As we venture through this time of uncertainty, I hope this series has been helpful. In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, we looked at the intense emotions that our man may not show if he’s lost his job, but that are very real, and what to do as we start the journey. In this Part 4, we will wrap up the series with what we as women can do to help us move forward, thriving as a couple, no matter what.
Tip #8: Partner With Your Man To Imagine And Then Create A New Future Together
The end of a job can be a cloud that holds a silver lining. Although you might not say it at the outset, many couples have come to realize that sometimes a reboot can be a good thing.
Many couples in our research for Thriving in Love & Money indicated that although it was incredibly painful to have gone through a job loss, they eventually looked back and recognized that it led to something beautiful that would not have happened otherwise.
My husband Jeff certainly has that story. After growing up in a rural area, graduating high school, and joining his brothers for seven years in owning a restaurant, the economy went south and they had to close. All their money was lost. It was devastating. But without having to work 80-hour weeks in the restaurant it also meant he could go to college . . . and a few years later, against all odds, that farm boy from a small town in Michigan was walking into Harvard Law School.
Now, Jeff wasn’t yet married (we met in his final year), but the principle is the same: God can and usually does take something that seems so dark and dead-end-like, and turn it into a new path that you never could have imagined.
So together, once you are past the initial stages of shock and grief, use this externally imposed change to your advantage. Take some time to re-visit your shared values, hopes, and dreams. Maybe you’re 10 or 20 years into your life together and things are running on autopilot. Now that you’ve been pushed out of the routine and flow of day-to-day life, use the time-out to consider your future. What do you want the rest of your life to look like? Consider schedule, responsibilities, stress level, financial plans. Make adjustments that will benefit each of you individually, as well as your marriage and the family as a whole. Connect (or re-connect) as a couple for some purposeful planning. And then start putting your plans into action.
Tip #9: Make The Most Of The Transition Time
In the midst of the transition from one job to another, spend some time outside of crisis mode. As I shared in The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, a powerful way for couples to combat stress and friction is by spending time together—doing special things or just hanging out. Use this time to do some fun things as a couple and as a family. Schedule a few daddy-daughter dates and father-son outings. Take on the DIY project that’s been on your to-do list for months. Eat breakfast in bed. Take walks or bike rides together. Yes, a job search is a job in itself, but encourage your husband to punch out regularly. Make playfulness, fun, and adventure a part of day-to-day life. The extra time together can prevent difficult circumstances from eroding your marriage and make it stronger instead.
Tip #10: Trust God
One of the reasons job losses are so scary is that our illusion of control is stripped away—and we realize it is just that: an illusion.
Ultimately, we can handle things wisely, work hard, and do everything we can do together as a couple to make the money work. But in the end, God is the one who is in control, and we can trust Him to provide. I know not everyone reading this piece will be in that same place of belief. But I would encourage you to do this: Pray to the God of the Bible and ask Him to uphold you and your husband. To provide for your needs. This may not always mean all your wants, but for your true needs. And that includes your emotional and spiritual needs, not just your physical ones. Talk to God about your worries for your man, for you, and everything that is on your heart.
And then get out a notebook or journal, and every day write down what happens. Don’t miss it. God’s hand is at work even when we don’t recognize it—but when you write down all the little day-to-day things that happen as you go, you will begin to see the great, shining pattern that broadcasts to the two of you God’s love and care as a good Father for His children.
Friends, we never know what the day will bring. Some days bring happy, positive changes, and some . . . not so much. A loss of job—especially when it occurs without warning—is a dose of adversity that any of us would rather not face. But a wife who extends kindness, understanding, encouragement, and faith can help her man regain his confidence and move forward. No matter what happens in jobs or finances in this particular season, your efforts to be the wife your man needs will deliver immeasurable benefits that will shine in your life and marriage for all the years to come.
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Shaunti Feldhahn loves sharing eye-opening information that helps people thrive in life and relationships. She herself started out with a Harvard graduate degree and Wall Street credentials but no clue about life. After an unexpected shift into relationship research for average people like her, she now is a popular speaker and author of best-selling books about men, women and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).
Her latest book, Thriving in Love and Money, uncovers the issues that cause money conflicts and provide couples with truths that are relationship game-changers. Because you need a better relationship, not just a better budget.
Visit www.shaunti.com for more.