When Your Spouse Is Unemployed

sad husband

When a job loss happens, it can feel devastating to a family, and even more so to one-income couples.

However, Scripture lists the benefit of being a couple working through a difficult situation such as this. It reminds us that “two are better than one . . . for it they fall, one will lift up his fellow” (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12).

My husband and I have gone through some job losses during our marriage, and have learned how to lift each other up when needed. Here are four ways we’ve discovered to work through the challenging months following a job loss.

Stay Positive

It’s easy to think about what your mate could have done differently to retain the job, but in the long run, there is no way of knowing if any or all would have made a difference. Often the determining factor was an organization’s budget or reorganization. Instead of rehashing what may have caused the loss, focus on your spouse’s efforts to succeed and past accomplishments. Encourage your spouse by concentrating on their strengths and how they’re an asset to any company. Also, discuss together how this is an opportunity to trust that God is opening doors of new opportunities.

Instead of rehashing what may have caused the loss, focus on your spouse’s efforts to succeed and past accomplishments.

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Be a Visionary for Your Spouse

It’s natural for your spouse to experience grief, pain, and depression at times—all emotions that can hinder attempts in looking for a new job. After a lay-off your spouse may think they’ll never be hired again or if so, will have to start all over. However, help your spouse to look ahead rather than look back. Help them see beyond the situation to look for an even better job than they had before.

When my husband lost a job a few years ago, I kept thinking that with all his experience, he could be hired as a vice president—a step up from his past positions. I started telling him how I saw his next step as that of vice president. Soon after my husband was hired as a chaplain, his supervisor decided to promote him but wanted his input on what that would mean. With all the cheerleading I had been doing with him to be a VP, he suggested the title—and she agreed!

Help Carry the Load

In my husband’s past job searches, I helped do much of the footwork for him by looking for openings, submitting his resume, writing his cover letter, and so on. After all, he had to do the interviews, so it helped him save his energy for that and made job searching more of a team effort. I also tracked the positions he’d applied for, as well as filtered the responses, including rejection notifications. Seeing a stream of rejections can have a depressing effect on anyone, so directing correspondence through me helped my husband keep an upbeat, positive attitude.

For couples where the job seeker prefers these tasks, there are other ways you can help carry the load. If one is still employed, that’s a help in itself. In a marriage where the wife stays at home full-time to care for the children and the finances take a quick nose-dive, she may want to look for temporary part-time work to help during the transition between her husband’s jobs. With more telecommuting opportunities opening up, there may also be part-time work from home, or freelance contract work that both partners can find to help during financially lean times.

Trust God with Your Future

Philippians 4:5-7 encourages us to “not worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need.” Of course, this can be easier said than done. But when we do so, the verse promises we will experience God’s peace in a way that will guard our hearts and minds through difficult times. Instead of panicking or feel distressed, trust God to give you direction during trying times. His plan trusting him in the situation to lead, guide, and keep you on the right track, and to offer assistance through lifting each other up during job losses.

Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters and serves as associate editor of Ungrind. Her writing has been published in numerous publications including Focus on the Family Magazine, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, KirkCameron.com, Start Marriage Right, Growthrac and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University with experience in broadcast media and also serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.

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