The typical everyday stressors of relationships can be challenging enough for both partners, but add to the mix a layoff or firing and all hell can break loose in a family who doesn’t have a strong foundation to begin with. In every life a little rain must fall, and in every marriage there at some point, will be an obstacle to overcome. Some couples are prepared, and pull out all of the necessary tools and equipment needed to win the battle. Unfortunately, others get stuck and aren’t quite sure what to do next.
My layoff, a few years ago, is still fresh on my mind. I remember, after receiving the upsetting news from management, quickly grabbing my belongings and rushing out of the building to call my husband. I remember walking aimlessly up and down the block with tears streaming down my face. I felt like such a failure. Although my husband’s income was greater than mine, our family still relied on two incomes, and here I was unable to contribute my half. The negative thoughts overwhelmed me, until my husband came immediately to comfort me. His attitude toward my unemployment calmed all my fears and concerns. I was unemployed for a full year before landing my dream job. But my family made it through and we came out even stronger. If you are currently in this situation, please stay encouraged. It will turn around. Below are the do’s and don’t for couples dealing with unemployment:
Don’t Place Blame. The unemployed spouse feels guilty enough and really doesn’t need their partner pointing fingers or blaming them for something they didn’t want to happen either. This is the perfect time to be more united than ever.
Don’t belittle. Making your partner feel less than is the worst thing you can do during this time. Feelings of inadequacy are already very present. Use this time to encourage and praise your spouse for holding down the home front and managing the household.
Don’t highlight the negative. Pointing out what you don’t have, or events you are unable to attend due to the lack of finances is painful for your spouse. Putting yourself in their shoes allows you to view the situation from their perspective. Treat him/her the way you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.
Do pray over your marriage, partner and finances. Praying together as a couple and allowing God to take the lead is the number one priority.
Don’t be too ashamed to ask other prayer warriors to add you to their list.
Do get creative. This is the perfect opportunity to think outside the box. Creating low-cost date nights and meals can be a lot of fun. Researching quick cheap meals, online movie options like Netflix and Redbox will definitely save you money.
Do encourage. Self-doubt surely surfaces during unemployment. Remember your spouse needs to know that you still believe in him/her. Tell them often just how great they are and how the next job is right around the corner. Be prepared to assist with resume writing, interview prep and follow up. You believe you can do anything when you have a loving spouse in your corner.
Do budget carefully. Be realistic about your finances and the fact cuts will need to be made. Honest conversations must be had with the children. They need to understand the changes that will have to take place to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Do count all the other blessings. Consider all of the other things in life right now to be grateful for like family, love and great health!
Remember your spouse will not be unemployed forever. Although it is a struggle, remember, your spouse needs you in their corner now more than ever.
BMWK, are you dealing with unemployment? How are you handling it?