Job loss is a pretty common occurrence these days, considering the economically strained times in which we currently live. The statistics for unemployment rates are constantly plastered across newspaper headlines and blasted through radio airways; however, it doesn’t become real until it happens to you or someone you love. Losing a job can be a very traumatic and emotional experience for anyone, but it can be especially damaging for a man who is by nature the breadwinner of his family. Unemployment can breed feelings of inadequacy, resentment, unworthiness, and a host of other undesirable feelings that are not conducive to a person’s self-esteem, emotional health, or the prosperity of their marriage. Coping with your husband losing his job can be very challenging. It is often a very fragile period when the roles become reversed and a wife takes on the role as the primary financial supporter and should be approached with care.
As a wife you are your husband’s life partner and by default his primary support system. And, it is during this time that your support is absolutely necessary. While you may not be able to get him a new job, you can certainly make the process easier by providing your husband with the mental and emotional nurturing that he needs to make it through this rough time. Here are some tips on how to not only to support your spouse during his time of unemployment, but to also take advantage of this time to strengthen the bond that you already share.
1. Be expressive of your gratitude: He may already be feeling down on himself because he is currently unable to provide for you financially, so be sure to encourage him by letting him know just how much you appreciate all that he does provide. Let him know that he is more than just the family’s breadwinner, but he is also the protector, the guide, the leader, the example.
2. Be reassuring: Let him know that you recognize that his current lack of employment is not a result of laziness or lack of ambition, but merely a rough patch that the two of you will work through as a team.
3. Be attentive: He will eventually want to express his feelings, worries, and concerns, even if he doesn’t want to initially. When he is ready to talk about it don’t be too busy to listen. Allow him ample time to express how he feels. Don’t dominate the entire conversation, allow him to get it all out. It is also a good idea to wait until he is ready to talk. Don’t nag and probe, this can sometimes make a bad situation worse.
4. Be suggestive: Offer ways to possibly cut down on expenses or generate more income until he is back on his feet. Maybe you can cut back on your shopping, put forth more of an effort to hunt for bargains, or pick up a few extra hours at work.
5. Be affectionate: Now more than ever he could probably use a little extra TLC. Make him feel wanted, do little things to show how much you care.
6. Be understanding: It can be really tough landing a new gig in this economy, so try to understand that getting a new job can take time. Trust that he is actively looking for work and try to be patient.
7. Pray together: Uniting spiritually not only strengthens bonds, but it also makes burdens easier to bear. In 2010 the Huffington Post reported “researchers found that people in same-faith relationships and partners who attended services regularly were more satisfied with their relationship.”
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