For those married to the military, I hear a resounding Yes! And you have my admiration and encouragement.
But there are also plenty of us with spouses who work in other fields that struggle with getting face time, much less body time. Frankly, in my own home, we’d have some job-related challenges lately.
Let’s pick apart how a job — yours or your spouses, or even both — could be interfering with the sexual intimacy in your marriage.
1. Time. Do you need quality time or quantity time with your spouse? I’ve never even understood that question, since it seems like you can’t get to quality time if you have no quantity. The correct answer is both.
Practically speaking, dealing with finances, raising children, handling household issues, etc., if all you get is a few minutes together at the end of a long day, you’ll troubleshoot the urgent stuff and never get to those moments that really bond you together in intimacy. Albeit maybe one of you thinks sex is the urgent stuff, but if the other spouse doesn’t feel that way…
You have to get some time together, in the same room, relaxed and comfortable enough to get naked and get busy. But if you’re putting in long hours on a project or spending a lot of time on the road with business trips, it’s hard to get all the time you want to devote to sexual intimacy.
One idea: Get creative with your time! Too often we expect to carve out an evening of romance and intimacy, but maybe that just won’t work right now. Maybe your foreplay needs to happen over the course of the day with romantic texts and flirtations and anticipating one another, so that when you do reconnect, you don’t need quite as much time to get things going. Or look at other times of the day — maybe a “nooner” or “afternoon delight.” On a Saturday, could you let the kids watch a show or play in the other room and devote that time to your sexual intimacy with your husband?
2. Exhaustion. Working long hours or sleeping in unfamiliar places can wreak havoc with your sleeping schedule. My husband and I have both stayed up extra late or gotten up way too early to finish a project on time. And then when the bed comes into view, all you want to do is sleep.
Sex takes some energy, at least to get started. If the second you hit the pillow, you practically pass out from work fatigue, good luck having a sex life.
One idea: Take a power nap. I wasn’t a big believer in these until recently, but they really are helpful. Just a 20-minute snooze can do wonders for your energy level. Maybe you could squeeze one in while the kids are sleeping or right before you embark on the evening schedule.
3. Stress. When a spouse has a low sex drive, one of the big questions you should ask is how is his/her work stress. Whether it’s a high-pressure, office-focused job or caring for a constant toddler at home, the stress of our jobs can lock up our libido and make it hard to ease into lovemaking.
I had a friend once who hated her job so much that she threw up every Sunday evening, like clockwork, just thinking about her return to work on Monday. Needless to say, nookie was unlikely to happen with that scenario.
Stress can come from external demands, internal dislike of your job, feeling overwhelmed with deadlines, uncooperative coworkers or employees (or children, from the stay-at-home parents), or a myriad of other things. But the point is that extreme job stress can take its toll, even on our love lives.
One idea: Set some boundaries with your work. If they are sapping you in every way possible, your boss may not understand how it’s affecting your home life. You don’t have to go into a tirade or blame work for whatever ails your intimacy, but go ahead and tell your supervisor you have missed spending time with your husband/wife and really want a day or night off to invest in that relationship. Maybe you can get an extra day on the deadline and take a few hours off or use a vacation day; then make sure you devote that time to your marriage. Let your work know that you’re devoted to doing a good job, but a date night (and more, but you probably don’t want to reveal that part) with your mate would help you keep things smooth at home and refresh you so you can attend better to the job.
So what do you do about these challenges? How can you cope with a job you must work and still have the sexual intimacy your marriage deserves?