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    When Your Spouse Loses His Job

    By Kristen Houghton     

    My grandmother used to say that to a man the loss of a job was tantamount to losing what made him a man. She told me a story about when my grandfather had lost his job in the 1940’s. He had been working for a railroad company and one Friday was given a pink slip in his pay envelope. He was devastated. How could he provide for his family?

    Months of fruitless job-hunting followed and my grandfather became frustrated. My grandmother was still working and paid all the bills. She told my grandfather not to worry and always made sure to place “a few dollars” in his pocket believing that it made him feel better not have to ask her for money. It saved his dignity she said.

    Losing a job is traumatic to both men and women but somehow men seem to take the “downsizing” or being laid off harder than women. Even in 2008 where we pride ourselves on both spouses working and helping in the house, men do badly when they no longer have a paying job. There are a number of reasons for this.

    Men see a great deal of their own worth as a person through their jobs or professions. The ability to earn money reflects who they are in the world. Their self-esteem is unconsciously connected to their work. When they no longer have their work as a benchmark of who they are, they feel a sense of worthlessness in life.

    It is the feeling that they are no longer wanted or needed by their employer. While most times the loss of a job has nothing to do with either being wanted or needed but is simply a cost saving measure on the part of the company, men see it as a personal insult. Here are some tips to help you and your spouse to cope with losing a job.

    1. If your spouse is suddenly out of a job and you are able financially to do so, have them take some time off.

    2. Unless it is absolutely necessary, don’t go from one job straight into another. You need time to collect thoughts about your needs and reinvent yourself if necessary.

    3. If going back to school is an option, encourage them to do so. Maybe there is something they have always wanted to do and now is the time to consider it.

    4. Be supportive and not just financially. It is easy to say be supportive but, remember, there will be mood swings, forms of despair, and angry words. The working spouse is out in the world while the non-worker feels stuck at home.

    5. Have a sense of humor about the situation and what’s going on in your life. This helps tremendously. Remember that you love this person, grumpy or not, and he loves you too.

    6. If a depression does occur don’t hesitate to seek professional help. It can save your sanity and your marriage.

    Above all, think positively. Negativity begets negativity. Show support in all ways possible and slip some money into their wallets. Let them know that you’re in this together. Remember? For richer or poorer. That says it all.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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