Am I ungrateful?
It’s my birthday. My loving wife surprised me with a trip to Canada, with a room with a view of Niagara Falls… it’s the most enticing, most romantic view I’ve ever seen. At night they light the falls up in different colors, deep cranberry reds, pinks, blues, etc.
We went to dinner around 5 and came back to our hotel room to nap for the evening before returning out to see the night life in Canada, except, I woke up, and DW did not. I proceeded to get dressed, then woke her, only to find that she didn’t want to do anything for the evening, which is her normal behavior when she’s depressed. I tried talking her out of her slump, but it was no help.
- knowing that she suffers from anxiety and depression, I don’t wanna put more on her than she could handle, but it’s my birthday. Although I expected sex to be off of the table, I allowed myself to get my hopes up, and I regret it. I don’t want resentment to settle in, but I feel myself growing cold, and I feel ungrateful. Knowing my wife had a history of sexual abuse, am I wrong for feeling this way?
You are not wrong for wanting to have sex or be physically and emotionally intimate with your spouse. Been there many many times. There’s more to process and explore I’m sure. But so long as it won’t cause you to be tempted to look outside your marriage bed (I’m considering your previous responses) it may be a good idea to go out and at least take a walk or a breather anyway.
If you have the Bible app on your phone, I’ve found it personally helpful to get fresh air and reflect on portions of scripture (Or stare out at your incredible view, or jot down some reflections of your frustration). Matthew 11 is an amazing reflection of God’s desire to shoulder your worries and offer to take in His own light burdens. It’s an invitation to a new identity and reality of your whole, real being.
Just a couple of ideas to try, not an attempt to try to offer any legalistic to-dos. I’ll pray for you and your bride tonight. Happy birthday
It hurts and it’s disappointing no matter what. Your feelings are valid, no matter what is going on in your wife. I can see why you would feel somewhat abandoned, alone and unloved. For intimacies sake, you need to learn to share what’s going on in you with her. Not so she feels like she has a bigger burden to carry but so that she can actually know you.
Now, after fully knowing your feelings are valid and they shouldn’t be dismissed, we can go in and try to be understanding of your wife. Maybe her not wanting to get up and out is linked to her depression, but I can say, as one who doesn’t really fight depression, I like sleep, I prefer to be in the comfort and safety of my home (or temporary home of a room.) This is personality more than a “mood/mental disorder”. I also know what it’s like to be so exhausted, mentally, emotionally and therefore physically, that even the idea of getting up and out can be too much. That doesn’t help you, but it allows for grace to come in with understanding.
You are in the thicket of your vows of “in sickness and in health”, but you also need to be tending to yourself, especially spiritually in relation to the Father and the Son, so that you stay healthy, mentally, emotionally and physically. Find support and encouragement in the body of Christ, so that you aren’t walking this journey, or carrying this burden, alone.
Happy Birthday brother. I am sorry for the disappointment, BTDT. But let us (I am speaking to myself too) remember and practice Phil. 4:4-9,
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
yep, it hurts like nothing much else can hurt – right to the depths of one’s heart. The biggest pain I think is the pain we cause ourselves by making it about us. It’s NOT about you. It’s NOT your fault. You did nothing to cause it. It’s NOT because she doesn’t love you. It’s NOT because your not enough of a man.
Those truths can be of little solace to an aching heart with an erect penis attached to it. But be careful not to do more harm. I’ve not been following your previous statements but I can just about guess where they’ve been. Your words “I expected sex to be off the table” spoke volumes to me. I’ve been there too many times to mention. There is hope still. Not tonight. I’m sorry, but that’s just the best answer right now. The good part about that is that “right now” is not that long. The best thing you can do is let it go and wake up tomorrow with renewed strength and a fresh attitude. If you carry it over, it will only add to your and your wife’s burden.
The practical suggestions given of taking a walk, spending some time in the Word – are excellent. Do them. But also spend some time looking deep inside your love for your wife and find something you can smile about right now. It is SO important to take this away from being about you right now. If you don’t, the pity party will turn into a hurricane party and the storm will blow you away. Get through tonight/today and do your best to let it be gone. Then tomorrow you can start on a new path.
The new path can involve those things that @seekingchange spoke of: sincerely trying to learn what is going on with her for her sake. Listen to her. Make yourself a safe place for her to share. Then share what your feelings are in situations like this one (but I would suggest not doing that for a few days or weeks or months and do not specifically reference this one – she’ll figure it out.) Knowing she has experienced some abuse is in your favor in that many people struggle with that and never know what the issue is. You know. Knowledge is power and should be your ally. It should help ease your pain. It should help you know this is not about you. It should help change your pain to compassion, compassion to love. When you do that, she will feel it and you will be closer to the goal.
To use a golf analogy: you got off into a sand trap with a deep lip tonight. Don’t try to go for the hole with one stroke – because you know what will happen – you’ll be back in the trap probably further from the hole than when you got there. Calm down, chip out on the faraway, play the smart game. And it is a long course with many more traps ahead. Play it wisely.
God bless brother. This is not the end. 🙂
I agree with SC that you need to be honest with her and let her know how you feel.
Perhaps she wanted to do something good with the trip, but got there and didn’t have what she needed to do well with it?
No judgement here, but another thought. I probably would have awakened her anyway and said wife, let’s get out and do something. We are here! We can do this!!! This is better than having it fail out and then going through the feelings, which like my first statement, would require that you are honest with her. One is a positive thing, and the other, while I think necessary, not as positive.
Praying for wisdom for you and her today brother.
I’ll add to what sd595 said; many many times I have had a burst of motivation and desire to do something wonderful for my DH and make the immediate arrangements (like planning the trip) only to get to the actual point and find my burst has faded and I am just pinned down in my depression again like a bug on a science project, Then, knowing that I had been ready, had had energy, had wanted to do something, and now don’t, makes me feel all kinds of guilty and broken and incapable and it compounds the depression.
I have not experienced your wife’s particular cause for depression and anxiety, but their results are real familiar to me and my guess is she was super pumped at some point to make this extraordinary effort for you in surprising you with the trip, and then when, for whatever reason, the depression socked her in the nose, she just didn’t have the reserves to fight it, and then the guilt of missing the opportunity compounded the problem.
I’m not taking away from your legitimate pain at all, just trying to give you a peek into how she might be feeling from someone who has lived through these contradictory, frustrating, confusing reactions.