To Wives of Unemployed Husbands ~ by Mr. Smockity

Dear Ladies,

This is my attempt at explaining what is going on in the head of a man who has lost his job and how his wife can best support him.

I was oblivious. Sure, I knew the economy had hurt our balance sheet and that things were not perfect, but I had no idea they were to the point I was going to lose my job. One moment I’m walking into a meeting that’s been rescheduled three times (surely no meeting discussing the loss of your job would be rescheduled) and the next I’m hearing things have gotten bad. Not a death sentence. Might be salvaged. Meet again in 3 days and take some time off until then.

Three days later, it’s: “Here is your severance. No way to salvage the job. You are a good man, best of luck, adios.”

I was defensive, and my mind raced 90 to nothing with reasons why this should not be happening. I was angry. I played many scenarios out in my head, and I was not the villain in any of them. I was in shock. (I did not eat for 36 hours and I slept probably 24 of the first 48 hours). I was ashamed. How could I — with so many people at home depending on me — be without a job? How could I face people? What was I to say?

I felt inadequate, a complete failure, totally defeated. Though there were many reasons for the layoff I had no control over, the bottom line is I had not made myself valuable enough to be kept.

I was worried, fearful of the future. How would I support my family? Could we keep our house? And what was my wife going to say? I had told Connie of the first meeting as soon as I arrived home. All these things were going through my head in the 20 minutes it took to get home from the second meeting.

Every day I experience most of these emotions at some point or another. Along with these come anger at myself and everyone else, frustration and helplessness over having no control, and a feeling of being “less than”. Less than I was, less than I want to be, less than I should be, Less than!

Ladies I promise you, if your husband is without work, he is experiencing most of what I am. He may never admit it, but he is feeling it.

I am Blessed. I have a Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who loved me while I was still a sinner; He loved me for who I am, not my job. He tells me to cast my burdens upon him because he cares for me. (1 Peter 5:7)

I am Blessed. I have a wife who loves me, a wife who is just as scared as I am, just as worried as I am. And yet she jumps in asking how we can make it work and plans accordingly.

She encourages instead of berates (not an easy thing in today’s culture).

She makes me feel she trusts and believes in me.

Ladies, a man can do much more with a wife who believes in him than he can ever do with a wife who despises him.

I hope you never find yourselves in my wife’s position. But if you do, remember your husband is beating himself up already. He does not need your help doing that. He needs your help in believing in himself, in seeing something good in the mirror, in feeling you look at what he can be, not what he is not.

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Comments

  1. Hello Mr. Smockity,
    Thank you for your heartfelt words. I hope and pray that you won’t feel defeated and down for it certainly is not your fault to have lost your job. Some things are beyond our control in life. This economy is very tough, and many don’t realize how tough it is until something hard happens to them. I think it is comforting the many people who have left comments have had their husbands lose their job, for you are surely not alone. My husband presently has a job, but has lost a job before (twice in our short marriage). I never questioned him, for I know how hard he works and that these things were not his fault. I am sure that your wife feels exactly the same.

    Difficult things in life test our faith. None of us can go through life without challenges. Some have less, and some have more. Having been through some really hard things in life I can tell you that God will get you through this. It may seem so horrible and difficult right now – but I have found that I have grown the most through those challenges. God has a plan for you, and your family. This I truly believe. I pray that you and your family will be closer than ever through this time. God bless.

  2. I’m having a hard time coming up with words. But I wanted to say that I think so highly of you. I am praying for your family and for you.

    I know the Lord has a plan for you. I am impressed with your courage and strength.

  3. Sir, you have our prayers!

  4. Dear Mr. Smockity,
    Thank you. You and your family have been in my prayers since I first read of the lay-off.
    Also, a confession, I am guilty of all the things you ask wives not to do. My husband has been unemployed for several months and while I think he is trying, sometimes I get so frustrated I take it out on him. Cognitively, I understand he is feeling all the things you describe, but there is that part of me that is afraid and frustrated and second guessing everything he does and then I lash out or give advice as if “I” could fix it if he’s just listen to me. Not exactly living up to my role as wife, I know.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom here today.
    Continued prayers for you all.
    -peace

    • Stacey, I feel just like you. My husband has been laid-off for 5 months and I am guilty of doing everything wrong too. It wasn’t so hard to be supportive the first month or the second, but each month that passes it gets harder and harder.

      It’s definitely much easier said than done! It is something we have talked about and are working on in our relationship. It has definitely been the hardest thing I’ve personally gone through and as a couple we’ve gone through.

      This is something I’ve had to remind myself daily to do, and somedays are easier than others.

      Thank you so much for this post and reminding/encouraging us ladies how to support our husbands.

    • I just wanted to let you know that I wrote a post today on my blog about worrying with encouraging scripture. I thought you migh enjoy it. :)

      http://momanswerswithbrit.com/?p=313

  5. Mark, I have always known you were an awesome guy and that Connie was lucky to have found you so young! The two of you have always been an inspiration to me and never more so than now as you face one of the hardest things you have ever had to face in your marriage (or over a quarter century no less!) I have no doubts that the two of you will come out of this ordeal stronger than ever both in your marriage and in your faith. Prayers are with you that this however will be a SHORT journey! Love you both. Proud of you.

  6. Tabatha says:

    Thank you for sharing…I am continuing to pray for you and your family. We have experienced a job loss and it is interesting to me that both you and my husband questioned your “Value”. I can see a correlation of job=value in a man’s eyes. I am appreciative, as a wife and woman, that men like my husband and you take your role as a husband, father, provider seriously. I guess I wanted to encourage you with the fact that our Heavenly Father sees much value in you, entrusting a beautiful, Christ-centered, loving, fun, helpful family to you! :) Praying that this new journey will grow your family closer to Him and each other and that you will be granted the strength, peace and encouragement in the midst of it.

  7. Momworkdc says:

    Mr. Smockity, sir ~ you rock!!! =)
    You could teach men everywhere what a real man looks like.
    Your being laid-off is not your fault, surely you know that, but as anyone would you feel down on yourself and hurt.
    Your wife is an amazing woman ~ one of the very reasons she is one of only a handful of blogs I follow faithfully.
    God knew what he was doing when he brought the two of you together!
    He has a bigger and better plan for you ~ just wait and see!
    This “time off” is probably just His way of allowing you to spend much-needed quality time with your beautiful children.
    God will provide for your family ~ as He has been this last week or so … Enjoy the time He has given you to be with your family.
    Only good things can and will come of it!

    All the best ~
    Tammy

  8. Jenni Baker says:

    Thank you so much for your perspective. The best relationships and marriages need encouragement to flourish and grow, in the best of time and especially in the worst of times. Stay strong…this too shall pass. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your precious family.

    Jenni

  9. You two are so brave for being so open and truthful about this. I think it’s really helpful and important, but I know it cannot be easy. Hugs all around to the Smockity Peeps. Thank you for sharing your lives in a way that glorifies Christ.

  10. My dh is a teacher and was given “his pink slip” in February. He is taking some more college classes to make himself “more marketable” as there are a lot of teachers in our area due to a good college nearby. However, we trust in the Lord and know He will take care of us thru this time. Once he has finished his current class (should be done end of May) we’ll start “hitting the streets” putting out aps and resumes for a teaching position in the fall. Your prayers would be appreciated. Thank you for this article. I’m sure my dh feels many of these things but I do pray I have been an encouragement to him because he is awesome! Blessings!

  11. Jennifer says:

    These words are so valuable. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  12. Natalie M says:

    We are praying for the Smockity Family!! May you use this time in your lives to show your amazing faith and know that our God is and Awesome God!! He will supply your needs!!
    Take care!!
    The Murray Family

  13. Coming from experience, I can say that your words are right on and I hope the ladies reading this are listening. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I would just like to add one more dimension, however. The same truth applies to the man that is “underemployed.” Because, when a man that is 50ish loses his job, the chances of him regaining the ground he had his entire career are slim. If he’s doing the best he can, but the paycheck just doesn’t seem like enough, don’t say anything, ladies. He knows. Just tighten the belts, cut back, and PRAY.

    • Yes, I agree with this one! My husband was laid off for 6 months and thankfully got a new job, but getting paid half of what he made before. I am pretty sure now from seeing both sides of this- at least for right now- it was almost better when he was laid off. At least then there was HOPE for more, but he feels just stuck. And useless. I am trying my hardest to encourage him and let him know that is won’t always be like this. Both are just a hard, down places to be. So we PRAY!

  14. Mr. Smockity,

    Great post. My husband is also unemployed, has experienced and expressed the same concerns and feelings.

  15. Sorry but no sympthay for you or your wife. You have that many kids and you didn’t know you were losing your job? serioulsy? Your refuses to get a job WTF!!!!!!!!!! But yet you take food from friends and money from strangers?

    • Stephanie says:

      This is the way the Bible tells us to be living. First to be good stewards of the rich blessings in which God provides, second to take care of the body of Christ.
      Please continue to lean on God and not your own understanding He has big plans for your family.

    • It’s about having convictions in life and living them out. What a better example can you set for your family? Teaching them to have convictions but then let them go when times get hard doesn’t set a good example. It’s OK if you or I or smokity has different convictions. Even if you or I don’t agree with their convictions we can still respect them!

    • Wow, Cathy, I’m amazed at the vitriol with which you laced your comment.

      When you said, “You didn’t know you were losing your job?” you implied Mr. Smockity is a liar, which is absolutely not true. He did not know that his job was in jeopardy and your insinuating that he was hiding it is just plain wrong.

      And if you meant to say “Your WIFE refuses to get a job” then you’re apparently completely unaware of what’s going on. Connie does work, but she works from home. She DOES bring in money to help her family.

      And the very fact that she works from home instead of working outside the home means that she doesn’t have to spend $1,000+ on daycare for her preschool children and doesn’t have to spend money on transportation costs. Even a child could see that Connie getting a job outside the home would be completely counterproductive when she already HAS a job that brings as much if not more money than she could make if she found a job outside the home.

      So kindly keep your hate-laced comments to yourself. You’ve truly made yourself sound like the insensitive fool you obviously are.

    • Cathy-
      I am shocked you would leave such a hurtful and rude comment on Connie’s site. I wouldn’t come into your home and crap on your carpet, yet you feel the need to do so on Connie’s home on the internet.
      Not everyone has months in advance to prepare for a layoff, many people are taken by surprise when they lose their job. It happens every day.

      I’m not sure who you are talking about refusing to get a job, but Connie already has a job and it sounds like Mark is diligently looking for work.

      In my opinion it is refreshing to see a family like Connie’s coming together during the difficult times. It says volumes about their character. Instead of insulting this family, perhaps you could learn a little from them.

      Renee

    • Really, Cathy? REALLY?

      Hmmmm, In an effort to walk the walk I’m going to bite my tongue and quietly wonder what stressful event in your own life may have spurred your uncalled for, unedited, hateful comment.

      Connie, as a fellow mom who is working from home for a variety of reasons, try to disregard Cathy’s thoughtlessness. She obviously doesn’t understand the situation.

      Mark, I humbly pray that I will never personally need this information for my own family, but also pray that it will better equip me to help others in your situation.

    • Wow, I do not understand the comment from Cathy. Sounds like a young uneducated jack%$s that does not understand life. Well, I can say we do not want to give you or your wife sympathy, but encouragement to succeed in anything you want to accomplish. Cathy, when times get tuff , after you grow up and get married, try not to hate yourself. Learn how to be resilient and positive then you can have a chance for success in life. GOD BLESS…..

    • Cathy – I’m an older woman. I’ve seen a lot of life’s ups and downs and experience has taught me many things. Please believe me when I say that one day, when you have matured, you will remember writing this and regret these words. You will look back on saying them and wonder what in the world you were thinking when you wrote them.

  16. Lisa Overton says:

    Your post was an eye opener. Thank you. My husband has been laid off since July of 2010. I did not think about the personal trials he must be going through as a man unable to support his family. Your article gave me several conversation starters to help him know that I am here to support him in “his” time of need.

  17. I think you have done a great service in posting this. Best of Luck.

  18. Only a truly confident man who walks securely with Jesus could
    write with such honesty and all for the encouragement of others.
    Thank you.

  19. Agnieszka says:

    Thank you for your words. My family was several times in this kind situations and I knew what was my husband feeling. Your words are very important for people who never been in that kind of situation.
    I hope you will soon find good job and you and Connie won’t have to worry no more.

  20. My husband lost his job, for reasons of his own doing, and was unemployed for a year without any unemployment. Although that was a very difficult year, financially, spiritually, and emotionally, we look back on it now as the biggest blessing God has ever given us. It allowed my husband time to work through some things and it allowed him unlimited time with our children. I worked from home and our children went to public school so we had all day together. I had been given some godly council early on that my husband knew he needed a job and I didn’t need to remind him of this at all, not even a once-monthly polite nudge. Words came out of my mouth that only God could have put there. God graciously saw us through that year and when I wonder if God can still perform miracles, all I have to do it look at our family, still very much intact, sitting in a church pew every Sunday morning to answer to the affirmative.

  21. Wow! The honesty and openness in this post is so refreshing. Thank you for sharing your heart, instead of writing some macho post that would have been false.
    We as wives need to be reminded that our husbands do have very strong feelings and the need to provide is one of them.

  22. Great post. I know my husband has felt all of the same things (we’re in year 2 of alternating unemployment and underemployment). I do work full-time, and we both desire me to be home when we have children (#1 is in the way!).

    The hardest part for me has been the realization that when I have a rough day at work and talk about it at home, or when I talk about my desire to stay home with children, it makes my husband feel like he has not done enough. Even though that is NOT my heart at all, and I know that he wants me to be home as much I do, that’s still how he hears it. I would also have rough days at work regardless of whether or not he is working.

    I am trying to do a better job of finding other outlets for my frustration, so as not to unintentionally place any extra burden on him. Giving it to the Lord helps, but I’m definitely still a work in progress.

    • To Sarah, I am in your shoes, I am traveling that path, except we have 3 kids already. I struggle every day with anger (not at dh) at the “unfairness” that I, who we both want to stay home with the kids, have to be the wage earner. I remind myself constantly that God works all things for His glory, especially those things we don’t understand. It helps to know that. I would counsel you to continue to work now on accepting what the Lord is laying out in your life and trust Him. That is the only way to find happiness.

      One thing I can assure you of, is that if your husband has the opportunity to stay home and raise the babies, he will be infinitely blessed by that relationship with his children, which few men get to experience.

      Mr. Smockity’s post is a reminder that most of us don’t get what we want out of life; happiness is not found in our wants, but in the Lord.

      • So true! And yes, you are spot on that it is the “unfairness” of the situation (especially seeing how hard my DH is working to find work!) that is the hardest.

        I know one of the things that we both struggle with is the fact that we go to a church that strongly values and promotes women staying home to raise the children. Not only do we hear that regularly from the pulpit, but it’s what we see with most of our friends. It makes it that much harder for (me with avoiding envy and him with avoiding feeling inadequate because we do completely agree with everyone, but for whatever reason it’s not what the Lord has at this point in our lives.

        So, yes, I’ve got verses plastered all over the place about God knowing the plans for our lives, and how He works ALL THINGS for the good of those who love him. Good reminder to myself trust and pray continually. I’ll also be praying for you!

        • I’m exactly in your place, and it’s encouraging for me to hear that I’m not alone. I ache everyday to stay home, but since I’m the sole provider right now it’s not an option.

          I too have a lot of friends that stay home. I have found myself almost having a grudge against them. I know that this is not how God wants me to act, but it is just so hard sometimes! I feel like only others in my situation, like you guys, can truly understand! Everyone told me when I went back to work after maternity leave that it would get easier. It’s never gotten easier!

          I’ll be praying for you!

          • @Sarah & Brit – knowing you are praying is so very encouraging, I will certainly keep you in my prayers as well. God bless.

          • FWIW, I’ve been back to work after maternity leave 3 times, now, and Brit is right, it doesn’t get easier. But there is one thing that helps, and that is knowing that “Daddy” is taking care of the baby. As hard as it is, that is infinitely better than leaving the nb at daycare.

    • I wholeheartedly agree about you frustration. My husband was also discharged in April 2010. I have been very supportive, encouraging him to not loose faith, God has a plan, and basically it could be worse. However, the issue is his anger towards my children and I. Does any one discuss this? Do you snap verbally at your kids, somehow blame your wife and children for your job loss. I work 10-12 hour days, I do everything to ensure I will not be layed off, and yet I do feel resentment towards my husband that I have to be sressed. I wish I could woork 8 hour days, take days off and spend time with my children, but I am so afraid of not having income coming in to our household I do not miss days. This is real life….I have four kids, and my husband decides to have surgery..I call it selective surgery, sure he had a slight tear in his rotator cuff, but he could have waited. Now his disability has run out, and I need mandatory surgery but yet I have to worry about being out on disability since he does not have any income coming in. Ladies, Wives, I am all for “Stand by your man”. However, does any one know how to handle an angry unemployed husband, blaming his wife, and children for his job loss. My sister had made a point the other day at a funeral. I was upset, letting her know how sad I was about my sugery, and yet I supported my husband and felt bad he has been unemployed for a year, and how we would try to make it work financially. “I should thank God my husband is alive, and healthy that is what matters”. She responds, “but your husband is alive, and it is unfair to you to carry such a burden while he is hear and physically able to work”, why should you have to carry such a burden”. I know I appear to be rambling, but always remember there is another side to this, and trust me your wife has to have frustration. It is human nature, she loves you as I love my husband, but I am very, very angry…God bless and wish you luck with you job search.

      • Mr. Smockity says:

        Diane,
        Supporting your husband does not mean standing by mutely. By all means have a conversation with him about your worry, fear, stress, and resentment. Encourage him to not let his frustration with the situation filter into his relationships. I knew Mrs. Smockity was scared because of our conversation. I know she has frustration, she tells me. It is her general attitude of building up and being supportive I’m encouraging.

        Mr. Smockity

  23. katena says:

    My husband is an awesome provider but would not admt to me what you admotted to us. Thank you for telling us how it is from a mans point of view. Thank you for a little insight on the mans mind . good luck and what an awesome family.

  24. Thank you and may God richly bless you both.

  25. Dear Sir,

    Some say losing a job is as bad as a death in the family. Your emotions are raw and unsettled. But I can tell you from my experiences of being laid off, that as soon as that door closes another door opened. I truly believe bigger and better things will come your way. But in the meantime, enjoy your time home with your children and wife. So when the time comes for you to start a new job you are not going to want to leave home because you are going to have so much fun enjoying the simple things. Best of luck..and smile, good things are coming..

  26. Heidi Durrett says:

    Dear Mr and Mrs Smockity,
    I feel grateful that you are using your talents to share the truth of your lives. My husband was laid off 2 yrs ago. Quite a journey this has been. At every single turn we have seen the goodness of the Lord. He has blessed us in ways we could not have imagined. He has met our every need, often before we could even ask.
    We find ourselves so thankful for the sacrifices we made earlier to live debt free. We realize that we are thankful for the lessons this has taught our children. It appears we are soon reaching the end of this journey and that he will return to the workforce in the next several weeks.
    From our family to yours, use each moment to enjoy your family, that is the real work that all of us are called to. Give of your free time to those in need and God will return it to you pressed down and running over.
    My family wishes your peace that surpasesses all understanding given to us through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Heidi, your post is very encouraging and a testament as to the positive things that can come out of something like a job loss. Sometimes when we are going through such a challenge, it’s not so clear. I agree that having a thankful and grateful heart, and an ability to reach out to others even during the challenging times in life can help us all greatly. I don’t believe that God allows life difficulties without the possibility of being able to survive and grow through it all. God bless your husband’s upcoming employment. Thanks for sharing your story.

  27. This is all very encouraging. Thank you for being willing to share from your heart. I find myself in the same situation as you and many of those who have commented. My husband is a construction project manager and with the economy as it is, he hasn’t worked in a year. Our children our grown so it is just the 2 of us. I have gone through most every emotion, sometimes directed at husband, but mostly I have tried to be very supportive and reassure him that I love him and still believe in him. However, I find myself struggling with why we haven’t seen God move. Don’t get me wrong…God has provided for us. Unfortunately we have had to get financial help from our church…something that is very hard for us to accept but at the same time very thankful for it. When I read one of the comments about how God had provided, even before they knew they needed it sometimes, I must admit I felt a twinge of “why can’t that happen for us.” I know God is at work and it is a matter of timing – I believe is able to do immeasurably more than than all we could ask or imagine! Thanks again for you encouragement!!

  28. Mr. Smockity,

    Thank you for writing this. It is good to hear what is going on inside, from the man’s perspective. We’re 8 months unemployed, and though at times we feel better about things than others, it’s not getting any easier either.

    Jessica

  29. Dear Mr. Smockity,

    Please don’t feel like you were not good enough (though I know it will take more than words). Seems like all those delays were their way of trying to figure out how to keep you. I’m a career Executive Assistant, I have seen this before. Sometimes the numbers JUST DON’T add up and they have to go though the “chain”.

  30. Wow these are tough stories. Try this one on: I was injured at work in June 2009. Although the company told me they would not fire me, 2 months later they did. I have been unemployed since then. To add to that, I have 8 kids who are mostly adopted. In march of 2010, my then 17 year old tried to kill himself, and since then has been using drugs and living an immoral life. My wife injured her neck in June of 2010. Although we were on COBRA insurance, a glich cancelled all benefits at that time and my wife had to be confined to bed for 3 months and my Down syndrome child was very sick in Nov 2010 with no health insurance. many of our kids are special needs including autism and down syndrome. My wife puts me down continually and tells the kids to not listen to me. She spends money on stupid things demanding I get a job while I try to be frugal. Our intimate life hangs on how well she thinks I am treating her, but with menopause, she is fabricating cruel things I never did to her. So I remain in the dog house while she demands sympathy for her numerous ailments. I am exhausted emotionally and I feel like I am not qualified for anything. I have no friends and I live between isolation and caring for the kids. I am suicidal without the kids. My entire life is full of failure and disapointment. My wife is my biggest enemy. Divorse is stupid so I remain: a lone loser.

  31. Thanks for a man’s perspective. My husband recently lost his job. I am, by-nature, the more fearful of the two of us. My husband is an extremely godly, laid-back, incredibly patient man. I know it was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do-telling me he had lost his job. I too am a SAHM and a home educator so his is our only income. Even though my natural reaction is one of panic and anxiety, I know that the greatest gift I can give my sweet hubby is my faith-in him and his leadership of our family and in God to provide. I try very hard to be an encourager and supporter and to do all I can on my end of managing the household to save us money, get creative with our budget and just be a support to him in every way. It is hard but so worth it to know that my man knows he is loved far more than our home or our “stuff” or our “status”. Thanks for the reminder!

    • My husband found out that his job will be eliminated at the end of next month. Like you, I am the worrier of the two of us, I am a SAHM, and we homeschool two of our three children. Our middle child has high-functioning autism. We have done the “Love & Respect” series, and I have learned (the hard way) how important it is to my husband to be sure that it’s respect and honor for his efforts, no matter what, that fall out of my mouth. So far, I’m practicing my “right to remain silent” so that nothing negative DOES get said. He is discouraged and depressed enough without me adding to it right now.
      We did this “unemployment gig” four years ago, with total and full reliance on God’s provision for our needs; we will do it again, and will come through with praise for God when it’s “over.”

  32. Mr. Smockity,

    When I first read your post, I reflected back to last year when my husband was laid off from a large company. I hoped that I had done a good job of supporting him then. Little did I know that I would have another another chance to think on your advice. Last week we found ourselves once again asking ourselves “What will this layoff bring us?” Thank you for sharing your experience and best of luck with the new job!

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