Losing a job is hard on a person’s ego since we as a society equate the job role with proof of societal contributions. Likewise, the job loss for a married person can cause havoc on a marriage if each partner does not provide support. Here are a few tips to help with the adjustment.
- Listen to your spouse discuss his/her job loss and what it means as an individual. If the job loss was expected, relief may be experienced since the waiting time has been completed and he/she may have been interested in starting a business or returning to school. Meanwhile, an unexpected job loss may cause denial, anger, confusion, and/or a loss of identity.
- Decide on a family meeting for spouses only then with the children. Now is the time to review the most immediate concerns such as the household budget. List fixed monthly expenses such as mortgage, property taxes, and home insurance and variable expenses such as groceries, telephone, and cable.
- Collect and review any sources of income. Saving, checking, and money market accounts should be reviewed to reestablish a budget. Meanwhile, the out of work spouse should check with his/her human resources/payroll/benefits department for severance pay options, health insurance extensions, and unused holiday/vacation pay.
- The state unemployment department should be immediately contacted since some states require extensive paperwork and/or telephone monetary interviews to determine eligibility. Also, some agencies ask for in-person interviews. As a helpful spouse, you can research how to collect unemployment for your spouse and help him/her with the paperwork.
- If you have been a stay-at-home spouse/parent, you may want to discuss the need to return to work while an actively outside the home employed spouse may have to explore additional work hours.
Accept that the household roles may change which may be good/bad depending on the communication, honesty, and trust within your marriage. Respect each other’s contribution whether monetary or physical and remember you spouses job loss does not reduce his/her importance as a family member.