Your spouse just told you they lost their job. Life for the two of you has now changed. How do you support them as they go through their job search? It won’t be easy, but I’ve been through this journey twice in my life and received amazing support from my wife, which kept me going. Let me give you a few tips of what she did for me that was the most helpful.
- Pray – Never forget the power of prayer. Remember to pray for them regularly and with them. Nothing will help your spouse more than regular prayers on their behalf. Praying with them will strengthen your marriage.
- Be Their # 1 Cheerleader – This is the most important role you will play and a key to maintaining a strong marriage. Your spouse’s self-confidence will ebb and flow throughout the search for a new job. What they will need the most is a cheerleader, someone who always finds a positive word to say to them, especially on their down days. Your spouse will need plenty of encouragement on this journey as a job search can be lengthy and is full of ups and downs.
- Praise Their Efforts, Not the Results – Your spouse doesn’t control which jobs will become open that match their skills, nor can they control someone wanting to interview them. They will face rejection often in this process. They will apply for a job and not hear anything back about their candidacy. They will apply for a job but be rejected as not being a suitable candidate. They will interview for a job, but not get the job. It’ll be hard on them. Praise their efforts in the search process even when there aren’t positive results. Praise them for doing research on job markets and organizations they are interested in. Praise them for networking with people to get the word out about their skills and availability. Praise them for apply for jobs they hear about. Remember, the only thing they control is their effort.
- Help Them to be Useful – We all have a need to be needed, but when you are unemployed, you often feel you have nothing to offer. Find ways they can help you or others by volunteering. But don’t preface your request with “since you’re unemployed and have time can you…”, that won’t help. Just ask, “do you have the time to …” Doing for others will lift their spirits. Thank and praise them for helping, it’ll keep them volunteering
- Get Them to Play – A job search is serious business and takes a lot of time. But they still need to play. My wife encouraged me to golf when I could, my favorite form of play. Encourage your spouse’s hobbies.
- Recharge Together – To keep your marriage strong, you need time together. It can be weekly dinners out, dates on a weekend or our favorite was a trip out of town. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip, just get away together. A weekend away for us allowed me to forget the search and just be with my wife. You might need to be the one that does the planning too.
Dale Kreienkamp is the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He is a Human Resources executive and consultant who has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.