How to Support Your Husband during His Job Search
Supporting a husband during unemployment can be stressful. There are probably a lot of questions going through your head: How will you support your family financially? How can you help him find a new job? If you’re not already working, should you seek employment yourself? How should you adjust your budget? If you have children at home, how are they going to take the news?
At the same time, you’re dealing with your husband’s discouragement and your own personal worries. How can you alleviate your fears, find answers to your questions, and offer the support your husband needs? As soon as possible, you and your husband should sit down together and make a plan. Here are a few tips to help.
Unemployment often places a strain on both the job seeker and his or her spouse. Your husband may go through the mourning process and experience feelings of depression and low self-worth during his job search. He may struggle to stay motivated, and his methods of coping may not be the same as yours. Love and support him. Avoid placing blame for your current difficulties, and help him see his value and understand his skills and talents. Encourage him to use a variety of job search methods.
Rejoice together over the small successes such as a job interview or a new networking opportunity. Even when things don’t turn out as you hope, keep going and be optimistic. Take into account that the higher your husband’s desired salary is, the longer his job search will likely be. Build more time than you would expect into your job search plans. Simultaneously, maintain an attitude that treats unemployment as a temporary, manageable situation. The more the two of you stay patient and focused on his job search despite the challenges that may arise, the quicker he’ll find a new job.
Take Care of Yourself
This is a difficult situation for you as well as your husband. You might be feeling anger, fear, sadness, frustration, or a variety of other emotions as a result of your husband’s unemployment. Take the time you need to maintain balance and peace. Recognize that whatever you are experiencing is valid, and don’t ignore your feelings. Continue doing the things that you enjoy and that bring you peace, and seek out someone that you trust, such as a friend or visiting teacher, to talk to. As you find ways to maintain your emotional, mental, and physical health during his job search, it will lessen some of your feelings of stress.
Encourage Your Husband to Seek Out a Job Coach
By asking a friend or ward member to be a job coach, your husband can be accountable to someone outside the home who is not as emotionally invested as you are. Job coaches help discuss job search goals, career goals, and plans to achieve them. They can help your husband identify what is working and what is not working in his job search and suggest ways to improve. For more specific information, read the LDS Jobs article about choosing a job coach. And in addition to a job coach, your husband might also want to participate in the Accelerated Job Search program or visit an LDS employment center.
Discuss Possible Mentors
A mentor is someone to turn to when seeking career improvement. Different from a job coach, who gives general job search advice, a mentor is someone who is knowledgeable about your field. He or she provides advice about long-term career goals and can answer career questions that arise. As you and your husband discuss possible mentors, choose someone he looks up to or someone whose life path he aspires to follow. A mentor can be an individual from your family, ward, stake, or other social circles.
Turn to Your Family, Friends, and Ward
Don’t keep the fact that your husband is unemployed a secret from your extended family or ward. They can be a great strength and provide much-needed assistance. Reach out to your family and find out what resources they have to support you and your husband. Can they watch the kids? Do they have people in their network who might know about jobs? Can they help financially? In addition to family members, reach out to your ward family for help. Your ward has an employment specialist, a ward council, and a local network of connections. Your bishop may also have additional resources through the Church’s welfare program.
It’s important to stay involved during unemployment. Many people who are seeking work avoid social interaction because they feel embarrassed; sometimes friends and family members even avoid job seekers because they aren’t sure what to say. It can be difficult, but don’t let yourself become isolated. Isolation can contribute to depression and can limit the number of employment opportunities your husband hears about. One great way to interact with others and focus on something besides the job search is to do service.
Take Advantage of Church Programs
There are many programs already in place that the Church provides for members dealing with unemployment. Take advantage of LDS Employment Resource Services by asking your husband if he would like to go to an employment center. There he can attend the Career Workshop, find a job coach, and enroll in the AJS program. He can also search for jobs by creating a profile on LDSJobs.org.
Make Adjustments to Your Finances
As you analyze your family’s finances, look at the ways you can either increase your income or decrease your expenses during your husband’s unemployment. Consider ways that you and your husband can make modifications to the family budget, and use food storage supplies in meals. If you’re not currently working, consider picking up part or full-time work, or if you’re working part-time, consider moving into a full-time position. If you are working, continue working hard at your job, and don’t allow your work to suffer because of your husband’s job search. As you make these important decisions, weigh all of your options and counsel together and with the Lord.
Do Things Together that Are Not Related to the Job Search
It’s easy to let a job search take over every conversation and every family activity, but spending time together without discussing the job search or finances can help you maintain a sense of normalcy. Keep doing the things that help your family stay together and relieve stress.
Consider How to Include your Children
Your kids will be affected by this period of unemployment, so do what you can with your husband to make it a positive experience. Refer to 9 Ways to Help Your Family during Unemployment for specific ideas about how to counsel together, help them feel secure, and strengthen your family during this challenging time.
Turn to Heavenly Father for Help
Remember that you are both going through this together, and you can turn to the Lord for help. Pray together, both for help and guidance in his job search as well as for energy, compassion, patience, and insight to get you through this challenging season. Fast and attend the temple as circumstances permit.
Heavenly Father is eager to help you and can guide and strengthen you. In the Book of Mormon, the people of Alma were put into bondage and prayed for relief. Just as they were blessed with the strength to carry their burdens, Heavenly Father will strengthen your family to overcome this trial as well (see Mosiah 24:13–17).