tell him you won't tolerate it, get a counsellor, find some self-esteem, then decide what you want to do. You must be able to love yourself for a relationship to work, if you can't it will fail.

I believe my loves me only mentally i am in a sexless marriage. I tried talking to him about it and he walks out the room or turns his back on me. I am a Christian and love my husband. I feel my marriage is not going to survive. I am scared.

I've always believed unless there was abuse or infidelity, a couple should work their problems out. Now though, I am struggling with the temptation to leave. I have read that withholding sex could be considered unfaithful since most people expect they will have sex when they get married, and when they don't, it's like they've been deceived. Sex is what makes a marriage a marriage and not just another friendship. I did get sex regularly for 16 years, so where does that put me? Need me some divine assistance to know what to do.

Matthew 5:28 Just a lusty thought is as bad as adultery. That standard I am continually struggling to meet. I do not have the gift of celibacy. I do burn and I know that I need to control it, but need some divine assistance.

Thankyou for this article. I am a Christian woman who celebrated her 1st wedding anniversary recently. On the outside I look like a happily married woman - truly my husband is wonderful and handsome & kind and I love Him very much, but I am suffering in silent due to sexual neglect. He never initiates sex, it is always me, except in about 2 occasions in the whole yr that I can think of. I have expressed my hurt about this several times often with tears in my eyes & we tried counsellng but nothing has changed. It is damaging my self esteem and i feel so lonely, often cry myself to sleep at the thougt that my husband does not find me sexually attractive or want to make love to me. We were together 2 yrs b4 we married and both believed in no sex before marriage, but we had passion and were often tempted which was fun, so I had an idea/ was led to believe that we would have a great sex life as a married couple. But It's like he went off me immediately after the wedding. This article has given me scriptures to read and things to think about to help what I to do , But my concern is if i am having a problem now , the early in the marriage.. what does future hold of us. Ps I am 3 months pregnant now. But Thankyou for yr posts , it's reassuring to know I am not alone, others going through the same

I am so sorry you are having to go through this as I have. Your story is as mine, except I STAYED when after 3 weeks of marriage he no longer wanted me. 30 years later I am miserable. PLEASE PLEASE..DO ALL YOU KNOW TO GET HELP for your marriage (Im trying to be hopeful because with God all things are possible) but if it dont work GET OUT! GET OUT! You cannot imagine what 30 years of this heartache does to a person.

Thankyou LymLee828 for your reply. Do you have any tips about how to survive that long ( 30 yrs ) ! I am finding it hard to make it through the months in this/ the first year of out marriage. without episodes of crying my heart out/ sleepless night wondering why he has no interest in me sexually. I am asking because I am 6 months pregnant now - and want to stay in the marriage for the sake of our child. So I thought if I can just find ways to cope in the situation I am in..

Sorry to be so crude, but I tried ************ - it is a quick fix but then I realise it is not about sex, but about feeling wanted, loved, desired &amp; needed by him. So does not help. I was thinking about maybe finding a male friends from
A distance eg online , just to feel wanted again.

At the moment I find prayer &amp; focusing on God helps a bit. Also I keep a photo of my younger sister with her husband on my wall, they are standing looking at eachother &amp; smiling &amp; she has such happiness in her eyes. He is a wonderful husband &amp; they have a great sex life. Just knowing that she is happy and in a great marriage where she feels loved - makes me feel better . To know that my baby sister is not having to endure the pain I am going through. These 2 things are keeping me going at the moment.

But...Happy New Year to everyone!!! I had a lovely Xmas, my husband bought me lots of presents as usual . It is nice , but the best present would be for him
To make love to me, but I will not say because I have mentioned so may times in the past about it, i don't want to appear like I am begging . He has not make any jesture to have sex now since nov 25th ( that was after I talked to him his upset I was about the lack of intimacy)

I know your heartache. There are many ways to cope but NONE OF THEM ARE WORTH IT. I remember the years of crying myself to sleep every night. I remember the years of anger, resentment, frustration etc. I remember the years where I simply suppressed all my feelings, needs and desires. At the end of it all..is lonliness, heartbreak and a loss of a person...yourself.

My marriage has taken a turn for the best. I finally had a HIROSHIMA MOMENT..where I WENT bezerk on my husband after years of suppression...I was a mess...it was not nice...it was ugly and HYSTERICAL..no one should ever get pushed so far as to be that emotionally messed up.

For some reason my husband 'got it'. That was November and we had had more sex in the last month than in the last 3 years..but if I were you...looking back..at all the wasted years..all the pain, and hurt..I would get out of this marriage. Not everyone here gets miracles like I got. I am thankful for mine, but so many dont get theres.

I know you have the baby coming and that makes it harder. Raising a child in a home where frustration, anger, and resentment grow every day with a mother who is mentally and emotionally suppressed due to rejection and unhappiness will not do your child any favours.

DO EVERYTHING YOU KNOW TO GET HIM TO HEAR YOU AND TRY...DO ALL THAT YOU KNOW...and if he doesnt want to care about your needs you need to walk away. LOVE IS NOT SELFISH AND WITHHOLDING yourself from your spouse is SELFISH.

I feel for you sweetie. We are here for you.

Thankyou for your advise, will do that. Ps soo pleased for you that yr husband has finally listened :-)

If your husband refuses to talk about your concerns, he is dismissing your feelings, and if he refuses couple counselling and sex therapy then I would get out now. If you stay and try to endure this SM, you will eventually become very ill with depression and the like... which will leave you unable to care for your child. Believe me, I went through the same thing, made excuses for him, blamed myself... So I repeat, if he refuses to honour your need for intimacy, the GET OUT, sooner than later.

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EIT, I missed this story last year- maybe on vacation, or just dismissed it because of the "Christian" title. I'm Christian but my denomination is a very over-the-top-liberal variety. <br />
<br />
Anynow, excellent post. Rated up and favourited. <br />
"Can someone claim to be a faithful spouse simply ba<x>sed on the fact that they do not have sex with other people?" = gold.

I am writing this as a husband, the victim of a sexless marriage. As a Christian, I have endured a marital union with minimal, although not zero, sexual interaction for well over 10 years. I have not wanted to divorce my wife because, despite her neglect of my very real male instinctive needs, I still love her dearly and I do not believe that divorce is the best outcome in any but the most dire of marital issues.<br />
Having said this, I cannot possibly communicate the depth of the hurt that she has caused me over this period of time. I have well lost count of the number of time that I felt so devistated at her ongoing rejection that I could have almost cried. Yet she has never found out, she has never been with me during those times, usually she is glued to the TV for hours on end. (And being a typical male, I have never told her.) <br />
I actually strongly believe that the TV habit may well have been largely responsible for the problem.<br />
As a man, the male sex drive is well-known and I need not elaborate, but what is less well publicised is that, to a man, sex is much more than simply the normal, natural and ongoing need to fulfil a male, chemically driven instinct. This is something that many women simply do not understand, very likely because men have never bothered to explain it to them, but sex is far more vital than simply satisfying "the urge". <br />
For men, to freely and willingly receive sexual intimacy from his wife is a constant and ongoing reassurance of her love for him, her acceptance of him as he is, her appreciation of all he does for her, her willingness to give something back to him in a very real and beautiful way and much, much more.<br />
So what then, is the message that a man receives when his wife becomes habitual refuser? Effectively, it is the exact opposite to everything above. It denies him her love, it sends him the message that she doesn't want him, that she doesn't appreciate him or accept him as he is, that she doesn't want to give anything back to him, it builds walls and barriers between them, it will eventually cause him to instinctively not want her; and much much worse.<br />
Many women (and men too, for that matter) who fall into that trap of being lazy with sex try to justify their neglect by saying "I don't feel like it any more". But when you think about it, is this really valid? When my wife indicates that she doesn't "feel like it", I am reminded of all the years, well over 20, that I would get up and go to work every day, in many cases to jobs that I didn't really enjoy. I didn't do that because I felt like it, I did it because my wife, a stay at home mum, needed me to do it for her. She needed my income to put food on the table and keep a roof over her and the children's heads. I remember getting out of bed at 2 AM and travelling two hours to go to work because there was no local work. I certainly didn't feel like doing that, and on another occasion with another job, riding a motorcycle to work, at 7 AM and in -5°C temperatures. I certainly didn't feel like doing those things, but I did them because she needed me to do that for her. I did it to meet her needs as my wife. Even today, as I do often more than my share of chores around the house, cleaning up, washing dishes and more, I don't do those things because I enjoy them. I do them because she needs me to help her.<br />
In return for all this, all I ask for is the some of her attention and affection from time to time. It costs her nothing but a bit of her time and effort. Compared to the above, it almost sounds trifle. And yet her view is that because she doesn't "feel like it", she doesn't have to.<br />
I am well aware of the statistics regarding sexless marriages. I recall that one report stated that sexless marriages have an 87% divorce rate. Mine must be in the 1 out of 10 that hasn't gone that way. The truth is, that being lazy in offering intimate love to your spouse is like playing Russian roulette with your marriage, except that you are using a pistol with nine bullets and one empty chamber.<br />
I guess that what I am about the same now will probably have the some people up in arms against me but I feel I must say this. (This applies equally to men as it does to women, I must make that clear.)<br />
Biblically, morally, maritally (Remember those vows and promices? "To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for better or for worse ?) and in every other sense, unless you have a serious physical disability, an injury or illness that actually physically prevents you from enjoying a sexual relationship, there is simply no excuse whatsoever for not fulfilling your spouse's sexual and intimate needs! period!<br />
In particular, "I don't feel like it" is not a satisfactory excuse. It never has been and never will be.<br />
If you "don't feel like it", when your spouse is communicating to you in the way that you understand your spouse to be sending you "that" message (only you know your spouse) then it is still up to you to fulfil the need of that person just as you expect them to fulfil your needs. You need to understand that no other person in the entire world can properly satisfy your spouses needs, you are the only one!<br />
Women, you need to understand that your man will be what you make him into. If you refuse to satisfy his natural intimate needs, and it will not be very long before you notice that the husband who you once loved is turning into a very frustrated, discontented, unpleasant man to live with. And remember -- yes, you are the one who has to live with him. You have the power to keep him content and settled, you also have the power, by refusing to meet his needs, of turning him into a very unhappy man. Which will almost certainly result in a very unhappy you.<br />
So what do you do if your husband comes to you communicating a clear need, but you "don't feel like it"? Well, as we say where I come from, "suck it up and make the effort!" For him. If he is prepared to make sacrifices fot you, then what excuse could you possibly have not wanting to do the same in return? If, as I have done, he has been a faithful husband who has maintained your lifestyle over 20 years, then sacrificing 20 or 30 minutes of your precious time and effort on giving and receiving some intense pleasure from time to time is really a very small gift to give back, yet trust me, it will mean so much to him that it defies desc<x>ription. And who knows, you may even enjoy it yourself.

Buddy, you are not alone. I have been in my marriage for only two months,and she has not even consumated the marriage. When we first met, I respected her wishes to save herself for marriage. We still were able to show each other affection. But now, I cannot even get a hug out of her. I work in a high-pressure career. There are days when I come home and I just want a hug and kiss, and I cannot even get that.

She has given me every excuse in the book: She is going through her period,she is pre-menopausal, she is tired, blah blah blah. It is making me very angry and fustrated. She absolutly refuses to talk to me about it. She has refused counseling. She has even told me recently that she does not even want sex, although she is nagging me for a vasectomy.

Of course,I am supposed to pay all of the bills.. She knows the financial pressure that I am under. Yet she shrugs it off and tells me that I can take care of it. Asking her to contribute is like an insult to her.

You are right, it is turning me into one misreable SOB.