At the peak of the recession in 2009, my husband was laid off from his job in the education field. Little did we know that the season of unemployment we were now facing would endure for five long years. While looking tirelessly for work, my husband went back to school to get his degree and became a stay-at-home dad to our daughter. I took on a second job to help us keep our heads above water. It was hard on the both of us. As the years continued on, there were many tearful days and nights, but we gave everything we had to make sure our marriage and our family weathered the storm.
My husband found a job recently that was exactly what we had been praying for all of this time. Praise God! He posted something about his feelings on finally going back to work in a status update on Facebook that really blew me away. With his permission, I’m sharing it with you all, in the hopes that if you and your spouse are facing difficult times and dealing with unemployment, that you will be encouraged.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., “Strength to Love” (1963)
My husband’s Facebook status:
There are many thoughts and emotions running through my head as I write this. Anyone who has been following me knows that for the last few years, I have been unemployed/underemployed due to layoffs from the recession. And as I sought to finish my Business degree and re-enter the workforce stronger and in a better position to provide for my family, the road has been long and arduous. During that time I have struggled with insecurity, doubt, and heartache, as the inability to provide the necessities my family needs became more and more prevalent in our lives. There were many times we had to go without the simplest of things like enjoying a simple dinner at a restaurant, going to the store just to save on gas, or even sharing a $5 cup of coffee at a cafe, just to make ends meet. We budgeted everything, sacrificed much, and in the end it always seemed like we had very little. Yet, throughout all the crying, frustration and pain, we managed to make it through each and every day.
Not a day went by where I didn’t sit in anguish as my wife worked tirelessly to support us, knowing relief was nowhere in sight.
Every day was a struggle against the rampant negative thoughts of doubt and insecurity. But the most difficult struggle was against the thought of failure — Failure to my wife as a husband. Failure to my daughter as a father. And failure to myself as a man. There truly are no words to explain the depth of this feeling, as it can completely encompass a man’s soul and incapacitate the weakness in his heart. Not a day went by where I didn’t question every decision I made and second-guessed whether it was the right one to make. Not a day went by where I didn’t contemplate every possible scenario to the point of utter frustration. Not a day went by where I didn’t sit in anguish as my wife worked tirelessly to support us, knowing relief was nowhere in sight. Yet in our most dire of situations, the grace of God saw fit to keep us whole.
Yes, God. The big “G,” not the little “g.” I try not to profess too much on social media about my faith for obvious reasons. But in life, my faith is VERY apparent. I wear it like armor, yet I don’t make a statement about it, because I am the type of person to let my life speak for itself. But in this case I am going to make an exception, because He is the only reason I am able to talk about this in a way that is genuine and reflective of the immense joy and relief that comes with announcing that, as of today, I have officially started work as the Digital Project Coordinator for a local graphic design firm.
This past week has been a wellspring of emotions as I contemplated all that I have gone through and all that is now before me. Never have I felt such a sense of overwhelming joy in finally seeing all the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice pay off in a way that only God could have brought us to. If you ask me how my wife and I could pay for two college degrees (in cash), have a baby, take yearly trips to see family and friends, pay for preschool, and buy our first home on ONE SALARY with little to no debt, I honestly couldn’t tell you a thing. Because for all intents and purposes, there is no rational answer as to how this was possible — I am good with money, but I am not a miracle worker. But you know who is? Yeah…God.
My wife and I never had enough for what we wanted, but we always had enough for what we needed. We never lacked for the things most important to us — we have a wonderful roof over our heads, a beautiful daughter who is healthy and in school, and the bond between my wife and I has been made infinitely stronger, forged in the fires of grief and uncertainty.
And to my wife, who has suffered much and bore more than any woman should carry, I say thank you.
Thank you for loving me, even when I couldn’t love myself…
Thank you for lifting me up, when I felt low…
Thank you for inspiring me, when I couldn’t encourage myself…
Most importantly, thank you for never giving up on me. Over the years you would have had every reason to criticize me, yet you chose to care for me. Without your love and understanding, I could not have made through this difficult time in our lives. You have been the rock that I have leaned on and the foundation that this family has stood upon for so long, and for that I thank you. I pray that through this blessing, God will give me the ability to grant you the release you need (and deserve) to pursue YOUR dreams and aspirations to their fullest. What you have done for our family cannot be measured in human standards and I will spend a lifetime honoring you for your sacrifice. You are my best friend, my only love, and the joy of my heart. I do not deserve you, but I am grateful to God for allowing me to have you.
My life has always been to love you and my duty will always be to serve you.
To God be the glory…”
The stress unemployment can bring has enough potential to destroy some marriages. Communication can break down, feelings of resentment and anger get pent up, and the uncertainty is overwhelming. The longer it lasts, the harder things get. Please remember after reading my husband’s testimony, that one day things will change. Things will get better. What you’re experiencing right now is only temporary. Make the decision to work together and fight for your marriage and your family. You’ll come out stronger on the other side.
BMWK: What situation has your marriage survived and is stronger because of?