How My Husband’s Unemployment Helped My Marriage
My husband and I have been employed in some form or fashion since high school. We often like to look back on our diverse experiences from coaching gymnastics to being on a nighttime janitorial staff to teaching to photography and almost everything you can imagine in between.
Early in 2022, my husband expressed interest in potentially leaving education in pursuit of a career that could lead to more growth, fulfillment, and monetary opportunity. We thought, “well, we’ll know when the time comes.” When his contract was not renewed, we were not exactly prepared for the time to be now.
Job Market Shenanigans
Let me tell you – whoever said the job market is GREAT right now, must have an exceptional resume, or exceptional luck, or both. My husband applied to well over 60 jobs. In-person, local opportunities, remote work, every industry you can think of.
He received several interviews, but to no avail.
As the sole breadwinner, I felt a great deal of pressure. As the one who manages our household budget and bills, I would literally dream of spreadsheets that helped everything to balance.
As someone who already struggles with anxiety, this was a tough one to swallow.
Pressure makes diamonds
A lot of our goals as a married couple, I realized, were centered around things.
“When we make XX amount, we can buy a big house!”
“Once you get that raise, we can get a bigger and better car.”
“Maybe private school is the best option if we can afford it!”
Our conversations were refocused quite quickly. We recentered, reprioritized, and were able to come together on what is really important.
“How can we use this time away from work to reconnect as a couple? How can we carefully use this time with our kids?”
“How do we make the home we are in NOW the best for us and our kids?”
“While we have previously used our dollars for convenience, we now focus them toward absolute necessities.”
We came back to our foundation. We came back to one another.
Onto the next chapter
After a stint at a grocery store and odd jobs for family and friends, our prayers were answered. It was not the dollar amount I had in mind. It was not the traditional 8-5 I thought it might be. It was better, but it was only better because we had realigned what was important.
In the midst of the unemployment stint, I could tell you that I was angry, stressed, and nearly hopeless. Fortunately, hindsight allows for wisdom. I’m thankful for a hopeful partner who dreams and who does not back down from a fight. While I would not have said this a few months ago, I’m thankful for the time of unemployment and what it has done for my marriage.
I hope those who find themselves in a similar struggle can lean into their loved ones and focus on the good that can come from the bad. It can truly be life-changing.