Many people who face sudden unemployment feel as if their entire world has been turned upside down, and that feeling can be shared by loved ones as well. For couples who have built their lives together, one spouse losing their job can create considerable stress and strain the relationship in unforeseen ways. Making it through such a lifestyle upheaval unscathed may be difficult, but it can offer an opportunity to strengthen your marriage in the long run.
One of the primary ways that a job loss can strain a relationship is through financial considerations. Wondering how you’re going to maintain your lifestyle without an income is one of the biggest worries for couples facing unemployment. Financial matters are already one of the top stressors in relationships, so it’s no wonder that the loss of a job can significantly strain a marriage. Experts say the key to overcoming these obstacles is simple budgeting and understanding. By accepting that it’s not “your” or “my” money, but rather “our” money and coming up with a strict budget plan, most of the major financial concerns can often be alleviated.
Because financial matters create a tangible impact on your lifestyle, they often take precedence over the emotional aspects of losing a job. But those emotions can be just as disruptive and create just as much strain in a relationship. The spouse who lost their job may be experiencing low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness, and experts say it’s important for the other spouse to try to help rebuild their spouse’s confidence. On the other hand, the working spouse may start to feel resentful as they’re pulling more of the weight, especially if the hunt for a new job becomes drawn out. They may become frustrated or impatient with their spouse. It’s important to remember that neither party asked for this situation, and remaining supportive will be more beneficial to both parties in the long run.
In the end, most of the marital problems that arise from unexpected unemployment can be alleviated through open and honest conversation. The concerns and stresses are real, and it’s important for spouses to recognize and acknowledge those issues, rather than become defensive or deny the other person’s reality. Through communication focused on solving the issue of unemployment, rather than on winning the argument, couples can find space to connect more closely and reaffirm their resolve to build a life together.
Below you will find additional information and resources for dealing with spousal issues: