Don’t Touch Me: I’m Angry!

Sometimes in marriage, you have a disagreement. And sometimes in marriage, your spouse hacks you off so much, you imagine ripping his head off and throwing it in his face. (Yes, that is logistically impossible, but we’re talking feelings here!) How dare he! What was he thinking? Does he care about me? (Or substitute “she” for “he” if needed.) For most of us, there is no one we feel closer to and no one who can send us from calm to unhinged in seconds like our spouse.

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip ArtAs you lie in bed late at night seething and sizzling with anger and hurt, your beloved scoots over and…apologizes? Admits he was completely wrong and you were completely right? Begs for forgiveness and thanks you repeatedly for being the brilliant and sexy wife that you are? Oh, how we wish!

Noooo, he strokes your body and suggests a sexual encounter. What??!!You’ve got to be kidding!

At that point, you’re thinking, “The last thing I want to do with you right now is have sex!” You’re not even sure you want to share the same house at this moment, much less entangle your bodies on the same bed! Huff, puff, roll eyes, turn over, groan, push hands away. “Don’t touch me, I’m angry!”

If this has never happened to you, thank heaven. You may wish to go read a different blog post about cute puppies or the newest fashion trends. I truly am thrilled that you’ve got this one worked out, but the other 98.3% of us need to consider this very real problem.

If, as many suggest, we are supposed to be open to the idea of physical intimacy whenever desired by our spouse, what do you do when you can’t even stand the sight of his face, much less his other body parts? Do you pray for a better attitude? Sigh and think to yourself, Let’s just get this over with? Pop up out of bed and demand that you converse for two hours to work out your issues before he can touch one precious inch of your fabulous body?

Ephesians 4:26 says, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Easier said than done, right? Not all marital disagreements can be resolved in five minutes. At times, in fact, you have every reason to seethe and no desire to make up.

Let me first say that I have not mastered this one. I’m working on it.

However, I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer. Your approach probably depends on several things. For instance, if it was a one-time faux pas on his part, you should probably breathe deep, pray for calm, and let it go. After a few minutes of sexual arousal, perhaps you won’t even remember that moment when he suggested you take cooking lessons from his mother. (And he will no longer care that you can’t cook.)

If the issue is a huge problem or an ongoing pattern, you may need to converse before engaging in sex. Explain (calmly) that you are very hurt by the argument and want to reconnect emotionally before reconnecting physically. But unless it causes your skin to actually burn, try holding hands or cuddle as you talk; touching your spouse can diffuse the anger, make you more willing to hear one another out, and remind you of your affection for one another.

If your anger is based on an issue that isn’t likely to be resolved tonight or ever, or if it’s based as much on the bad day you had or a lack of sleep (see Don’t Touch Me: I’m Exhausted), then you may merely need time to cool down. Figure out what will ease your tension. For me, it’s often a bath. Give me 10 minutes in a hot bubble bath with a good book and a glass of wine, and my stress level decreases substantially. Then I can accept the fact that he will never put all of his shoes in the closet and I simply need to step around the mine field of footwear in my bedroom. Or overlook the abandonment I felt when he retreated to the bedroom while kids were screaming because what really bothered me was the stressful day I had. (I would have escaped too, if I had seen the opening first!)

But I agree with Ephesians. If you often go to bed angry, if you take your anger out on your sex life, if your spouse encounters wrath like Khan when he brushes up against you after an argument, you need to reread 1 Corinthians 13.  In verse 5, it says that love is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs.

If not for forgiveness, reconciliation, and hello, make-up sex, how many of us would even have a marriage after a few years? Deal with anger when it roars its ugly head. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt and work it out. Remember that this person vowed to love you for a lifetime. And that lifetime includes tonight . . . in your bedroom.

9 thoughts on “Don’t Touch Me: I’m Angry!

  1. Anonymous

    Wow, this is a tough one, but amazingly & appropriately timed. Just today, he admitted to lying about something pretty serious. He has apologized and says it won’t happen again. However, I do not believe him. It’s not the first time. I know I’m to turn the other cheek, but I’m out of cheeks. I know I’m to forgive 70 x 7, but I think we’re pretty close to that number. (I also know that number is not to be taken literally :>). I get the spirit of the law; yet it’s extremely difficult. And I know what he’ll want to do this evening as he does not have to work in the morning…

  2. Kristi Walker

    I actually really needed to read/hear this today. Thanks for being obedient in writing what God lays on your heart! We’re not actually arguing NOW…but, a few days ago I thought I might just snatch him bald-headed! I’m thinking a good apology(from ME!)and maybe even some make-up time are in order at our house.

    Kristi 🙂

  3. J

    @Anonymous – If you’re dealing with a long pattern of lying and trust is gone, perhaps you need to seek help. I am not a doctor, therapist, or minister, but you might wish to consult someone (professional, not a well-meaning friend who will side with you and want to punch him, as good as that might sound). Being intimate with your spouse involves some vulnerability, and a secure relationship is an important part of that equation. It may be tempting to cut him off, but that might not be the answer either. You’re in my prayers.

  4. Jhansi

    Thank you for this well-written approach to this very real situation in marriage! These words were practical, not just fluffy, and following your, oh-so-difficult-to-actually-do advice will be uplifting to the sexual relationship and therefore the entire marriage, not harmful. Thank you.

  5. Zookie

    This is so true! And also very difficult. I was always one who did not want to have sex until I had thawed out and calmed down. But after learning some things, I decided to go with the make up sex. It requires a humble heart and that can be so hard! But I was pleasantly surprised that it worked, and worked well!

  6. My name is J too

    Thank you for this. I am searching frantically for answers to a problem I never dreamed I would have. My husband and I have been married for over twenty years. We both came to this marriage as virgins. Our sex life has been beautiful and precious. Last week he was away on a business trip and he gave into the temptation of pornography. He confessed this to me and I truly believe that he had never done this before and is truly repentant. I am making steps toward forgiveness but still struggling with the pain. The thing that scares me most is that his touch is completely abhorrent to me. It makes me tense and nauseous to have his hands on me. (He has not pressured me for sex. He truly is seeking to comfort himself and me with non-sexual touch.) He says that he prayed for forgiveness from the Lord and asked that those images be erased from his mind. He says that God has wiped it clean. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get it out of my own mind. I know more prayer is in order for me. Is there any thing else I should do?? I want so much to move past this and reclaim what we had. I’m so, so afraid it’s lost forever.

    1. J Post author

      I’m so sorry. I understand this is so hurtful. I know a lot of people want to think otherwise, but most wives understand at some level that their husband viewing porn feels like cheating. Of course, I also understand the constant temptation men face in our porn-hyped culture. Your story is too common.

      Yet, this is something you two can overcome together. One marvelous thing here: He confessed. He understood that it was wrong, he took responsibility, he wanted your forgiveness. That’s a really good sign. The next question I’d have for him is what, if any, measures he needs to put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Because while God may have swiped those images away from his brain, the temptation may rise again…and he needs a strategy for dealing with it. He may need to discuss that with someone else, perhaps a male mentor who can help him know better what to do, but it would be good either way for him to address that question.

      As to your struggling with this information, here are a few things to consider: (1) He messed up. But it’s just that. A mess-up. And it can be overcome. If you messed up in some big way, you’d likely want his grace, and he wants yours. (2) Continue praying for wisdom, peace, and strength for your marriage. God is faithful. (3) Coach yourself over the humps. When fear and insecurity arise that make you question your intimacy or your husband, remind herself of all of the beauty you have together, that he wanted you to know and be involved in his healing, that it can be marvelous again. Remind yourself that he chose YOU, that YOU are the one he loves and wants to be with. (4) If you need to, get counseling. Talk to a pastor or counselor about your feelings and let them help you grieve and move on. (5) If you continue to struggle, suggest couples counseling and take it from there.

      I hope this helps. Saying a prayer for you both.

  7. My name is J too

    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it so very much. I spent a lot of time yesterday reading through your past posts. The Gospel in the Bedroom was really helpful to my heart. Some of the other info was a good reminder of what an amazing blessing and gift sex is. Today is better. Just a little but better and I think I just need time and his patience which he is so willing to give. Thank you for ministering to me.

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