How to Help an Unemployed Spouse

Reviewed Aug 14, 2016

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Summary

Offer emotional support to your unemployed spouse by listening to your mate's concerns.

Has your companion lost her job? Has a gloomy feeling settled in—maybe causing both of you to feel very stressed, even hopeless?

You can play a major role in helping your mate to rebound. While finding a new job can be a long process, your attitude and clear-headed approach can help turn the crisis around. 

Here’s how to offer emotional support:

Act and speak in hopeful ways. This will help your spouse to assume the same attitude. A hopeful atmosphere at home should help your mate feel more confident during job interviews.

Listen to your mate’s real concerns. If you voice too much optimism, you will only cause your mate to feel cut off and totally alone with the problems.

Remind your spouse that temporary plans are powerful. For example, finding a temporary job, as quickly as possible, can be the bridge to get your family across troubled waters.

“My husband and I knew the equity in our home would keep us afloat when he lost his job,” says Kim. “My husband decided to work two part-time jobs, although the pay wasn’t terrific. This worked for us because we refinanced our home to pay off debts. Although I have a decent job, I’m sure our lender would have felt nervous about the loan if my husband had no job at all.”

Encourage your mate to divide up time wisely. Looking for a new job will be stressful. Remind your mate that mixing too many tasks in a single day will cause confusion and more stress.

Point out that working in long stretches and focusing well works best. For example: Could your spouse research job opportunities Thursday through Saturday—via the internet, newspapers, and employment agencies? Then, she could make calls, send emails, and mail resumes Monday through Wednesday. 

“My wife, Carla, got really frazzled with her job search,” says Bill, an Engineer. “She lost her job when her company downsized. We have two kids in college, and the bills were piling up fast.

“Carla would jump on the internet at 11 p.m. and frantically send emails and post messages to career sites in our region. However, I talked to her about sticking to a disciplined job-hunting schedule. The more she ignored a disciplined schedule, the more out of control she and I both felt.”

Keeping your marriage intact

Since preserving your family is your foremost goal, don’t allow a job search to hurt your marriage. Do these things to take pressure off the relationship:

Spend time apart. Tension will escalate if you spend all of your free time with your mate while you’re under severe stress. Besides, spending time apart allows you both to see friends—who may offer job ideas, support, and tips for networking.

Do some nice things for yourself. Sure, you may be the spouse who’s still employed, but doesn’t that simply add to your own pressures? Recognize that you need attention and stress-relief, too.

Keep your “honey do” list reasonable. An unemployed person is probably struggling with ego problems, not to mention anxiety and outright fear. So avoid the temptation to use your mate for too many chores or errands—just because he’s not at work. 

Incorporate recreation religiously. All work and no play can drive couples apart—even if there aren’t any employment problems going on. Now isn’t the time to stay overly serious 24 hours a day.

Dealing with the job search

As you try to relieve stress, keep in mind that acquiring a job is still your mate’s main goal. Encourage her to create a plan of action as soon as possible.

Remind your spouse to:

Visit job counselors and consultants. Even if you must pay an expert to offer advice on job hunting and career transitions, this can be money well spent.

One career counselor offers this tip: “I can help you review avenues for possible new work realistically. That’s because I’m not emotionally involved in your crisis.” 

Track her action plan in writing. One lost email address could cost your wife an interview. One failure to follow up on a phone call could cost her a job.

Since writing is an active endeavor—requiring thought and planning—this exercise will help your mate to feel more in control of the job search process. By tracking people to contact about jobs, dates for letters to go out, and times for interviews, your spouse can “strategize” the job search and follow up promptly on every contact. 

Invent possible jobs from his host of skills. Help your spouse think up possible employment by listing his skills from baking to banking.

Andrew, an out-of-work Banker, explains: “I called over 40 banks to obtain key contact names. Some of the receptionists I spoke with lacked sufficient telephone skills. When I brainstormed for jobs outside of banking, I wrote down my communications skills as one of my marketable talents. I checked into working for a communications training company. I now train bankers, receptionists, and others in using verbal skills to enhance their jobs.”  

Put all odds in her favor. That is, send out plenty of resumes—at least 30 each week—and keep the phone lines humming. Nothing takes the place of dedicated calling, emailing, and trips to the post office.

By Judi Light Hopson
Source: Judi Light Hopson is the co-author of the Prentice Hall textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress.

Summary

Offer emotional support to your unemployed spouse by listening to your mate's concerns.

Has your companion lost her job? Has a gloomy feeling settled in—maybe causing both of you to feel very stressed, even hopeless?

You can play a major role in helping your mate to rebound. While finding a new job can be a long process, your attitude and clear-headed approach can help turn the crisis around. 

Here’s how to offer emotional support:

Act and speak in hopeful ways. This will help your spouse to assume the same attitude. A hopeful atmosphere at home should help your mate feel more confident during job interviews.

Listen to your mate’s real concerns. If you voice too much optimism, you will only cause your mate to feel cut off and totally alone with the problems.

Remind your spouse that temporary plans are powerful. For example, finding a temporary job, as quickly as possible, can be the bridge to get your family across troubled waters.

“My husband and I knew the equity in our home would keep us afloat when he lost his job,” says Kim. “My husband decided to work two part-time jobs, although the pay wasn’t terrific. This worked for us because we refinanced our home to pay off debts. Although I have a decent job, I’m sure our lender would have felt nervous about the loan if my husband had no job at all.”

Encourage your mate to divide up time wisely. Looking for a new job will be stressful. Remind your mate that mixing too many tasks in a single day will cause confusion and more stress.

Point out that working in long stretches and focusing well works best. For example: Could your spouse research job opportunities Thursday through Saturday—via the internet, newspapers, and employment agencies? Then, she could make calls, send emails, and mail resumes Monday through Wednesday. 

“My wife, Carla, got really frazzled with her job search,” says Bill, an Engineer. “She lost her job when her company downsized. We have two kids in college, and the bills were piling up fast.

“Carla would jump on the internet at 11 p.m. and frantically send emails and post messages to career sites in our region. However, I talked to her about sticking to a disciplined job-hunting schedule. The more she ignored a disciplined schedule, the more out of control she and I both felt.”

Keeping your marriage intact

Since preserving your family is your foremost goal, don’t allow a job search to hurt your marriage. Do these things to take pressure off the relationship:

Spend time apart. Tension will escalate if you spend all of your free time with your mate while you’re under severe stress. Besides, spending time apart allows you both to see friends—who may offer job ideas, support, and tips for networking.

Do some nice things for yourself. Sure, you may be the spouse who’s still employed, but doesn’t that simply add to your own pressures? Recognize that you need attention and stress-relief, too.

Keep your “honey do” list reasonable. An unemployed person is probably struggling with ego problems, not to mention anxiety and outright fear. So avoid the temptation to use your mate for too many chores or errands—just because he’s not at work. 

Incorporate recreation religiously. All work and no play can drive couples apart—even if there aren’t any employment problems going on. Now isn’t the time to stay overly serious 24 hours a day.

Dealing with the job search

As you try to relieve stress, keep in mind that acquiring a job is still your mate’s main goal. Encourage her to create a plan of action as soon as possible.

Remind your spouse to:

Visit job counselors and consultants. Even if you must pay an expert to offer advice on job hunting and career transitions, this can be money well spent.

One career counselor offers this tip: “I can help you review avenues for possible new work realistically. That’s because I’m not emotionally involved in your crisis.” 

Track her action plan in writing. One lost email address could cost your wife an interview. One failure to follow up on a phone call could cost her a job.

Since writing is an active endeavor—requiring thought and planning—this exercise will help your mate to feel more in control of the job search process. By tracking people to contact about jobs, dates for letters to go out, and times for interviews, your spouse can “strategize” the job search and follow up promptly on every contact. 

Invent possible jobs from his host of skills. Help your spouse think up possible employment by listing his skills from baking to banking.

Andrew, an out-of-work Banker, explains: “I called over 40 banks to obtain key contact names. Some of the receptionists I spoke with lacked sufficient telephone skills. When I brainstormed for jobs outside of banking, I wrote down my communications skills as one of my marketable talents. I checked into working for a communications training company. I now train bankers, receptionists, and others in using verbal skills to enhance their jobs.”  

Put all odds in her favor. That is, send out plenty of resumes—at least 30 each week—and keep the phone lines humming. Nothing takes the place of dedicated calling, emailing, and trips to the post office.

By Judi Light Hopson
Source: Judi Light Hopson is the co-author of the Prentice Hall textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress.

Summary

Offer emotional support to your unemployed spouse by listening to your mate's concerns.

Has your companion lost her job? Has a gloomy feeling settled in—maybe causing both of you to feel very stressed, even hopeless?

You can play a major role in helping your mate to rebound. While finding a new job can be a long process, your attitude and clear-headed approach can help turn the crisis around. 

Here’s how to offer emotional support:

Act and speak in hopeful ways. This will help your spouse to assume the same attitude. A hopeful atmosphere at home should help your mate feel more confident during job interviews.

Listen to your mate’s real concerns. If you voice too much optimism, you will only cause your mate to feel cut off and totally alone with the problems.

Remind your spouse that temporary plans are powerful. For example, finding a temporary job, as quickly as possible, can be the bridge to get your family across troubled waters.

“My husband and I knew the equity in our home would keep us afloat when he lost his job,” says Kim. “My husband decided to work two part-time jobs, although the pay wasn’t terrific. This worked for us because we refinanced our home to pay off debts. Although I have a decent job, I’m sure our lender would have felt nervous about the loan if my husband had no job at all.”

Encourage your mate to divide up time wisely. Looking for a new job will be stressful. Remind your mate that mixing too many tasks in a single day will cause confusion and more stress.

Point out that working in long stretches and focusing well works best. For example: Could your spouse research job opportunities Thursday through Saturday—via the internet, newspapers, and employment agencies? Then, she could make calls, send emails, and mail resumes Monday through Wednesday. 

“My wife, Carla, got really frazzled with her job search,” says Bill, an Engineer. “She lost her job when her company downsized. We have two kids in college, and the bills were piling up fast.

“Carla would jump on the internet at 11 p.m. and frantically send emails and post messages to career sites in our region. However, I talked to her about sticking to a disciplined job-hunting schedule. The more she ignored a disciplined schedule, the more out of control she and I both felt.”

Keeping your marriage intact

Since preserving your family is your foremost goal, don’t allow a job search to hurt your marriage. Do these things to take pressure off the relationship:

Spend time apart. Tension will escalate if you spend all of your free time with your mate while you’re under severe stress. Besides, spending time apart allows you both to see friends—who may offer job ideas, support, and tips for networking.

Do some nice things for yourself. Sure, you may be the spouse who’s still employed, but doesn’t that simply add to your own pressures? Recognize that you need attention and stress-relief, too.

Keep your “honey do” list reasonable. An unemployed person is probably struggling with ego problems, not to mention anxiety and outright fear. So avoid the temptation to use your mate for too many chores or errands—just because he’s not at work. 

Incorporate recreation religiously. All work and no play can drive couples apart—even if there aren’t any employment problems going on. Now isn’t the time to stay overly serious 24 hours a day.

Dealing with the job search

As you try to relieve stress, keep in mind that acquiring a job is still your mate’s main goal. Encourage her to create a plan of action as soon as possible.

Remind your spouse to:

Visit job counselors and consultants. Even if you must pay an expert to offer advice on job hunting and career transitions, this can be money well spent.

One career counselor offers this tip: “I can help you review avenues for possible new work realistically. That’s because I’m not emotionally involved in your crisis.” 

Track her action plan in writing. One lost email address could cost your wife an interview. One failure to follow up on a phone call could cost her a job.

Since writing is an active endeavor—requiring thought and planning—this exercise will help your mate to feel more in control of the job search process. By tracking people to contact about jobs, dates for letters to go out, and times for interviews, your spouse can “strategize” the job search and follow up promptly on every contact. 

Invent possible jobs from his host of skills. Help your spouse think up possible employment by listing his skills from baking to banking.

Andrew, an out-of-work Banker, explains: “I called over 40 banks to obtain key contact names. Some of the receptionists I spoke with lacked sufficient telephone skills. When I brainstormed for jobs outside of banking, I wrote down my communications skills as one of my marketable talents. I checked into working for a communications training company. I now train bankers, receptionists, and others in using verbal skills to enhance their jobs.”  

Put all odds in her favor. That is, send out plenty of resumes—at least 30 each week—and keep the phone lines humming. Nothing takes the place of dedicated calling, emailing, and trips to the post office.

By Judi Light Hopson
Source: Judi Light Hopson is the co-author of the Prentice Hall textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress.

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