My Husband Lost His Job: How to Survive a Job Loss

It is stressful when your husband loses his job. No, not my husband. Not since last October, anyway. Unfortunately “my husband lost his job” is one of the frequent search terms people use to find BeingFrugal.net. And it seems to be increasing in frequency. Other search terms I’ve seen recently are “god’s provision during unemployment,” “support husband lost job,” and “financial what to do when might lose job.” It breaks my heart that so many people are experiencing the same struggles that my husband and I experienced last year.

But there is hope. And I’d like to address the steps you can take to make this tough time a little bit easier.

When You Feel a Job Loss is Coming

A lot of times you can see a job loss coming. Your boss seems distant. There’s a hostile atmosphere at work. Perhaps there are rumors that your company will be bought out. The financial statements look bad. The list goes on.

Though it does happen from time to time, people are rarely blind-sided when they lose their jobs. I know that both times my husband lost his job last year (yes, it happened twice in one year), he knew for a while that things didn’t look good.

If you see the proverbial writing on the wall, start saving all the extra money you can save. You’re going to need it to live on. If you’ve been snowballing money toward your debt repayment plans, stop. Go back to paying the minimum amount and put any extra money in your emergency fund. Start living as frugally as you can. And keep your eyes open for other job opportunities. Hopefully you can find a better job before you get fired or laid off.

As Soon as You Lose Your Job

File for Unemployment

Don’t wait. I’m not sure how much things vary from state to state, but in Oregon, there is a one week waiting period before you can collect benefits. There also needs to be an investigation into the unemployment claim, and often that holds up your benefits for a couple of weeks. So you want to file as soon as you can.

Tell Everyone You Know that You Lost Your Job

I know this is a tough one, but it’s important. As a Christian, I appreciated the prayers of friends and family. Beyond that, you never know who might know of an employment opportunity. Connections are everything, and the more people who know you’re job hunting, the more chances someone will know of a job opportunity for you.

Make a List of Resources You Can Tap Into

It’s important to do this early on. You may never need to use these resources, but you will feel better knowing that they are there. Some ideas to consider:

  • Your church
  • Local Food Pantry
  • Energy assistance programs
  • Salvation Army
  • Sliding Scale Medical Clinics
  • WIC
  • Your state’s Medicaid Program (OHP in Oregon)

There will be others, depending on where you live.

Cut Back Your Budget as Far as it Will Go

Cancel the cable, cell phones….anything you don’t really need. You want to make your savings stretch as far as it will go, because you don’t know how long you will be unemployed.

Put as Much Effort as You Possibly Can into Finding a New Job

How picky you can be about your new job depends on whether you have any savings to fall back on. If you have a significant savings account, you can afford to wait for a great job. If you don’t have a lot of savings, you may have to string together some part time jobs to make a full time income for a while. My husband, who was an advertising sales manager by profession, took on part-time janitorial work to pay the bills.

Wives…What You Can Do For Your Husbands

Since I get a lot of search hits for “my husband lost his job,” I want to make sure to touch on this. Job loss is stressful, and it’s sometimes easy to turn on the one you love in the midst of the stress.

Keep in mind that men take providing for their families seriously, and a job loss can make a man feel like a failure. Wives, this is the time when you need to be strong. You can reassure your husband that he is not a failure…that this is just a temporary setback in life. Assure him that you are on his team. Remind him that you still respect him as a man. Tell him frequently that you have confidence in his abilities.

I’m not talking about false flattery, but focusing on the positive. Your husband already knows the negative. He heard it from his boss, and chances are he’s hearing it from himself. Being the encourager in your marriage is very important in a crisis.

My Experience as a Christian

God does provide. It’s not always how you expect, and many times working through a job loss is more difficult than you anticipate. There are times you may even question if God is there. He is there, and he cares about your situation.

Philippians 4:19 says,

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

God will meet your needs. Not necessarily your wants, but He will take care of your needs. You just need to recognize and accept the opportunities he sends your way, whether it be a check from your church or a part-time janitorial job.

I can testify to the many times God has provided for my family in difficult financial times. For those who have landed on this site looking for hope, I hope you have found it. Take heart. The storm of unemployment will eventually pass. You will get through it, and someday you may be able to encourage others with the same struggle.

Other useful blog posts:

Did I miss anything? Do you have additional tips for surviving job loss? Please share!



Author

By , on Mar 27, 2008
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{36 Comments}

  1. Thank you for the inspiration this article provided me with. I lost my job several months now and have emotionally felt it very hard. If I had not been a fanatic frugal prepper I would be on the street. I had an emergency savings and more food than Costco. Now I am out of the emergency savings and still job hunting. I have to admit the Universe/God has heard my pleas and things just miraculously occur. Now if I can only figure out what adventure I want next I am sure the job will present itself!

  2. lewis family:

    this is good but its hard to see the other side of the forest when the trees are sooo big .start with been their done that too. god have been good to us in 2000 my husband had a heartattack and we recovered and have lived a pretty normal lifethen the the year 2007 hit the seen we purchased the american dream a house ! lets start with in four months later my husband lost his job and i kept the faith.and kept every thing going with the sterngth from the lord jesus christ ,then through th next 7mths he hand part time jobs here and there but that ended in oct 07 .then in jan of 08 the company i worked for close down.so now we both are getting unenploymentand cant find jobs ,we also have two babbies in the house 2yr and 10mths.oh it dont stop there in apr of 08 my husband had a stroke .my unemployment ran out in july of 09now we have loss both our cars and as i write this letter to be prayed for the appraisel man is here to appraise the house for foreclosurer .and you do wonder where is god ?hwen you know you are a faithful tither even off your unemployment.

  3. Cheryl W:

    My husband is losing his job Friday, but we are trusting in God (Jehovah Jireh) because He is the provider of all our needs. He has always been faithful, and we souly put our trust in Him. Thank you for the tips, they are great solid advice. Please send up some prayers for us. Thanks so much.

  4. Melissa Smith:

    Thank you for that…I just didn’t know what my role was in my husbands job loss. He is so down on himself, and doesn’t want to be cheered up so I just didn’t know what to do. Thank you for your words of wisdom :0)

  5. Annalise:

    My Husband has been dealing w/job losses (yes, losses) since about July of ’08; no fault of his own, unfortunatly like SO many TOO many now days in the U.S. I’m in amazement that our unemployment rate is 7.1%! Crazy and sad.
    Right now he’s been working temp. jobs sporadically through a temp. trade co. (he’s a pipefitter/plumber) and getting unemployment, we’re slightly ‘making-it’, but it’s terrifying at time’s and he and I (never our child) have gone hungry at time’s. The food-bank’s even in our area have been running-out of food for the first time and having to turn people away! Unreal. I’ve applied for med. assistance (our son need’s eye surgery and my Husband’s coverage for him just ended RIGHT before it was to be done, would’nt ya’ know, lol…..), food-stamps and even temp. fin. assistance, but we make TOO much money, (about $1100/mo. right now! for all of us w/a $765/mo. rent)……We had to pull-out some money w/a very high penalty too from his local union retirement fund to just pay our rent the other month. We’re devout Christians and we pray all the time, (not just for ourselves, others as well, as we know alot of other people have it much worse even than we do unfortunately)……….and the Lord has come through (as he always does if you have faith) just this past Mon. actually when my Husband got a 2-4 wk. temp. assignment, much better than the usual 1-4 days that they’ve been only able to give him in the past……….Sorry to go on and on, but your tips really do work (we’ve used them and do use them still)………….and also make me feel that I’m not alone………
    Take-Care and God-Bless You and Yours……… :)

  6. DeAnn:

    Gee, I’ve tried being positive. I am having a hard time staying positive and trying to keep a smile on my face while I deal with my husband’s mood swings and negativity. You would think that my getting a new job making more money than I have in the past – which will help keep the roof over our heads with some frugal planning – would be considered a blessing. I understand that for men being the breadwinner is important. I understand the lack of identity. I manage the family budget. I know that it will be OK. I try to reassure my husband and all I get is negativity and I’m being told that I am being condescending and putting him down. WHAT?? We’ve been through bad times before and I always assume the support role and bottle up my emotions so as not to hurt or upset his feelings. I’m tough, and I can handle a lot – but I can’t handle a bad attitude on the part of my husband. He lost his job a few weeks ago and two days later I got a salaried job with health benefits. God is watching out for us. I know that we are blessed. But my husband’s bad attitude is getting to me. I feel like not speaking to him at all until he just adopts a better outlook. Why can’t he see that it’s not the end of the world and that God is watching out for us? Why does he think that he has no friends and that no one cares about him? I am at my wit’s end!

  7. Sondra:

    My husband just lost his job and we are newly married (just this last july of 2008). We moved away from our hometown, so our main support system is not as available as it use to be. My husband opened up to me today about how he doesnt feel confident and how he is batteling with alot right now. He re assures himself that God will provide, but to hear him talk like this is hard for me to bare. I don’t know what to do for him at times, but I will follow your advice on reassuring him that I have confidence in his abilities, and let him know I’m on his team. Thank you for this website. God bless you.

  8. Ash:

    My husband got fired from his job today. It was totally unexpected. I am a full time student and a full time employee and next week I was just about to reduce my work hours so that I can focus more on school. But now I will have to not only continue working full time but I will also have to work overtime to make ends meet.
    I am feeling very overwhelmed due to all of this. I trust God and His providence but at the sametime I can’t stop feeling so sorry for my husband and for the both of us. Any advice?

  9. I’m a big believer in self-manifestation — i.e., you put your mind to it and you can find the way. There is nothing harsher to the ego than losing one’s job — whether it was expected or not. Your points are very good. Especially about cutting expenses. When no money is coming in, it can be eye-opening to look at where you’ve actually been letting the money fly out of your wallet.

  10. Lynnae,
    good post! I couldn’t agree with you more about God’s ability to provide for us. As the Bible says, His grace is sufficient for us. He will never leave us or forsake us and I am glad that you guys handled it the way you did!!

  11. Great post, Lynnae. I’ve been noticing the same trend as you. On February 5, I wrote a post called “What to Do Before You’re Fired.” It covers some strategies to implement before you lose a job. I’ve linked to it in the Name field.

  12. Kaye:

    Thanks be to God that we have never had to face this situation in our household, but I praise you for posting this. Unfortunately, too many people are facing this type of situation now and they need somewhere solid to look for help. Thank you for offering guidance, sound advice, and a little soul-lifting, for they certainly need it.

  13. marci357:

    Good all around article. Remember Oregon’s unemployment waiting week only applies once a year, so hopefully they didn’t nick you the second time.

    Additional things you can do: Always be prepared…meaning keep up on your maintenance – the car tires should be good, the house mended,up to date on doctor and dentist visits, no major expenses put off (if you can help it)…. It is very helpful not to have any big expenses show up during an unemployment time that could have been avoided by just staying current on your upcoming obligations.

    Also – always have your freezer/canning/drying/medicine cupboards stocked as full as possible and in keeping with storage expirations. You should be able to live a long long time off what is in your house without running to the store.

    So in summary: Be prepared, and plan ahead :) Good luck to any facing this!

  14. Thank you so much for posting this. In May 2006, my husband was blindsighted by a sudden downsizing at his place of work. It was obviously a financial blow, but I was completly unprepared for the emotional blow that it was to our family.
    I am thankful that you posted this so that others out there going through this now can read this and have an idea of what to do next.
    Thank you for the post, and GOD bless!!

  15. michelle h:

    Whew! I’m so glad this title didn’t apply to yall again. But for those who find this site who have recently lost a job, what good advice to follow and also great encouragement that it won’t last forever.
    Blessings!

  16. Great post, and very timely (unfortunately) for a good many families out here. The advice to pile up cash is great because most people’s first inclination is to try to pay off as much debt as possible. That only leaves you cash poor, but following your advice one could still service the debt out of their beefed up emergency funds while using the remaining funds to live off until re-employed.

  17. Ben:

    You definitely got me too! I honestly do not know what I would do if I lost my job but your articles would def help. I have mixed feelings about the PayPal donate button…Hope all is well out there!!

  18. I’m so glad that the title was misleading to your particular circumstance. ;) I actually just recently started reading your blog and was a bit upset for you when I read the title. In any case, I’m so happy to see you advice for both a houshold, a husband, and his wife. I’m actually very thankful for your article. Keep up the good work! I hope that those who read this can gain hope as well as take in the advice because it is extremely important to know the points you made.

  19. Thanks for the great post, I haven’t personally lost a job, but I know how hard it was on my wife when she lost her job. Luckily we didn’t have to cut back that much because I was the primary breadwinner at the time, but it is still hard to go through.

    Stumbling the article!

  20. Title scared me too! I really admire the way that you and Jim have handled the job loss and subsequent new job. I’m sure others will find this useful as well!

  21. Wes lost his job last year, in September when the mortgage bank he worked for filed bankrupcty. Then he lost his next job the week before Christmas. It was super rocky, but your suggestions in this post could have been taken from our lives in the last 7 months. Thanks for the post!

  22. Delurking to say that we have been here several times. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to not let this event get in the way of intimacy. My husband needs that more than ever during this time — probably the worst thing would be to let it get in the way. It’s probably THE primary love language to let him know that I really do love, respect and support him during this difficult time.

  23. Ron:

    Whew! You had me going this morning.
    This is a great list of tips and resources for handling a job loss, but don’t scare me like that!!!

  24. This title scared me this morning! I’m thankful to hear nothing happened, and I think this is an excellent article, by the way!

  25. What an uplifting post! I hope it inspires those who need inspiration.

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