When Your Spouse Is Out Of A Job

  Being jobless can be a traumatic experience for anybody, more so for a married man who is charged with the responsibility of providing for his family.  It can make

  • PublishedJuly 11, 2011


Being jobless can be a traumatic experience for anybody, more so for a married man who is charged with the responsibility of providing for his family.  It can make one suffer from low self-esteem, which could lead to depression. The situation can get desperate if one had invested in college or university education with a hope of getting employment to repay back the investment.

A jobless person may feel hopeless, useless and insecure, which could make him think people are looking down upon him because of his status. He may feel undermined and insecure and live with the fear that his spouse may leave him for a more financially stable partner. These cocktail of emotions can lead one to be hot tempered, overly irritable, sensitive and difficult to live with. Some jobless people many engage in negative activities such as alcoholism and infidelity to escape from reality.

A woman living with a jobless husband can feel overwhelmed, unappreciated and at times think that he is not trying hard enough to get a job. A relationship going through this kind of frustration is likely to suffer damage unless the couple takes steps to ensure their love and support for each remains intact. A loving couple can weather the storm of unemployment if they take it within their stride as a passing cloud. The following tips are useful if you are in such a relationship:

Acknowledge the situation and remain positive. Do not dwell on what led to the situation but on the future and how you to make things better. Remember that the jobless spouse may be feeling discouraged and needs your encouragement and support. Let him know you are there for him and work with him to come up with better strategies for job hunting. These gestures will lift him up and encourage him to look at his current status of unemployment as temporary. You may need to make financial adjustments to ensure the family is not disrupted in a big way. If you have children, ensure they understand the situation so they don’t reject any changes you make.

Care for your spouse and show affection: Understand your spouse is going through a tough time and he needs your support, love and care. Provide for his basic needs and try to make his life as comfortable as possible. Try to help him maintain his lifestyle, for example, visiting the barber weekly or meeting his friends on Friday evening for a drink. Give him money to do these things without waiting for him to ask and if you don’t have, explain to him in a loving way. If you can’t afford to pay barber fee, help cut his hair at home. Take him out occasionally to distract him from his thoughts or arrange a romantic dinner at home. These things don’t have to cost much and the most important is the thought. Include your partner in all financial decisions you make. Simply because you are the sole provider doesn’t give you the right to change the family budget without consulting your partner.

Understand your partner’s emotions: Expecting your spouse to act normally when he is going through all the emotions of being jobless and without his own income is way out of line. You spouse’s attitude to life may be affected by his situation and he may be less accommodating or open to discussions. Instead of scolding him or hauling accusations at him, try to understand what he is going through. Be patient with him and learn to live with his changing moods. He may, for example, shout at you for no reason but you don’t have to shout back. Sometimes he may sulk for no reason but you don’t have to provoke him. Instead console him and encourage him that things will be alright and remind him you love him.

Get involved in his job search: Remember being jobless can be discouraging and your spouse could miss opportunities because he is not thinking straight or has given up on looking for a job. Assist him as much as possible in the job hunt. Look out for vacancy advertisements and draw his attention to them. Help him revamp his resume. Ask relatives, friends and colleagues to help. If he gets a job through your efforts, do not remind him of that fact. Let him not feel that he owes it to you. If a job is not forthcoming you can help him get into self-employment. Look for opportunities and help with coming up with a business plan and financing. In all this, ensure that your spouse takes ownership of anything you are helping him to do. Seeking his opinion before you go ahead to execute ideas you have will make him feel part of the process.

Express your own emotions freely: While you want to do everything possible for your partner, remember you are also human and you are likely to be going through your own emotional rollercoaster, especially if the financial burden is overwhelming. Do no try to mask your own emotions by pretending everything is okay when its not.  Discuss your feelings with your partner without complaining or expressing anger. If your emotions overwhelm you and you feel your spouse is not the best person to share with because he also has his own issues to deal with, talk to someone you trust or seek counselling.

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