7 Ways To Handle A Job Loss Losing a job is neither unique nor does the situation have to be dire. Here are seven ways for you and your spouse to move forward. BY ROBERT J. NACHSHIN
During the time of a job loss, being supportive is extremely important.
In these tough economic times, many marriages are suffering as a result of job loss. The strife can be enormous, the toll can be a life altering experience…truly devastating.
Having met with many couples who called it quits because financial stressors tore their relationship apart, I have made a point of offering some tips on how to keep the marriage intact through such a rough patch, and more importantly suggest that they use this "professional interruption" as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship. Here are seven ways to keep your marriage strong during dire financial times.
1. Remember your vows. Part of your marital contract you once agreed to love and support one another in "good times and in bad." Believe it or not, I know couples who decide to reinforce this agreement by staging formal or informal vow renewal ceremonies. Putting emphasis on the stipulation that you will hang in there during the bad times certainly helps to reinforce what you signed up for from the get-go.
2. Keep the situation in perspective. A job loss can be temporary. Consider yourself lucky that this unfortunate event is not life threatening. Together, celebrate the fact that one of you is employed and the other employable—a job loss is not a terminal illness.
3. Let your unemployed partner know you will help in the new job search. You can take an active role in many ways: Help your mate update an outdated resume; assist by going through job listings for him/her and make suggestions on which ones might be best to pursue; spread the word to colleagues and others in your professional network who might steer your spouse toward the right job; spend some quiet time alone helping him/her tally up the many skills and talents that might expand new job possibilities. Any one of these efforts will demonstrate that you are in job search mode along with your spouse.
4. Don’t slack off around the house with regard to shared responsibilities. Nothing will bring down a marriage faster in the equal status department than to assume that since your mate is unemployed he or she can tend to all the household duties. Your spouse may offer to pinch hit because he/she is jobless, which is fine but don't let them take on all the responsibility. It may make them feel demoted and contribute to a loss of self-esteem.
5. If you are the person who is employed, cut back on your favorite things that require money. If you are used to playing golf every Saturday, betting on the ponies, shopping at a gadget store, snapping up the latest fashions, or even enjoying lunch out a couple of times a week, call a moratorium on such extravagances. This will also let your unemployed mate know you are conserving funds to help make up for the loss of income. Not mentioning you are cutting back will send an even louder message. Just do it! Your spouse will take notice and thank you.
6. Be willing to work a little overtime if you can. Though it may only be temporary, if you have the opportunity to put in some extra hours at work or take a second job on the weekends while your spouse seeks new employment, do so. It will show your spouse that you do not mind picking up the financial slack for the time being. Be careful not to neglect the family in the process. Ask your mate if that would make him/her feel some relief from the financial burden you both share. If the answer is "no," then get inventive, there might be plenty of other ways to make up the difference. I had a friend who felt he had outgrown his baseball card collection and let it go for a great price.
7. Ignore the daily news reports. Just because the jobless rate is high and the economy is rebounding at a slow pace does not mean there are not jobs suitable to your spouse’s skill set. If he or she dwells on news reports it may add to the angst. Instead, grab that remote and switch it to a channel your spouse always finds to be a pleasant distraction or just turn off the television completely.
You know your spouse better than anyone so spend a little time making your own list of things you can do to keep his/her morale up and ease the financial burden. This may seem like a difficult time for you both, but change is inevitable. The trick is to move through this difficult time as an opportunity to enrich your relationship, not strain it.
Robert J. Nachshin is co-author of the book "I Do, You Do...But Just Sign Here: A Quick and Easy Guide to Cohabitation, Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements." He represents many celebrities in film, television, music and sports. He is best known for the precedent-setting win in the Barry Bonds prenuptial case that was ultimately decided by the California Supreme Court, where he prevailed on Bonds' behalf. For more information, visit www.nldivorce.com.