An unemployed spouse may fall into depression as more time passes between the job loss and starting employment again. He may become worrisome about providing for the household. His work may also have been a huge part of his identity, and losing it can be emotionally devastating. Here's how to emotionally support your unemployed spouse during this time of crisis:
Step 1: Don't Try to Fix It
Your spouse knows that he needs to make a living, and if he held a job before, he understands what is required to obtain a job. You trying to "fix it" for him is only going to make him fall deeper into a slump. What he needs from you is comfort and support as he finds solutions to earning an income. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be ready and willing to offer advice when he does seek your help. The unemployment may present a golden opportunity to join you in business or launch his own venture, but let him come to that conclusion.
Step 2: Don't Enable Him
Allowing your spouse to do nothing about his unemployment situation is not loving or emotionally supportive. There's a fine line between trying to fix it for him and enabling him to remain unemployed, but you have to learn to tow that line. You don't want to encourage him to be lazy and not make money at all. He can make money even if he's not employed by someone else. Encouraging him to use his gifts to earn an income will help to boost his confidence and his spirits. Enabling him tells him that you don't care.
Step 3: Express Your Love the Way He Feels It
This is no time to be abstract in expressing to your spouse that you love him. Give it to him the way that he feels it and understands it. If that's cooking his favorite meal, watching a DVD or getting physical, then deliver the goods. You don't want him thinking that you've stopped loving him, or that your love is diminished because of his job loss. He may think that if you try to be subtle in your expressions of love. If you don't know how best to convey your love to him, ask him: "Honey, what is the best way to show my love and appreciation for you?"
Step 4: Manage the Finances Well
Handling the finances well, and not overspending or squandering the money you do have, is a way to emotionally support your unemployed spouse. It sends a message to them that you're on his side. It signifies that you're willing to make the sacrifices necessary to go through this trial with him, and that he is not alone. You send the opposite message when your spouse sees you mismanaging money, and he will remain in a state of fear about your financial future.
Your unemployed spouse is going through a trial, and he needs you to get through it. You can't give too much emotional support to him. Go above and beyond the call, and you'll strengthen your marriage as a result.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.