Coping with Your Husband’s Job Loss

Written by Lori Fletcher

husbandjoblossMy cell phone rang on Monday morning while I was working at a client’s office. “Lori, can you meet me at home? I’ve just been let go from my job.” I packed up and got in the car and started to drive, my heart pounding, my mind racing…then the tears started, and I began to pray.

Just the previous Sunday afternoon, Del and I had been talking about his job. Over a period of time there had been significant leadership changes in his company, resulting in increased stresses and frustrations that hindered him from being able to do his job well. Many times Del would come home with a bad tension headache after a long day at work, not to mention the extreme fatigue he was feeling. He told me he wasn’t sure if God was trying to tell him it was time to find another job, or whether He wanted him to persevere in this job. We decided he should update his resume and start sending it out to some recruiters, and we would see if God would open any doors. Then the decision was taken out of our hands.

When I arrived home, Del was sitting in a chair in our living room just staring into space. I have never felt so inadequate in all my life! I sat down in his lap and we both started to cry. After we shed our tears (at least for that time) we prayed together. We acknowledged God’s sovereignty and plan for our lives, and we asked for His peace in the midst of all the uncertainty.

[Related Reading: Claire’s Story of Facing Job Loss]

Thus began our journey – one that would change us both individually and also our marriage forever.

So as the wife of a man who no longer has somewhere to go everyday, where do you start in showing your support?

1. Teach him how to do the laundry!

We both recognized that, for the foreseeable future, Del would be available to help out more at home. He was always very willing to help me in whatever way I needed him – he just wasn’t always available. So, he asked me to show him how to do the laundry since he now had the time. I’ll always remember, during his first week at home, him leaving the dinner table upon hearing the dryer buzzer and announcing that he needed to go and “fold his towels!” Del was also able to help with the groceries, the morning school drop-offs, and with dentist and orthodontist appointments. I was so grateful for his willingness to help with my load. One caution in this area, though – do not give him so many things to do that he doesn’t have time to look for a job!

On a more serious note…

2. Encourage him!

There were many days when Del needed me to be his greatest encourager, while he struggled with thinking that he was not good enough to get a job to take care of his family. I needed to remind him how important he was to our family, how proud we were of him, and how much we loved him. He needed to be reminded that, just as we had prayed and acknowledged God’s sovereignty in those first few hours, it was God who was in control and He was worthy of our trust. God would open that door of employment for him when He knew best – which is also why it was so important to….

3. Pray for him!

What greater gift can I give to my husband than to pray for him; to commit him to the protection and care of the One who knows him more intimately than me, and who loves him even more than I ever could? Many times I would not know what to say to Del when he was feeling down or frustrated. I knew that his feelings were real, but I also knew that Satan wanted nothing more than to keep him feeling that way. Psalm 145:14 says “The Lord helps the fallen and lifts up those bent beneath their loads.” I often had to ask God to meet Del’s needs, because I knew I couldn’t!

4. Communicate with the kids!

Del losing his job affected the whole family, not just him. When Del lost his job, our children were 11 and 15 years of age. Any time that Del or I wanted to spend money, our 15-year-old son Ryan would tell us not to. He would say “I know it – we’re going to be living in a cardboard box!” Recognize the need to let the kids know how you are doing, as it is appropriate to their age. Tell them when Dad has a job interview, or even when he gets a call for a potential opportunity. And most of all, pray with your children. There were many nights we gathered as a family in our daughter Lauren’s room as she climbed into bed and prayed together. We would thank God once again for His provision and care for us, and ask again that He provide a job for Dad. On more than one occasion I heard Del thank God in prayer for doors that the Lord had closed when he was not chosen for a job, even after several interviews that looked very promising. Del was able to model to our kids the Scriptural principle that “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

5. Be willing to adjust!

As much as I needed to support my husband, his job loss did have its affect on me as well. Having had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom while the children were younger, and running my own accounting business as they got older, I am used to having time at home – by myself! All of the sudden I had my husband around constantly. Yes, it had its advantages with regards to his help, but it was just not normal.

I was used to my routines: getting lunches made, children to school, household chores done, getting out the door to see clients – all the things I had been doing for the past 17 years. But now Del was home in the mornings, and it always seemed we’d get into conversations about things right when I should have been heading out the door. And then I’d come home later in the day prepared to go about my usual routine (reading the mail/e-mails, making some phone calls, or exercising on the treadmill), only to find Del in our home office, working away on the computer. So I would spend some time with him and then start dinner early, as we no longer had to wait for him to get home.

I found myself longing for time on my own. It’s not that I didn’t love him and enjoy being with him, but I needed some time to myself once in a while. I found I was beginning to resent the fact that he was there all the time. But I also had to recognize and be sensitive to the fact that he did not want to be at home either. We both had to be willing to consider each other’s feelings in this matter.

6. Communicate with each other!

As a wife, a lot of my security and stability came from the fact that I had lived in the same place for the 20 years we had been married, my husband went to work everyday and earned an income to pay the mortgage and the bills, my children were happy in their schools, and I had family and friends all around me. Now it became apparent to me that all of that might change! Not only that, but I found myself wondering what Del was doing with his time – how hard was he looking for that job? Was he allowing other things (church involvement, household tasks, etc.) to interfere with his job searching? It was critical that we communicate with each other, so he knew how I was feeling and I wasn’t creating expectations for him that he did not know about.

7. Seek God together!

More than anything, though, this was the most important change that came for the both of us. Praying together as a couple was always a sporadic thing for us over the years. But when God brought this change and uncertainty to our lives, there was no question that we needed to draw together and especially pray together if we were going to make it through this. Now we pray about everything, whether it’s a decision to be made, or just about whatever we are feeling; we bring it before God together. We also pray together for one another. It’s a tremendous way to demonstrate our love for each other, and to feel like we are tackling the challenges of life as a team.

A few months after Del lost his job, God gave me a verse from the Bible that became my promise for this period of time we were going through. Hebrews 10:23 says, “Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.”

I can’t say there weren’t tough days. It wasn’t always easy to keep trusting and believing that God had a plan for us. But in the end I knew God could be trusted and that He was faithful; that His plans were for our good and not to harm us. One of the greatest blessings that we have found in our journey of the last three years is that God has taken what we both knew to be true in our heads and has now imbedded it in our hearts. Sometimes the most important lessons in life are learned through our hardest trials.

Have you or someone you love lost their job? Talk to a mentor who can pray and support you through this time.

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162 Responses to “Coping with Your Husband’s Job Loss”

  • Elkay Elkay says:

    jackinlondon, you are truly in a difficult situation and it sounds like you are indeed responding not only with sacrificial love but also appreciation for the good things God has brought into your life. True love means letting God’s love for you flow from you to your wife, irregardless of whether she acts appreciative or not or whether she returns your love or not. That’s why Eph 5:25 says that husband’s are to love their wife just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. This is a high calling but one day we do have to give God an accounting for our life and to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” is a rich reward. I pray that thought will strengthen and encourage you through this hard time.

  • I says:

    Hi jacklondon,

    My husband and I are in your situation, and I hearing your point of view helps me understand why I need to be more supportive of him. We only have one child, but five children to provide for can be quite scary. Here’s my prayer for you and your family, “Father God, in the name of Jesus, thank you for jacklondon and his family. I ask that you bless jacklondon with the an opportunity that will provide for his family. You said that you’d never leave us nor forsake us, and I thank you for that. I pray that jacklondon and his wife grow closer, and begin to study your Word together. Thank you for their wonderful children, and I ask for your blessings on his family in Jesus’s Mighty Name. Amen.” Blessings to you and your’s jacklondon. :-)

  • Chris says:

    jackinlondon…sorry to hear about your situation. at times like Jobs wife, our wives may not want to stand in there with us as we go through different trials in life. james 1. job 1 to 2. this is part of our cross as christians that like jesus we will not only suffer but be maligned as we do. these suffering produce a more christ-like character inside of us and are working for our good. romans 8.28. continue to love your wife unconditionally. you dont have to treat her like a baby although she may be acting like one. paul exhorted us as men to act like men in 1 corinthians 16.13. there are times in life when all we can do is pray for our wives and let the holy spirit do his work in them. that is my prayer for you, more of his grace, love and mercy over your life so that you can be encouraged that this too will pass in jesus name amen!

  • jackinlondon says:

    I lost my job back in December, and while I found a replacement recently it’s for a lot lower money than we need to survive. Since I have worked my entire life on a commission basis, or a profit sharing, we are used to income at very high and very low levels and everything in between. My wife and I have 5 kids, and are used to living at what I would consider a very high level. We are committed Christians. My wife recently has been absolutely intolerable since the job loss in December, which really arose from events that I didn’t bring about and therefore cannot be blamed. We had to borrow money to pay our bills and overall it’s been very tight, and this has created a lot of resentment on her part. I have tried to pitch in a lot more around the house, but all she does is complain that I do nothing, that the children do nothing, that she is bored and feels like a slave, that all she does is work while I seem like I’m doing nothing. Despite the fact that I am working on launching FOUR different things at the moment (all of which will give us income) she berates me and insults me and tells me I’m doing nothing. THIS IS NOT THE GIRL I MARRIED. She was always somewhat negative, she always has complained a lot (even when we owned two homes and had a giant income – hundreds of thousands a month, at times) she complained that her life was not what she wanted. I know that I’m far from the perfect person or perfect husband but I do try to treat her with love, respect and comfort. However, anytime I say “don’t worry, it will get better, we will find a way” she basically either laughs at me and says something like “how’s that working out for ya?” or “will we, now” or something sarcastic, or she gives me the ice-queen treatment. I adore her with all my heart and soul, but I feel as if we are losing each other, and if this keeps up I will start hating her and I know that there is sometimes such a thing as “the point of no return”. I felt that last night when we started arguing for the 1000000 time about our finances, I wanted to just tell her off (but didn’t). We have SO MANY blessings that she refuses to see. 5 healthy children, the basis for a great relationship, we live in a beautiful home, we have a daughter who is on track to be a professional tennis player, and quite honestly I have multiple situations which are poised to give us a very nice income shortly and help us recover. But all of that said, I feel nothing but hatred and anger coming from her, and a WHOLE lot of negativity. She has started her bible reading daily again, and it’s a TEENY bit improved, but mostly not. We have no intimate life anymore (she refuses me) and it’s just…pretty bad. Please, anyone who has been through something similar or can help in any way would be a huge blessing to me. Thanks!

  • Chris says:

    father i pray for anne and her husband and child so that their needs may be met in you. provide blessed work for them according to deuteronomy 8.18, psalm 1, and psalm 112. thanks for showering them with your many blessings in many ways and forms in jesus name amen….ezequkel 34.26

  • anne says:

    My husband lost his job and I dont know how to react with the situation that we are in now since we have 1 year old baby and two other kids who are in school…I dont know but I lift up to God everu needs that we have…pls. help me pray on fighting the good fight of faith…

  • Chris says:

    candyce…father use this experience to bring the husband closer to you. if you have allowed this change, then you have something better as he learns to trust you for his own soul and all the other details you care for him about. use candyce as a pilar of faith so he can learn from his own wife what it means to trust in the lord, in jesus name amen!

  • Candyce says:

    My husband just lost his job 10 days after we got married. We also have a baby on the way! I feel so bad for him. He is so angry and so upset. It is so hard for me to stay strong when he makes me feel like I am a nuisance to him. I pray for him daily. I encourage him. But I know he is really upset. Please pray for our family

  • Chris says:

    Amy…sorry to hear of this situation. ineterestingly enough, the physical is releated to the spiritual. when we dont have our spiritual lives in line with God and his Word and will, it will show up in our physical health and lack of motivation. the key is getting in on the inside a person and that is something only God can do for your husband. God allows these situations in order for us to see how much we really do depend upon him and so often times take him for granted. he knows that but he wants us to know that so we can seek him for the changes we need. if you would like more information on how to have Gods help in your and your husband life, log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. as you do you will see God come to you with his heavenly aid. i pray that happens for both you and your husband since no matter how bad or great our lives may seem, they are still nothing wihtout christ. blessings to you!

  • amy says:

    Hello .My husband had to stop working last September due to severe pain and immobility from a previous hernia operation. After months of tests,dr appts,nerve blocks they finally got him out of pain enough to where he could work. Unfortunately he was a truck driver and had to take his DOT physical while still in pain and could not pass,so lost his CDL. Now what? He has not been able to find a job (he has not tried very hard) he keeps saying he’s gonna get back to work but he seems to be waiting for some magic job to come to him. I don’t care if it’s only part time..I have been supporting him for 9 months on my Respiratory job and working overtime. I am tired,resentful, and sick and tired of him being home 24/7 I have no time to myself and feel I will loose my mind anyday. He seems to not care that I give him only 20$ a week for his cigarettes and spending money. ..his mom pays his truck loan every month,but yet here he is still loafing around the house every single day. He does do laundry and yard work etc which is good but I am at the end of my rope. Why is he not running out every day looking for a job?

  • Chris says:

    shweta…i pray that our father through his son jesus christ would bring your husband the blessed job he needs to have, that as you seek the lord jesus christ will all of your hearts, he will be found of you according to his promised provision in philippians 4.19 amen…knowinjesuspersonally.com

  • shweta says:

    Hello my husband has lost his job 2 times in his carrier of 12 years due to work pressure.our life is so disturbed what to do?he is very frustrated from job but we have no other option of income.what to do?please help us…

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