When Your Husband has Lost His Job

My husband lost his job 4 months after our wedding.

I was also unemployed at that time, having left my employer of 7 years three months to our wedding.

For many months as newlyweds, we tried our hand at various things to make ends meet.

When your husband has lost his job, what to do

Some of you reading this have experienced (or are going through ) job loss or business struggles and  failure.

Financial challenges can be hard on early-weds because they have not laid a strong foundation for the marriage yet.

The battle

As a wife and when your husband has lost his job, you may find yourself battling some of these feelings and emotions;

The situation might feel permanent, like it will never end.

You have faith. But some days it’s just “not there”.

You feel frustrated

At one point I remember thinking “he’s the man, he should have figured out this thing by now

Not very sanctified thoughts, I know.

As wives we are so wired for that cover and that need will sometimes out-beat all reason and sense.

You are mad with God

Why us? Why now?  What have we done wrong?

Envious about others who aren’t struggling

You have many plans and ideas and many of them require financially stability.

When others do effortlessly what you can’t do intentionally, envy will try to take root.

What to do instead

If you are going through hard financial times in your marriage right now and instead of dwelling on the above, here’s something you can do instead.

1. Pray for your husband

God is your provider, not your husband.

So go to God. Take your (plural) needs to the Lord.

And not just the obvious needs like a new job or a business turn around.

But the deeper ones which might not feel so urgent, like wisdom and courage and strength and favor and encouragement.

There’s so much power in prayer, power in immersing yourself in God.

Without it  you’ll be overcome by fear and anxiety. You’ll be making demands on your husband, demands that he can’t meet.

More on hearing God in difficult situations in this post. (Click the link)

2. Give extra grace.

Chances are your husband is not his usual self.

He’s moody, in low spirits, not as loving or patient or jovial.

I am not suggesting that he has a free pass in this season, a good marriage is work, 24/7/365, no matter the season.

But I am proposing that you minister love and make your lives easier by not taking everything personally.

Try not to be irritated by every little thing he does or does not do. When he doesn’t have a smile of his own, give him yours. Better still, top it off with a kiss.

Just be easy. You’ll bring out the best in him when you extend grace, not when you dwell on what he’s not.

Read this post on how to go the extra mile in marriage.

When your husband does not have a smile of his own, give him yours. Better still, top it off with a kiss! (Click to read 8 ways to support and encourage him)

3. Think of other ways to bring in extra income

If you are not working, you might want to think about other ways to bring in extra income.

Think outside the box.

Can you babysit, house-keep for others?

By the time my husband lost his job, I was volunteering full time at a Christian organization.

When he lost his job we had to stop and reorganize – I left the organization and started a small business from home.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, think about things that wouldn’t cost much to start. (My little business cost $5 to start).

They key thing here is to think outside the box.

4. Curb your spending (and watch your mouth too)

Adjust your spending habits and do with what you have, even as you trust God for more.

Also curb your mouth.

As women we dream with our mouths wide open.

We have big plans and lots of ideas and sometimes we don’t realize how our endless verbalized longings affect our husbands, who are already feeling the pressure to provide.

It’s okay to dream, just be sensitive and wise. Don’t ooh and aah over all the things you don’t have. Even if you end your ‘salivating’ with “someday when we have money honey…”.

Be gentle and sensitive.

5. Continue to give

Heavens math is very different from our math.

Here we like to hold on to what we got because we think one plus one equals two.

But God thinks one minus one equals more. He likes to give to open hands, not hands that are grasping stuff.

And we are not talking about money only.

Think about your time, your gifts and talents, what you have in your house. I didn’t have any money to give as a newly wed but I had clothes.

The thing is, there’s always something you can give if you look hard enough. Giving takes your eyes off yourselves, it gives you a God-sized vision and perspective.

So don’t just think about money, think outside the box and purpose to continue being a channel, not a reservoir.

6. Encourage your husband

Your husband is probably more frustrated than you are.

He is feeling it more than you can imagine.

Purpose to be that peaceful oasis in his life, an encourager and blessing.

More thoughts on encouraging and blessing your hubby here and here.

7. Understand “this too shall pass”

You will have good days when your faith is up and down days when you wonder where God is at.

Just keep going.

Dig deep into His word, pray and keep moving forward.

Take it a day at a time. Don’t try to figure out the rest of your life.

8. Accept help if it’s there but…

Accept help if it comes but don’t allow the “help” to run your life.

Sometimes people want to help but their help comes with strings attached.

Don’t sacrifice your marriage for ‘help’.

So there’s my 8 thoughts on what to do if hubby loses his job. Have you ever walked through job loss? How did you navigate? I would love to hear your thoughts in Comments below


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Linking with Titus 2sdays, Growing Home, we are That family, Messy Marriage, Wifey Wednesday, Wise Woman
  • Daisy

    This post and the comments are super encouraging!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Amen Daisy, glad you are encouraged!

  • http://jasonpockrandt.com/ Jason Pockrandt

    I find the biggest gift in these seasons of unemployment in our marriage is the fact we can give it back. There will always come the day when your wife or your husband want to make the leap and follow their passion for God and life. When that day comes and you look your spouse in the eye, the most precious gift you can receive is for them to say, “yes let go.” Too often the worries come into play. I was given that gift by my wife when I had hit rock bottom and I was blessed by my Lord to give that back to her not to long ago.

    When you find that partner in your life be truly grateful and open to see the gifts that you really have, that you may be giving without even realizing it is done. Be Love. Be Kind. Be Supportive.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I’ve seen many of my friends lose their jobs right after just getting married. One friend lost his job weeks before his wedding, another lost his job weeks after they had just moved into a nice big home.
    It definitely puts a strain on a marriage. and I was able to observe how the wives’ reactions had the ability to bless their husbands so much.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    great post. These are tips people should use even when there isn’t a loss of job.

    Prayer, giving grace, continuing to honor God in what you have, etc is a great foundation to build your life upon.

    I remember when I was young and a married couple gave me the advice that in a marriage neither person can’t be mad at the same time. When one is hurting or mad, the other must give more grace. We all have bad days. We can’t control everything that comes into our lives, but we can decide to trust God and live above our circumstances. And on day’s when that’s too hard, we need our spouses to help us up. They give to us, so later we can give to them. It’s a give and take.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Great tips here! When I was unemplyeed for a season my wife kept encouraging me which built my confidence. I think praying and the support of a wife is so essential.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Amen Dan! Bless God for your wife :) Thanks so much for sharing.

  • http://www.creeksideministries.blogspot.com/ Linda@Creekside

    Wow, Ngina … this is so timely with the economy crashing all around us. Your words are so practical, your heart so warm and encouraging. Your man is blessed!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      I am the blessed one, Linda! haha. We need the reminders all the time! Thank you so much for coming by and reading and sharing.

  • Betty Draper

    Great post Ngina…if one has been married long enough they have probably faced this struggle. I know we have, in our early years of marriage and there have been more times then one as over seas missionaries our funds coming in would not cover our need. Without these test we never learn to trust God and He always comes through someway even when we complain, get mad, fight and lack faith. I believe He is not hindered by our action because He cannot be anything but Himself, a gracious Father who loves us and provides for us. I like what Barnard said, the loss of a job will not separate us from the love of God and what God destines for our marriages. Great point.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      I love love what you’ve said here Betty

      “He always comes through someway even when we complain, get mad, fight and lack faith…He is not hindered by our action because He cannot be anything but Himself, a gracious Father who loves us and provides for us.”

      It’s something I am learning over and over again- it really has been a running theme in my life for years! – that God will not be hindered and is able to do what He has purposed to do in my life. inspite of me…my lack of faith, fear, worries, anxieties etc. Somehow God gets the job done! Amen and amen. I am happy hearing this from one that has walked this road for decades. it’s a great encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing Betty, you really uplift me!

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    It can feel embarrassing and like you are failure when you can’t provide like you want to as a husband. At one time I had a full-time job, and three part-time jobs because we couldn’t quite make ends meet despite totally reducing our budget/expenditures. During that time of super-work what helped the most was my wife understanding how hard I was really trying. She was my life-line and a major supporter

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Amen and Amen DS. I am so encouraged reading how wives have stood by their husbands during hard times and how husbands appreciate that. What husbands go through, the responsibility on their shoulders, is hard to imagine. And sometimes all you hear is how wives didn’t stand by their men. So it’s a blessing to read testimonies of wives standing and what that meant to hubbies. Thank you for sharing, it’s a blessing to me.

      • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

        I know it wouldn’t have been possible without her support.

  • ShayB

    Thanks for a great post! We aren’t new-weds, just passed our 20th anniversary, but we left jobs 3 years ago to start our own business. Its been a struggle in the recession and slow economy but God is faithful. Your advice is sound whether newly wed or long-wed. Thanks for the encouragement and reminders.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Thanks ShayB, glad the post is uplifting. We have navigated the business waters and know how it is. But God! He is faithful! Thank you for dropping in and encouraging me.

  • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth Steffaniak

    This is so relevant to many, Ngina, especially in our current economic climate. My husband lost his job two different times many years ago and both times were very hard not just on him but on our marriage. I don’t think I did what I should do, nor did I avoid doing what I shouldn’t do. I remember being so envious of some friends when they went on a vacation together–making my hubby feel worse. I also remember being very frustrated and irritated when my friends when would suggest eating out for lunch. I couldn’t spend the money on myself and my kids, so I felt I couldn’t go and let that pull me and my hubby down into a pity party. If only I had this post to remind me how to weather this crisis and support my man. :) Thanks so much, my friend!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Your words are so uplifting Beth, I struggled with these very feelings and actions and just like you i did not fair well (and hence my post and lessons here). I had also just come from a place of financial independence and i think i was projecting my personal frustrations on my hubby as well. I thank God for His grace and patience. And redemption. I am encouraged just hearing you struggled with the very things i did! Sometimes we just need to know we aren’t alone, that God does change hearts, and He helps others from our mistakes.

  • MommySue

    We’ve have gone through 4 job losses in 12 years … and you know what? God always provides! I call it “God’s Economy.” I actually started a widget calculator on my blog to keep track of all that the Lord in HIS WAY provides for my family! Many blessings to you!!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      “God’s economy” – A powerful and a perfect way to describe it! Thanks for sharing that and encouraging me over here. Would love to come by your blog (and soak in more encouragement!) , would you mind sharing your url? Blessings to you!

  • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

    My husband lost his job the summer our oldest child was one. He was a junior high science teacher and they decided not to renew his contract and give him tenure. I was a stay-at-home mom, having quit my job when our son was born – so it was a bit unsettling!

    That was 25 years ago, but I still remember it was hard on my husband’s self-confidence. It helped that I’m not a person who cares about money anyway – I don’t need a great lifestyle. But it also helped that we lived below our means on his teacher’s salary and weren’t in debt. When we were both working, before we had kids, we always lived on his salary and saved mine so that gave us a good start financially.

    Looking back, Scott losing his job was one of the best things that ever happened to us. It was hard for the short term – he had to take a job fighting forest fires and had to live apart from us for six months. But after that we moved into a two room apartment that was tiny, tiny, and he went back to school to become a physical therapist – a job he likes much better and that is much better suited to his personality.

    I think your points are all great ones, Ngina – and all necessary!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Wow Barb, I am so blessed by your sharing. Sometimes we think we’ve gone through hard times and then we hear what others walked through and overcome and we realize our challenges weren’t so bad after all :)

      Thank you for sharing. My husband travels sometimes and it’s such a challenge him being away. 6 months and young ones..well, that’s alot of grace :) . I am just challenged to be better. Thanks Barb.

  • http://lifesignatures.blogspot.com/ Lawrence Namale

    No 8 is big for me. In my new book (out in June 24), I cover it under the title ‘shortcuts’. Lost my job too at some point, and I thank God for a wife who recognized that I was wasting my potential ‘waiting’ for a breakthrough. Great read. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Congratulations Lance, can’t wait for your book! I loved the sample chapter, I know it bless many, and blow our socks off. :) Amen for a godly wife. I think that’s what God meant when he said “he obtains favor from the Lord” :) So blessed to see His goodness in your lives.

  • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

    Good post. If we stand by our vows, which says for richer or poorer, we will fight together. The loss of a job will not separate us from what God destines for our marriage.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Amen, Bernard. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. He keeps His word!

  • Pingback: The Value of Encouragement | Encourage Your Spouse()

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    When we got married neither of us had a permanent job and we were both in college. As we started our first year of married life I only worked an odd job here and there and my wife worked at our school library which didn’t actually pay anything but just went towards our school bill. That was a time of stretching faith for both of us. When I look back at it I wonder how we survived but we did, God was with us and thankfully my wife had a good attitude about and that was huge.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      I love hearing how wives make the difference in tough situations Caleb. God can and will pull us out of any situation and i love to reading the contributions of wives. Thank you for sharing your story, you were a bold strong couple, right from the get go! :)

  • http://theregoi.com/ floyd

    I’ve lost much and balanced between closing my businesses on several occasions. I have to say I believe that my wife praying for me may have been the thing that rescued us. The strain on her was immense and hard not to have an effect on the entire family. We’re on the exact same page today especially on the giving aspect. Supporting one another in tough times is what we’re to be about. Excellent advice.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Amen Floyd, that’s a great testimony. I love what you’ve said about prayer, your wife praying. It makes the difference, doesn’t it. Praise God. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great insights Ngina. It’s not a great situation or feeling but prayer and a little hustle will get you through it!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      True Kimanzi!

  • http://www.encourageyourspouse.com/ Lori Ferguson

    Valuable insights, but better yet, your 8 items have tangible suggestions. I love how in #2 you suggested, “When he doesn’t have a smile of his own, give him yours. Better still, top it off with a kiss.” That’s good advice even when there’s income, but no joy…

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Amen Lori, love that last observation. So true. Thanks for reading and sharing