Economic downturns are difficult for families and the last few years have been exceptionally difficult. My husband has been the victim of two companies closing in the past 3 years, which has left him rather discouraged and downhearted. During this time, I have learned the importance of providing him support.
Talking to your spouse may seem like the most common thing to do. However, there is a difference between talking and really communicating. Lydia Garraway, M.S. L.P.C. & LCSW, is a counselor with Catholic Social Services in Montgomery, Alabama and states that proper communication involves talking through feelings associated with a spouse’s job loss. Emotions run high and the individual unemployed experiences many different emotions, which often effects the entire family. Being honest and open in communication, without attacking the other person, is important. Children need to be involved in the open and honest communication. Simply asking how an individual feels often goes a long way in opening up communication channels.
Now is not the time to discuss that the home might be in foreclosure or that the children don’t have enough clothes due to lack of money. Negative talk only increases the person’s guilt about having lost a job. While things might seem grim at the moment, try to keep talk uplifting. Don’t dwell on the negative aspects, such as financial issues, difficulty in the job market or if your spouse was to blame for the job loss. Humans function better, especially under stress and during difficult times, when people around them are positive. Look for the ‘silver lining’. Maybe your spouse has interviewed for 10 jobs, but with a difficult job market, remind him that that is a great start. Encourage him by letting him know the perfect job is right around the corner.
Keep humor alive. It may seem easier to be depressing and dwell on how awful things are. However, humor goes a long way to provide a chance to release pent up tension. Regis University mentions the ability of humor to bring things into perspective. Someone who usually jokes, may find it difficult during a job loss to be humorous. Regis suggests that one of the easiest means of providing humor is by watching a comedy movie. Find a movie that everyone likes and that the entire family can watch together.
A supportive spouse, who knows how to encourage and help without judgement, goes a long way towards a partner’s self confidence in the midst of a job loss. There is nothing worse than going to a job interview discouraged. Providing positive support and the right words, makes all the difference in your spouse maintaining his self confidence and increasing his chances of getting that next great job.