There are over 9 million people unemployed in America right now, which means there are a lot of bummed, stressed out and worried people.
If your partner is one of them, he or she may be feeling very down and unmotivated. Often unavoidable economics may have caused your partner's unemployment, but it is still painful. Here are five ways you can help your unemployed spouse get past this bump in the road:
- Blow Off Some Steam. That's right. Be mad. Be sad. Be confused. Be loud. Go ahead and scream. Give each other permission to be really upset — with an agreed upon ending point. Some personalities might need a weekend. Some can get it all out in an hour. But the important part is to let it out and then stop complaining about it. Dr. Posen, stress expert and author of Is Work Killing You? A Doctor's Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress says, "A good-old venting session can help to get the emotion out, dissipating some of that stress energy." So, shout it out, nice and loud, and then move on.
- Show Unconditional Love. Your partner isn't just someone who brings home a paycheck; they are the one you love. Make sure they understand that, now more than ever. You are there to provide unconditional love that is not based on any external factor (including money).
- Do Your Part. As the shock from their job loss lessens, roll up your sleeves and pitch in (even more than usual). Consider how you can personally help your financial situation while your spouse is out of work. Get creative and brainstorm some options. How about you skip your usual Starbucks stop (more than once), hold off on those tempting sales, clip some coupons, find cheaper cell phone rates, skip name brands at the store or put that rarely used camper up for sale? You might be surprised how quickly your efforts add up. Now may be an opportune time to consider how you approach money and where your personal weaknesses might hide. We've discovered we all have a go-to, hard-wired money personality, which can help or hinder a budget in times like this. Your efforts will make this unfortunate circumstance and your partner's impending job-hunt much less painful.
- Make This A Team Effort. A job loss affects everyone in the house financially, emotionally and even physically (less time at work means more time at home). Make the most of the additional time you have together. Granted, he or she will be busy applying and interviewing but they may have more flexibility in their schedule than they did when they were working. Why not take advantage of that? Have your honey run carpool, walk the dog or hit the matinee with the kids. Oftentimes when we have the money to do fun things, we don't have the time. Enjoy the flip side of that equation for once. Make the most of the situation and recommend activities for them to do such as going on a hike, connecting with old friends or spending time as a family at the bookstore. List the reasons you love your partner on sticky notes on their car or in dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror. Is there an encouraging or funny book you could read together? How about a trip down memory lane with old photo albums and a bowl of popcorn? This will help remind them that there have been better days and there will be again.
- Dream About The Future. This too shall pass. When this cloud passes (and it will) what are your hopes and dreams for the future? What are you looking forward to? More time with friends? A different career? A new physical challenge? A trip to somewhere warm and tropical? Time to work with a charity you really believe in? Focus on that bright light at the end of this tunnel. As a Stage III breast cancer survivor, I know the need for dreams about the future. Ninety days of chemo is a lot, but it's not forever. With the help of my wonderful husband, family and friends, I focused on the future and told myself to dream big dreams! (Plus dreaming is free, and free is good.)
To learn how to dream together, grab a copy of our latest book The 5 Money Personalities — Speaking the Same Love and Money Language. Every decision you make together. Every step you take forward moves you past this uncomfortable circumstance and on to the next big thing. The support you provide your loved one during their unemployment is invaluable. You are not alone. You will get through this together, stronger.
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