Bridget, I can totally commiserate-- my husband washed away an extremely large chunk of our savings (money that he had come into our marriage with so I didn't feel right telling him 'no') to try and start his own trucking business, which also failed. We were in the exact same situation... we have been trying to sell our home but have been unable to. He ended up taking a job driving for FedEx (a serious blow to his ego... he owned a very successful landscaping company in CT and sold it to move for my job) for $13/hr. I took a second job working as a pharmacy tech at CVS, as well as taking on as much freelance software writing work that I could.
The best advice I can give is focus on every day, every hour, at a time. You will make it through this hour. And the next hour. There are resources, exhaust your options. Call the student loan companies if you have to, they WILL negotiate-- even the feds. Everyone is having a hard time right now (the student loan crisis is the new housing crisis), so they will take pretty much any amount you can offer. I would do this before deferring- the interest will kill you and you will never, ever catch up on principal. Sell anything expendable (extra vehicles, etc) to tide you over. Get a second, third job if you have to. I promise you will get through this (your post struck so close to home with me, I'm all emotional now
). It is the holiday season; focus on what you can control and spending time with family. Breathe. Take it day by day-- thinking about what you'll do next week, month, or year is overwhelming and you will shut down. There are options out there, including unemployment extension, debt consolidation, etc. There are also housing payment assistance programs that are short-term. It will look up.
Also, on a more personal note-- I know how hard it can be to deal with the anger or resentment you may feel towards your husband. When things were pretty bad for us, it was SO hard to squash the "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!" feeling. One member here gave me invaluable advice-- instead, be proud of him that he had the guts to at least try. This economy is not friendly to small business owners, and it is only going to get worse in the foreseeable future, unfortunately. But I'm sure he learned a lot, and if he learns from his mistakes he can dream about trying again in the future.