Help your better half find a job.

What should I do when my husband is unemployed? It is not an implausible question since so many people get retrenched daily. How does it affect my family, our finances and emotions when he is unemployed? The impact of the sudden loss of income, self worth, and changes in lifestyle can be devastating. The longer the period of unemployment, the greater the impact it has on the family.

The following phases typify emotional stress of being without a job:

Phase One (first two months)

  • Disbelief, comfort, and relaxation
  • Positive attitude that there will be a new job in the near future.

Phase Two (third and fourth months)

  • Intensive search for work
  • Build up irritation and disappointment

Phase Three (nearing six months)

  • Disillusion, low confidence, and fear
  • Phase Four (past the six month's mark)

    • Complete withdrawal, melancholy and acceptance of fate
    • Urgent need for counseling becomes apparent

    What can I do on an emotional level when my husband is unemployed?
    Your husband needs more attention and encouragement during this time. Don't complain or attack him. Give him support and show him that he is still important in the family. Give him spontaneous hugs, and leave little letters at his desk to indicate you care. Make his favorite meal once a week. Set time apart to listen to him and don't interfere when he confides in you. It being said, don't over sympathize since he needs to get up again and search for work. If it is too comfortable, he will not see the need to face the challenges.

    How can I help to ease the workload and stress when my husband is unemployed?
    Take some of the routine tasks on you, even though you are already busy, in order to give him enough time to search for work. Become involved by helping him with his resume, job postings, and finding work through the Internet or newspapers. Speak to your friends, colleagues, family and people from your church or gym group. They might know someone who can make use of your husband's skills.

    How should we communicate when my husband is unemployed?
    It is essential to keep communication open. Discuss pleasant and bad days, and feelings. Motivate each other. Your children are also involved and they need to understand what has happened. Explain to them that each one will have to work together until your husband gets new employment, such as using less electricity, a bit less sweets and expensive entertainment.

    What can we do with the limited income when my husband is unemployed?
    Draw up a budget for a six-month period. Cut variable expenses and make arrangements with your creditors to pay less until your husband has new employment. Look for additional sources of income. You can sell the extra vehicle, withdraw some of your savings, sell your shares, or request refinancing on your house for a longer period.

    How can we stay positive and focused when my husband is unemployed?

    • Confide in your friends
    • Spend one day a week apart to give yourself breathing space
    • Do those things that you as a family enjoy, such as walks in the park, fishing, board games, cleaning the garage, or gardening
    • Manage your time by setting an agenda and goals
    • Keep a daily routine of job searching activities
    • Eat healthy food such as whole grains and fruits to prevent fatigue
    • Minimize time in front of the television
    • Avoid excessive use of potentially addictive substances
    • If needed, arrange for counseling