Coping When Your Spouse is Unemployed

How do you cope when your spouse is unemployed? How does your marriage survive the strain this situation puts upon it? As one author said:

Photo credit: inoneear / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: inoneear / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

“The loss of a job can put the vow ‘for better or for worse’ to the test. Unemployment rates high on the list, along with death and divorce, as one of life’s top stress-inducing events. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and guidance for those coping with their own unemployment. But what about the rest of the family? Unemployment impacts spouses and children, too.” (Roberta Rand)

Another author said this about being unemployed:

“Nobody likes to think about being unemployed. But it’s a state that’s more and more common. Whether due to corporate ‘right-sizing,’ termination, or career change, it’s always an uneasy time. What causes the stress? First, the spouse who’s lost his or her job may have suffered a serious blow to the identity. This is especially true for husbands, since most men largely define themselves by their work [although we acknowledge that it’s not true for all]. They also tend to believe that the husband’s earnings are the family’s primary income, whether that belief is stated or not.

“Second, many couples haven’t saved enough money to get them through a prolonged period of unemployment. Running out of money is a real possibility, depending on how long joblessness lasts. So is going into debt with credit cards or losing a house if you default on a mortgage. All this weighs heavily on both partners, especially the one who feels most responsible to ‘win the bread.” (Sandra Lundberg, from the book, The First Five Years of Marriage)

Coping when your spouse is unemployed can be difficult for any married partners, but it’s especially difficult when the challenges are overwhelming and are coming at you from all sides. This type of situation works over-time on your mind and how you interact as husband and wife.

Christina Woodside, knows what it’s like to be a wife whose husband loses a job. She writes,

“I heard the garage door opening. It was only 5 o’clock. Don certainly was home early. Lately he had been working long days, much too long. ‘I sure hope they appreciate his hard work,’ I often thought. ‘He deserves to come home early one day. I’m so glad he’s finally doing it.’

“But as I glanced up from the sink full of dishes, one look at his face told me something was wrong. My smile faded and before I could say anything, he painfully murmured, ‘I got a pink slip today, along with 150 other people.’ The company had been hiding its financial problems until now. We were stunned. For a man, especially one in his early fifties with two kids in college, news like this can be devastating.”

She then goes on to write some tips for “Supporting Your Spouse Emotionally and Spiritually.” To learn more, click onto the Crosswalk.com web site link to read:

WHEN YOUR HUSBAND LOSES HIS JOB

Laurie Jackson voiced her journey with her husband’s unemployment this way:

“When my husband, Dennis, first began job hunting, I’d hold my breath as I waited for him to appear at the door, eager for a glimpse of his face to tell me if his day had been a success. But now, 15 months after he became a statistic —one of 300 laid off by his employer of six years —I can tell how his day’s gone simply by the way his feet hit the steps leading from the garage into the house. Today his footsteps are heavy, as though he’s carrying the weight of the world.

“All these months I’ve watched Dennis stuff hundreds of resumés into the mailbox and pound away at the computer keyboard, courageously sending hundreds more electronically. I’ve waved good-bye to him as he drives off early in the morning to face another day of approaching unapproachable receptionists at companies that ‘are not hiring.’ And I’ve greeted his slumped shoulders and downcast eyes upon his return after another unproductive afternoon.

“I’ve seen Dennis lower his expectations, then lower them further. An electronics technician with a sterling work record and more than 20 years’ experience in his field, he first sought a comparable job. After a few months, Dennis expanded his search to include entry-level positions in his field, expecting that would do the trick. His wink and nod assured me we’d find a way to get by for a while on the lower salary. But after several weeks went by with no interviews, much less job offers, he began to respond to every job posting for which he was qualified —and, more often than not, overqualified.

“He then began to be turned away for jobs on a whole different level: gas station attendant, custodian, grocery clerk, and school crossing guard, to name a few. And while I was proud of his willingness to do whatever job it took to put food on the table, it was at that point I became afraid.

“My fear stemmed from all the unknowns: What if Dennis doesn’t find work soon? How long can we go without his income? What will happen to us when the unemployment insurance expires, or our savings runs dry? In the beginning, I was Dennis’ biggest cheerleader. But the more time goes by, the more discouraged, despondent, and bewildered Dennis becomes. And the more tired I get.”

To learn more from Laurie Jackson’s journey concerning this issue (plus an additional article titled, “A Woman’s Work” written by Holly Vicente Robaina), and then afterward to read of another couple who survives job loss (in an article written by Sherri Langton) please read:

LAID OFF

IN THE LAND OF LAYOFF

— ALSO —

Maybe you’ve even gotten to the place, as Laurie Jackson did, where you’re so very tired and each day drags onto the next, with no end in sight, so that fear, anger, and a whole range of emotions have overtaken any optimism you could ever have.

Sarah Canney found herself in that place and writes the following:

“When my husband lost his job and his self-esteem, I had to learn a lesson in grace and patience.”

You can read about it in this linked article below:

• UNEMPLOYED AND UNNERVED

Lori Fletcher, in the Powertochange.com article linked to below, discusses “Seven ways a wife can show her support.” As you, or your wife may know, this isn’t easy, and yet you want to do all you can NOT to cause more problems. She writes:

“As the wife of a man who no longer has somewhere to go everyday, where do you start in showing your support?

To learn more, read:

COPING WITH YOUR HUSBAND’S JOB LOSS

Roberta Rand Caponey, gives her advice when:

“The loss of a job can put the vow ‘for better or for worse” to the test.”

You can learn from her experience in the Focus on the Family article linked below:

• COPING WHEN YOUR SPOUSE IS UNEMPLOYED

Also, the following is an insightful article, written by Sheila Wray Gregoire, in a Question/Answer format, posted on the web site Tolovehonorandvacuum.com web site, which gives insight into a very real problem some women (and men) face when their spouse is unemployed. Please read through the article and the comments below it to gain insight into the very difficult issue:

QUESTION: My Spouse Is Lazy and Won’t Get a Job

As you have read, in the articles posted above, the testimonies and the advice given, come from the standpoint of the husband losing the job and the wife being the spouse who is trying to cope. It’s not that I started to write this article this way, but in doing my research on the Internet, these are the articles I was able to find, so I’ve given the information I can, accordingly.

I hope if you are the husband reading this article, who is the one trying to cope with your wife losing her job, you have been able to flip around the pronouns, glean through and gain at least some insights. Sometimes, when we’re searching for information, and what we find isn’t as custom-fit as we want, it’s a good time to ask the Holy Spirit to personalize and show us HIS insights, as we glean through what we are able to find.

If you feel a tug to re-read that which is written above from that perspective, allowing the Holy Spirit to be your interpreter and your “Wonderful Counselor,” please do so.

Whatever you do, please be intentional in working on your marriage relationship, at least on your part. You may not be able to control what your spouse does or does not do, but do what you know the Lord would have you do. Love, as Christ loves you.

“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” –Barbara Johnson

Some things that Paul Tripp wrote in his book, What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage, may give you different insights than you had thought of previously. He wrote:

“God is in control not only of the locations in which you live, but also of the influences that have shaped you as a person. He has not only written the story of you and your spouse and determined that your stories would intersect, but he has controlled all the things that have made you different from one another.

“As you struggle, you must not view your marriage as bad luck, or poor planning, or as a mess that you made for yourself [although any or all of this could contribute to what is happening to you that is causing you to question God]. God is right smack-dab in the middle of your struggle. He is not surprised by what you are facing today. He is up to something. [The question is, will you participate with Him in this, or fight against Him?]

“…God is working to rescue you from you, to deliver you from sin, and to form the character of Jesus in you. Marriage, the world’s most long-term and comprehensive relationship, is taking place in the middle of sanctification, the world’s most important unfinished process. Why would God do this? Hasn’t he gotten the proverbial cart before the proverbial horse? Well, the reason this doesn’t seem to make sense to us is that our purpose for marriage tends to be different from the Lord’s. We’re just not on God’s agenda page.

“Our desire is that our marriages would be the location of our comfort, ease, and enjoyment; we often have desires no bigger than this. But God’s purpose is that each of our marriages would be a tool for something that is way more miraculous and glorious than our tiny, little, self-focused definition of happiness. He has designed marriage to be one of his most effective and efficient tools of personal holiness. He has designed your marriage to change you.”

He also wrote:

“There are moments in our marriages when we’re crying out for grace, not recognizing that we’re getting it. We’re not getting the grace of relief or release, because that isn’t the grace we really need. No, what we’re getting is something we desperately need, the uncomfortable grace of personal growth and change. With the love of a Father, your Lord is prying open your hands so you’ll let go of that which rules your heart but will never satisfy you. With the insight of a seasoned teacher, He is driving you to question your own wisdom so that you will let go of your understanding and rest in His. With the skill of the world’s best counselor, God is showing you the delusions of your control so that you will take comfort in His rule. With the gentleness of a faithful friend He is facing you toward the inadequacies of your own righteousness so that you find hope in Him.

“When you are tired and uncomfortable because you have been called to live with someone who is not like you, what you tell yourself about what you are going through is very important. It is in this moment that you must preach to yourself the theology of uncomfortable grace (See Romans 5; James 1; and 1 Peter 1), because when you do, you begin to be less resistant and more appreciative, and you are on your way to forging a marriage of unity, understanding, and love.”

Susan, from the U.S., gave the following advice on the Marriage Missions web site on this subject a while back, that I’d like to close this article with because I believe it’s helpful for us all to keep in mind no matter what the trial has assaulted our marriage. She shared:

“My husband has been unemployed for almost two years, and I confess that I have been more like a shrewish hag than a shrine of encouragement. In seeing this ugliness in me I’ve been able to go to the Lord and become transformed by the renewing of my mind which is really what walking with Christ is all about.

“What it is doing for my husband is between Him and the Lord and I’m learning to keep taking it to Him over and over and over again until I am transformed into His image. I sure make a lot of trips to Him through all this and through it all He provides all we need.

“So, my female friends —lose the mommy act with your man —take your woes to Christ —He has what you need. And don’t feel bad about bugging the Lord —He doesn’t mind a bit and you can’t hurt His feelings. You’ll walk away a new creature. Kumbaya, friends, Kumbaya.”

This article was written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Comments

156 responses to “Coping When Your Spouse is Unemployed

  1. (USA) I have married to my husband for 10 years and we have two children. 6 years out of 10, he hasn’t had a job. He doesn’t clean the house and doesn’t take care of children, but plays computer and watch TV day and night. I only have a part time job and it is not enough to cover all the expenses. I can’t give any vacations or any nice gifts to my children.

  2. (SPAIN) My husband is working in advertising industry. We had a good life: summer vacations, we bought a apartment, a good school for our daugher, but in 2010 he lost his main account and since then it was impossible to get another account not even a small client. He had some small projects here and there.

    I know he is working very hard and trying to get new accounts but in the end it all fails. The advertising industry is going very bad and I am very worried of what might happened. I don’t want my daughter to have to change school mostly because she is very happy and made a lot of friends and don’t want to lose our house. I have a part time job and I also tried to get a full time but it is very difficult. I hope things will get better as a lot of lives are being ruined and all my support to all of you.

  3. (USA) I usually love your approach Marriage Missions but there are a lot of women who are being nagged to death by their husbands to go back to work and bring back that income they (husbands) were used to loving. I find your site to be very archaic and in fact, somewhat disrespectful to women who are loving, supportive, respectful and yet you just seem to think that women are functioning in those “biblical” male/female roles like in Abraham’s day.

    Get over that will you? For pity sake, my husband is not my Lord, Jesus is. And when He is the one who has ordered unemployment for a wife, what does a man have to say about it? Remember, the man is weak, too, and he needs to get it out of his arrogant head that he can force his wife to go get a job anymore than his wife can. Jesus is LORD? Do you at Marriage Missions get that? Who is LORD? The husband is not LORD? And no, I don’t submit to my husband when he’s off his balance beam. Get over that. The Lord is my husband and always will be.

    I get so tired of the dismal interpretations of Ephesians. Trust me, Jesus is still Lord, but you never talk about that -about how Jesus is Lord over the husband and the husband cannot Lord over his wife or vice versa. Just don’t forget who is LORD okay?

    1. SOS, I guess I have no idea of what you’re writing here. Where did we at Marriage Missions say that your husband is to be your Lord over Jesus? Are you jamming in some things you read or heard from other sources projecting them onto us –using this article as your scape goat? What you are projecting onto us sure doesn’t sound like something I’d write. My husband is my husband and Jesus is my Lord. Truly… I get that.

      I re-read the article this comment is posted in, and I must be missing something. All I saw was information of how SOME have learned how to cope with unemployment –whether the husband or the wife. Certainly you aren’t telling these authors to work things through into your model of how you think things should be done, rather than how the Lord showed them. That would make you Lord, and not Jesus… and I’m not thinking that you’re trying to apply for the position, so I’m wondering if you may be projecting some other info into all of this. How the Lord shows you to work through this type of situation and how another wife or husband works it out, is not something I’m going to criticize. It’s what should be done. Yes… Jesus IS “still Lord.”

      And where are the Ephesians verses you refer to within this article? I didn’t see them either, and I didn’t see that we told you (or any wife) “to submit” when your husband is “off his balance beam.” You tell us to “get over that.” Get over what? Again, I have no idea of what you’re writing here. I’m hoping you were just venting frustration about other stuff and you decided that this was a good place to dump it. If so, I hope you feel better… truly!

  4. (NIGERIA) Thank God I am not alone. Reading all these give me courage to move on in my marriage. I have been married for 7 years now and my husband lost his job 3 months after our wedding. Since then I have been a major contributor to the family needs. Now I am so tired. I just pray that God would help me to move on. He does not want to work though, he takes care of our children, cleans the house, and does some other house work.

  5. (USA) We owned a business for many years and in 2009 my husband had a stroke. He has since recovered but we lost the business, our house et. God sustained us and I was able to finish school and now support us with a really good paying job. There’s no financial stress –but my husband hasn’t been able to find work in all of these years and his self esteem has bottomed out. He believes that he is inheritly flawed and has no real skills. He has had a spotty job history since we married (20 years) and has been fired or laid off often. It’s all such an emotional mess and I don’t know how to help him. Please pray for us. I know that the Lord has plans for him and has given him gift, but I have to be careful how much I “encourage” him or he feels worse.

  6. (SOUTH AFRICA) I feel so desperate! Although I understand that I am not the only one with an unemployed husband, my situation is worse in that I have my unemployed daughter at home, her unemployed husband, a 2 year old grandchild and a 3 week old baby daughter. My son also lives at home, but he has a job, but is never at home and pays very little rent as he feels his sister doesn’t pay, why should he? In addition to this, with the husband unemployed, he spends all day either on the internet, saying he is looking for a job, or browsing the internet. He is anti-social, self-centered, sleeps a lot and has previously suffered from depression. He has a “victim” attitude, and hates taking my advice and encouragement to try something different. It has worn me down. He is 55 years old and seems to me he is already on pension. I work a full day job from 6am to 6pm and then work a second job training people.

    I have to take care of everything and everyone. I am just sooooo tired. I really hate my life right now. A few months ago we managed to get my husband a job at my company. He lasted 4 months and they dismissed him because of his negative attitude. When he does get a bit of money, he hides it from me instead of giving everything to me so that we can pay off our debt and buy food!! He barely does housework, the pool is green and the house needs maintenance, but he sits on his bum and sleeps or complains.

    He is boring and unappreciative, although he likes to give the impression that he helps around the house. I used to pray for him everyday. Now I feel like just giving up! I have begged God to sort him out, one way or another… but not sure why it is taking so long!

    My son in law is so immature and is not at all street savvy, that it’s difficult for him to find permanent employment. I am not sure where my daughter found him??? She will be looking for employment only when baby is about 3 months old and she can leave the children at a daycare because her husband is so impatient with the toddler and baby! … I am just so tired of this life!!

    1. I am in the similar situation as you with an unemployed husband browsing the internet all day long, very easily gets mad at me for many things. I really don’t know why my life is so miserable. Our kids are in middle school, have a lot of homework at night. When I asked him to turn off the TV so they can focus better, HE yelled at me so loud and viciously that looks like he wants to kill me.

  7. Woooooow! I am utterly astonished that this problem is global and not limited to one culture/race of people as the media likes to often portray. Let me preface what I’m about to say with this… I am a Christian who believes that God’s design for marriage works when BOTH husband and wife lovingly submit themselves accordingly. After reading all of these stories, there seems to be a common thread… men pretending to want to work but keep making excuses not to work or men who outright refuse to work while watching their wives struggle all by themselves to keep the family afloat. I find it disturbing that this hypocrisy exists in Christian homes today.

    When has it ever been biblically acceptable for the wife to take on her role AND the husband’s role, especially when the husband is an able bodied man who has no problem playing video games, surfing the internet, hanging out with buddies, etc??? Please know that these types of husbands have deceived you. Wake up ladies… you are being played and you are playing yourself. They’ve continued to behave this way because you all have allowed them to. What incentive do they have to get a job when you’re doing everything for them? If a man doesn’t even care about providing for his own children, he certainly could care less about helping his wife who is overworking herself just for the sake of staying married. Your husbands know that you do not want to suffer the stigma of being separated or divorced… and they are taking advantage of this fact.

    Where is the godliness in the husband’s behavior?? Does not the Bible say that if a man doesn’t work, he shall not eat (2 Thes 3:10)??? Does not the Bible say that if a man doesn’t provide for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim 5:8)??? How can Christian men, who some of you claim are your best friends and are good with the kids, justify unwillingness and laziness for years? Come on now! Will a true best friend force you to carry all of the family’s financial burden? Will a father who truly loves his children sit by idly for years and not lift a finger to make sure that their needs are met? It’s time to open your eyes and stand in your truth. You’ve been a willing doormat and an enabler.

    You all know good and well when your husbands are not putting in the effort to find a job but yet you continue to support them. WHY? Stop letting your husbands guilt you into taking on his curse! Stop guilting yourselves into believing that you must take up your husband’s slack because you’re his helpmeet. Are you still wondering why God has not answered your prayers? It’s likely because he has not called the wife to be the provider. She was not built to carry the load all on her own. You have placed yourself in a role that was not meant for you. Step back so that your husband has no excuse to step up. Cut back on all of the unnecessary bills like cable and internet… and yes, having internet in your home is not necessary. It’s free all day, every day at the library. Whatever adult in the home is refusing to contribute to buying groceries should not have access to food. Your children are watching what you do and are learning that the mother is responsible for doing it all while it is acceptable for the father to perform minimally or not at all.

    By now you should already know that many men rarely change for the better in relationships. Your situation is only going to get worse. A marriage will never get better when only one person is committed to fulfilling their role while the other reaps the benefits. So, stop praying for your husband to get a job when you keep enabling him. Stop complaining about him when all you’re going to do is keep supporting his ungodly behavior. Stop saying you are glad you found other women who are suffering just as bad as you. Does misery really love company? The Word teaches that wives and children deserve better.

    Your husbands have selfishly refused to be your leaders, providers, and protectors. You already know what the Bible says concerning your role as a wife. Now gather the strength to stand up and say “I will no longer be a willing participant in this foolishness!” Homelessness, hunger and insanity is knocking at your door. Will you do what it takes to make sure that you and/or your children are not affected? I pray God gives you the spirit of discernment and the strength to do what you should.

    1. I woke up after 32 and a half years of marriage today and realized what Renee above says–she’s right. She is so right. And reading all of your comments for these past 20 minutes, I realize most of you women are of a type that is vulnerable to being deceived by a certain type of man. Listen to her. She is absolutely right. Real men do not do what you women are describing. Good husbands and good fathers do not do what most of you are describing. Good Christian men do not do what most of you are describing. You are, plain and simple, being used. And your daughters, especially, are getting a bad example set for them as to what to look for in a man. Look into the future 20 years. It will be your daughters writing the same things you’re writing in this comments section. Unless you do something NOW.

      1. Amen, Marcy! The fear of setting a bad example for their children and influencing them to repeat the same behavior should encourage these wives to open their eyes and do better.

        1. Wow, ladies. You are so correct. I am now in the position of myself being unemployed, my husband is self-employed and we have an infant child to raise. I look at my unemployment as a blessing because 1) I’m able to now fully dedicate myself to my role as wife/mother, which makes me feel fulfilled & satisfied, 2) The house is getting more in order, 3) I’m praying it will make our marriage stronger by removing the “distractions” we can’t really afford (i.e. cable, video games, extracurricular activities that cost money) and 4) I’m praying it will humble my husband so he will actually invest his time/energy into his wife/child instead of his mom/siblings, friends, games, TV, etc. He keeps pushing me to get a job but I know God allowed this to happen for a reason and I can see it beginning to humble him because he keeps fighting additional income instead of fighting for our emotional needs as a family.

          I think that eventually (could be months/years) he will resist fighting as much and either completely leave us or he will just finally let all the unimportant things go. I’m praying soon he will just relent and let it (material possessions) all go. I feel that this is what my husband needs in order for him to become a godly husband/father. He doesn’t see it now, but I’m praying he will on the other side of all this. Please pray for us and for all women who are in similar situations. I strongly agree with the bible in that the woman/mother should be “busy” in the home while the man provides. This is the order in which God made things after the fall of Adam and Eve and so it is the order that works best.

          And you ladies are also very right about the children watching. When our child gets old enough to start having conversations, I will teach her to pray for daddy and teach what Jesus says about marriages and such so that she will know that daddy is struggling with the spiritual & worldly realm right now. All we can do is pray for Jesus to shine His light on his heart so he will finally see the truth.

    2. I thought I was the only one with this problem. Both me and my husband attended the same college and we have the same degree. When we were dating, my husband was employed. He used to get half of the salary I got and then we got married and I became pregnant of our first child. But then soon after, he started to complain about his job all the time, so, he left the company and tried to be self employed (he has technical expertise). But that didn’t go very well. Then I advised him to get a permanent job, and he tried to apply for a while and then give up. Mean while, I got salary increments.

      He used to get some money by working here and there but it has been my salary supporting both of us and our son. We pay a lot of money for the house rent so we have had to cut down on so many expenses to put some money for government housing skim. He goes out from home the same time I go to work and comes back the same time I come from work, but he doesn’t even bring 0.5/3 of the money I bring to the house and still he complains about everything all the time. And now after 3 years, he said he is applying for a job but sometimes, I think that he’s not looking hard enough. I think that I have made life quite comfortable for him to look for the job that is not there. My partner is a good husband but when it comes to the housework and child care, I would say, I do 70% of it.

      Sometimes I get so angry, and at other times, I feel so much pity for him. What bothers me though is the fact that, I am willing to make a lot of sacrifices than he is willing to, though the money is coming from me and that really angers me a lot. In most cases, I am unable to voice out my feelings to him as I do not know what would come out of my mouth if I should speak. So in order to preserve the marriage, I’d rather give him the cold treatment. I have been praying to God for the past three years for a job for him but I haven’t heard from God. But I am convinced that things would not remain the same. The good Lord will surely answer our prayers.

    3. I’m not sure that your advice comes from your own experience? I have a husband who I stopped enabling. You can bring a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. Also what does the Bible say about divorce for financial reasons? I don’t think it encourages a wife to divorce in these circumstances. I also don’t think that a wife earning all the income and ending up single is a better solution. And yes, what are we teaching our children about marriage by our example? I think this is the Grace that was earlier mentioned.

      God is working on change in me. My focus should be doing my role according to God’s lead in my life. Our husband’s will sow what they reap, that is God’s job, not mine!

  8. Hey…I need your help. Its been only 1.5 month of our marriage. We had a typical arranged Indian Christian wedding. My husband earns well…but my pay is quite less compared to the trend in the market. He constantly tells me to change jobs for a better pay. Also, he tells about the other proposals he got who had better pay. He said he didn’t want to hurt me but it’s difficult to live for both of us with such less pay.

    I am unable to decide whether he married me to help him in his financial needs… or am I thinking things. We both have a gap of 5 years. Apart from being paid less I travel almost 2 hours up and down and manage the household. I feel I have no time to look for a job. Am I trying to make an excuse? I don’t know. Also, I have a bond in the company I work. He says many companies will be ready to pay the bond amount if we perform well in interview. Can you please help me out of this situation?

    1. Nivi, it seems that your husband doesn’t consider the fact that you actually have TWO jobs. Working outside of the home as well as managing the household/children are great contributions to any family. To minimize this fact is just plain wrong. If your husband has a good paying job then why is he requiring you to work outside of the home? Is his salary alone not enough to provide for your family’s needs? If he is making enough then it’s clear that he does not want to be financially responsible for you.

      I encourage wives who are being pressured or forced to work full-time outside of the home to ask themselves….if you’ve got to pay your own way (or basically be your own man), then why do you need a husband??? If you’re doing his job AND your job, why do you need him? God has not called Christian wives to bear this type of burden. In a true Christian marriage, husbands must bear the responsibility of providing for the family…not the wife. Your husband should consider getting an additional job since you already have two jobs or he should get a higher paying job. It is ungodly for him to pressure you to take up his slack –his curse.

      I cannot tell you specifically how to get out of this situation as I do not believe that is my place but I do believe you should pray and ask God for the answer. With prayer and common sense, I believe you will find the peace you need.

  9. (South Africa) I am a young female in a relationship with a man. We have been dating for a year and a few months. We have both experienced being jobless for some time but by God’s grace I managed to quickly get another job within months of unemployment. The problem is that my partner has big dreams for this relationship except that he can settle a job to fulfill them its been over a year now that he is unemployed and I’m starting to worry. What if he doesn’t manage to settle one? I’ve been trying ever since we started living together to manage the finances but it’s hard. I’m physically and emotionally drained. I don’t know how else to support him and don’t want to give up on the relationship cause I know that he loves me and he is trying to find a job.

  10. This article is mostly about coping with unemployment when the spouse WANTS to work, but the vast majority of comments are from women whose husbands don’t want to work. BIG DIFFERENCE!

    I had a good job in a field I felt secure in. I worked my way up from a helper to management in 10 years. In ‘09 I took a 40% pay cut, in 2010 I trained my “helper” who became my replacement. Younger, and so eager to work for less money. I, along with 20% of my coworkers, was laid off due to “restructuring”. I managed to get a job 3 months later, which lasted for a year. Then the company lost a major bid and I was the low man on the list.

    I too lowered my expectations for work, let my car go back to the bank, bartered for a Junker to drive and held on to the hope of the traditional ebb and flow of the economy which never really happened.

    My wife and I decided to relocate to where she found an old job she loved in her career. Meanwhile, I haven’t been able to get a decent job, entry level or otherwise for 2 years now. I’m 53, and I’ve had 3 interviews in 2 years, hundreds of applications and resumes turned in. My wife is paying for everything. She is worn out and I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve promised her I will not give up, but she has lost faith in me, and only God can save our marriage now.

    This is a very real problem for those of us who are trying to do the right thing. There is nothing more discouraging than to receive a rejection letter from a company for a job you specialize in, and then receive a reposting of that same job in a search engine two weeks later, and get a phone call from your now estranged wife saying she’s not going to bust her butt while I sit on mine.

    I never thought I would be here… I won’t give up, but I’m watching everything that matters to me and everything I’ve worked for evaporate. It has not been for nothing, because I’ve seen God work in our lives, particularly mine in these past few months. I will win in the end. I only hope my wife is still there when I do.

    To the woman who said, “…men pretending to want to work” and that “men rarely change for the better in a relationship…” Well, MEN don’t pretend, and MEN do change for the better. Don’t refer to MEN when speaking of BOYS.

    It makes me ANGRY that there are hardly any comments on here from women who are married to men like me, to be encouraging for both me and my wife -who take the Paul Tripp quote seriously and are standing by the men who are trying to find a way out of this nightmare. To the wives who have and to the guys who have confirmed this problem – THANK YOU. The rest of these posts belong in the story, “My husband is LAZY.”

    1. (USA) This is very well said, Leighton. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for voicing it. You are right; there IS a big difference when a spouse wants to work but can’t. When we voice “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer” in our wedding vows, who would imagine that the “worse” or the “poorer” would truly happen and then when it does it drags on and on and on and on, despite best applied efforts to change things? Sometimes life delivers us a sucker punch, and we reel under it. And sometimes life keeps punching and punching. When that happens being a promise-keeper who is weary but keeps going none-the-less –being a person who doesn’t fall under the weight of discouragement takes all the strength that is possible. It takes super-natural courage.

      I’m reminded of what we’re challenged to hold onto in Galatians 6:9-10: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

      I applaud you for working within yourself to become a better person. And I encourage you to do what you can to do all you can around the house to ease the load for your wife as much as possible. Bless her however you can, even in little ways. Make it your full-time job to find a job, as Dave Ramsey and others say. I really applaud you that you haven’t given up, and just as Winston Churchill challenged, “Never, never, never give up.” I have no doubt that this is one of the most difficult things to do when the discouragement comes at you daily, dragging on day after day after day. But I encourage you, praying for you and for your wife to do what you can to hang on and not give up.

      All I can say is to pray, asking God for open doors wherever possible, ask for insight in meeting the right people who can pave a path for you to take, and pray whether (and if so, how) you are to re-invent yourself as far as applying and trying for different types of jobs than you ever thought possible before. Pray and then really listen and watch for even little leadings. You need discernment, insight, strength, and favor. I pray these for you and for your wife, concerning your obtaining a job –one that will meet your needs. May you be able to hang tough. Our prayers and hopes are with you.

    2. God bless you, Leighton. Your letter brought tears to my eyes because I’m in a similar situation. My husband has been unemployed for the last 4 years or so, and I’m the sole breadwinner. Unemployment insurance was never in the equation. It’s been me carrying the burden of keeping the family going. I’ve vascillated between negativity and seeing that the man has been trying to find work, and that the way that a lot of jobs are structured now that even an entry level thing is often brokered by a temp agency that takes their cut and when all is said and done it’s still not breaking even considering the cost of gas and child care.

      It is God getting us through this. I believe that things will get better and that he will work again. He isn’t depressed and helps out around the house at least. He’s a great dad and is doing his best to present himself and his contributions positively to our young son. I’m like, what is going on? We tithe, we go to church, we are worshippers, we love the Lord. We won’t give up or grow weary in well-doing. God is in control.

      1. I have a husband who has not held a full time job in years. He works every once in a while when there is work but it is never stable. When he is working he barely affords 1/3 of the household bills. He helps out around the house but sometimes is lazy. I supplement his shortfalls by renting out a room in our house to a student who willingly pays $600 for a room which includes access to the guest bathroom which is rarely ever used by any guest

        Since we were married in 2011 and have built a house for ourselves, his family visits often which I embrace. However, last year his brother announced on facebook that he was moving to Florida. No one asked any questions but when he arrived it was into our home. When asked what his plans were he stated he had nothing to contribute and expected us not only to allow him to live here for free but to pay for his meals. He left after 3 months claiming the job market was not what he expected.

        Now his cousin, whom has rarely ever communicated with us in the last 13 yrs other than being polite at family functions has called my rarely employed husband to state that she plans to have her eldest son move in with us while he attends a nearby community college to take up general studies. When questioned further, she stated that all she had to contribute was $300. I arrived yesterday to find her son here and to learn that she never paid my husband the $300.

        Our tenant has yet been informed of the changes and sacrifices he will have to make and I am afraid that we will loose the only steady stream of income that I count on. We were thinking of offering a discount but now that the $300 is no longer available this puts a new spin on things.

        I am starting to regret my career choices and wonder why I decided to become a working woman in the first place. I resent my degrees and profession. A Hopelessly devoted Wife.

        1. Your degrees and profession are not to blame for the situation you’re in. Just because you have a job doesn’t mean that it is ok for your husband to abdicate his responsibilities to you. Marriage is a partnership and it is not a sin for the wife to have a job. It may be hard to accept what I’m about to say but you’ve been a willing doormat for your husband and his family. How can an outsider demand to come into YOUR home and do whatever they please? Stand up for yourself or else more family members will continue to run over you and use you.

          1. In fact, well said. Please, we need prayers for all house husbands; they are on the increase.

  11. My husband lost his job just before we got married in 2012 because the company closed down. I’m the one bringing in money. It breaks my heart to see him every single day trying so hard to find a job but with no success. He has sent applications even for jobs where is he overqualified, tried talking to hiring managers but nothing helps. Now he’s slowly going down the road of depression and I’m worried that I’ll lose him. I don’t know what do. He is such a loving husband and a father and I just hope that one day God will answer our prayers.

  12. I have reunited with my wife after a several month separation. I promised her I would be working and us in an apartment -its 5 months later and I haven’t yet landed a job. She’s ready to leave and says I’m a liar and lazy. I just was way to optimistic about how long it would take. What now?

    1. Keep persevering TJ. Make it your job to get a job… even a lesser job than you may want. But it will be a start, plus, will show your wife that you are even willing to work a job you didn’t want to have, but that you’re putting your best into it, just as you will put your best into your marriage. This is hard stuff, but not impossible. I pray God gives you favor as you lean into Him for help and leading.

  13. I have been married for sixteen years. I was pregnant with my second son seven years ago and found out my husband had an affair with his ex girlfriend. Not long after that he can’t seem to find a job nor any business deals. Fast forward six years later, he finally got an offer and hired but got fired after just four months on the job. All that I can say is I have decided to keep my marriage for my kids’ sake! The vow was for richer or poorer.

    I had a really tough time, to the point of depression, since my dad was diagnosed with his third cancer. I have had many miracles and answered prayer. Life is not easy and I am holding on to the God who can lead me to a WIDE OPEN SPACE.

  14. I realize my husband has not worked in 18 months but he does look for work all the time. I have to realize that for 19 years, I banked all my income and he paid all the bills. I think I should stop whining, realize I have a small pension, am old enough to collect early Soc though he is not old enough yet by 3 years, and realize that it is time for me to reciprocate. If he never finds work, then he never finds work. No excuse to nag him onto the corner of a rooftop as Proverbs 25:24 implies.

  15. Our son & his wife & 2 young children came to live with my husband & me nearly 3 yrs ago to get their lives together so they could get their own place. This time they moved from St Lois, Missouri where they lived with her Mother & her husband for 5 months. Our son lost his job in a big car industry where he was a lead employee. He had been injured a couple of times so his wife suggested he should sue & they did. After receiving $25,000. He lost his job, position, & his self esteem.

    Needless to say they spent the money in less than 2 wks. They lived in our mobile home. We had purchased another home, in another city so we had a beautiful home & large mortgage but thanked God for answering our prayers for our home. Our son & his wife just had their 2nd child & she immediately started working as a waitress at Pizza Hut. Our son cared for the infant & we had their 2 yr old & loved him dearly. The only thing was they wanted us pay their bills, lot rent, etc & we did for 5-6 months until we were forced to sell our mobile home & they moved in with us.

    Years later they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where our son went through truck driving school & drove for Walmart. He started getting his self esteem back yet they continually needed financial help from us. Through self sacrifice we had saved some & he promised to pay us back. He was involved in a slight accident & lost that job & his joy again. He has no problem getting another job in a different state, just not in our state. He said if I mention it again he’ll kill himself. They manage to have spending money with what his wife earns but he says she’s supporting them.

    We felt like if they turned to God he would help them. We lead by example & do Bible Study every night for hours then all night & I started writing down what we studied for future reviewing. I started tweeting verses & before long had 200 followers, so I felt like God was strengthening us to help others & keep my mind off our present situation wasn’t as bad because our hunger into God’s Word became more important believing that “All things work together for good for those who keep their minds on God.” I know my husband & I are much happier. Believing the parable about Heaven rejoicing over 1 lost soul coming to know God. I know God’s Word is alive & does what it says it will do. Everyone here is less stressed by keeping our mind, souls on Jesus Christ.

    Thank you for the opportunity to let you know this. If a person starts studying 30 minutes a day or night it changes everything. We study the chapters of a Proverbs every month since it teaches about wisdom, prosperity, and a lot we need to know to be happy. I downloaded spiritual apps we study from .& cross referance that with Bible verses. We learned by reading, studying & mediating on God’s Word & muttering scriptures awake & asleep it flushes out the bad you think is in your life & gives you a new perspective & while you’re taking care of God’s business He’ll take care of yours.

    Thank you for reading this & my prayer is that it has helped you to discover how to have a turn-around in your own life. Lay your problems down-pick up the Word of God & start studying everyday with an humble heart, giving God what you are & what you are not. Mark 11:24 says, “This is what I tell you, All the things you pray and ask for have faith that you have practically received & you will have them. (25) and when you stand praying forgive whatever you have against anyone, in order that your Father who is in the heavens may also forgive your trespasses. Now give Our Father thanks & praises & love like never before feelings the weights lifted off you. I pray that you will come just as you are if you’ve never received Christ as your Savior, He’ll accept you just as you are forgiving your past sins and give you a new life like never before known. He loves you and has great ans for your life. Get into a good Bible based Church, study his word, and stay around good people so not to get back into what you just were restored from. Live long and live strong one day at a time. We know you can and will do it today!!:)

  16. My husband lost his job several months ago. I’ve been working two jobs to pay for summer classes and make sure we have the money we need for our bills, but I’m about to have to reduce my hours so I can commit to school full time. My husband is completely aware of this. But I feel like he just isn’t looking for a job. I’ve mentioned several places that are hiring but I don’t think he’s applied. He goes out drinking with his friends while I’m pulling doubles and extra shifts every weekend.

    We have some money saved up, but he’s going to a child custody case that is quickly draining our savings. He also has 3 other children he pays child support to. I feel so overwhelmed. It’s like even when he gets a job, it’s going to go towards attorney and child support. It’s like all of the money I make goes to bills and will support any children we have together in the future. I feel so lost.

  17. My husband and I have been married for 6 years now. My husband has been struggling to find employment. He only gets part time jobs. I have the one maintaining our family and it gets tough at times. I sometimes wonder if I married the right man or if we will ever get a breakthrough.

  18. My husband and I have been married for 3 1/2 years. He has been out of work (of his own choosing) for about 2 months now. I have been at the same company for a little over 3 years. It is very hard to deal with him not even looking for a job. He says he’s not in good health, but refuses to see a doctor. He does, however, keep our home very clean and organized, dinner every night, laundry, you name it. He gets perturbed when I say I’m exhausted from work and I don’t feel like going anywhere. I pray a lot. I pray for strength and patience. I love him dearly, but I’m afraid to talk to him about things.

    1. Sister, I am experiencing the same. I would like to take time to help uplift you and the other women here in prayer. This is so difficult for everyone. God, please strengthen and protect our husbands. Give them the fortitude to overcome any obstacle barring their employment. Give us wives the endurance and patience while You perform a good work in our men. You alone know what we all are facing. If I have enabled my husband in any way, Lord forgive and direct me. Help me continue to live in a way that honors my marriage vows. Help me speak in love. Help me Help other women suffering with this burden. Give Your clarity of mind to our husbands so they can act swiftly and with sound judgment for their family’s sake. Help us be the men and women You intended us to be. Amen.

  19. I have been married for 10 years. We have 3 children. My husband has only worked once in the entire time I have been with him (13 years). That job lasted for 3 months! I honestly don’t know why he cant find a job. I believe I have done all a wife can do: support, persevere, humiliation, you name it.

    My heart has turned sour towards him. When he sneezes I cant bring myself to even say “bless you”. What has happened? My husband LOVES to sleep, but my take on this is, when will you work? He wakes up around 4pm, by that time the day is gone.
    I am a proactive wife. I hate to see time being wasted so I am always keeping busy trying to make money.

    I just feel my children shouldn’t have to see dad lazing around the house and sleeping thinking that is what people do in life. I want more for them. Children are very good at copying what their parents are doing.

    I have come to that point where I am FED up! He can see it and I feel like he has started shying away. Sometimes I wake up in a mood with one word answers (you know those ones… Yes or no. ..lol) I have also resorted to implementing 2 Thessalonians 3 v 10.

    I feel sad at times that our lives have turned out this way when I know we can do better! He is a very hard headed individual who does not take advice well. He hates to talk about situations, especially when I end up forcing him to discuss it because there is never a good time to talk because he is SLEEPING!!!

    I don’t know God’s plans for my life but I do know my children are my priority at the moment. And I seek prayer every day.

  20. I would like to know if anyone has a similar case, so I don’t go crazy. About 7 years ago -2 years before our wedding, my husband left full time employment to seek business opportunities /self employment. He had a strong leading to do this, and I supported him as much as I could. He had no savings, so I paid for all the business trips and everything that was required at the time.

    6 months later, the opportunity we were chasing dried up, and since then, its been nothing.

    We got married, I was getting into a new job at the time and the sign on bonus all went to cover his shortfall. I gave him an ultimatum about the time of the wedding to get a job, but he reassured me it was temporary and this should pass soon.

    For the past years I have supported us. Through sheer hard work, diligence and the grace of God I have risen quite a bit on the job. I earn enough to provide for us, go on the occasional holiday and even had our baby in the US with great healthcare. However we’re still living hand to mouth and are unable to save or make investments for the future. I’m terrified that if I lose my job we are done for.

    All he does during the day is watch telly, browse the internet, and pray overnight for a breakthrough. However I work very hard, up to 12 hours a day. I’m always tired. I work extra hard at the job because I’m always striving for the next bonus, promotion etc.

    He has kept his unemployment a secret from the rest of the world (except me) for up to 4 years now. He still believes that his financial breakthough is coming somehow, someday. I feel like I’m enabling him, but what can I do, expose my husband at his weakest point to the world?

    I believe the relatively comfortable life we have has made him lazy. When I come across potential business opportunities, I always call him up excitedly but it’s one excuse after the other.

    I feel like I’m running mad. When is this going to end? Everyone thinks we’re the perfect couple but have no idea what I’m going through. I’ve told him several times that he’s destroying our relationship but when we start to have these conversations he clams up and gets defensive. I tell him what he’s doing isn’t biblical in any way.

    I don’t know what to do. The funny thing is that in every other respect, he’s perfect -very loving, compassionate, loves me very much and I love him too. He doesn’t help much around the house but hardly ever do you see an African man that does that anyway. I feel like I am going crazy. is this going to be my life?

  21. I am engaged and my fiancé did not do any job. When I ask him to do further studies he stops talking to me. I am very worried about my future.

    1. @Nori, Is he still not speaking to you? If so, or making it difficult for you to feel comfortable. You are already getting your signals. If not married yet, and already concerned for your future, maybe the skies above are trying to tell you something. Listen to gut (stomach region) it never steers you wrong. Many blessings to you!

  22. I hope I can get some advice/help here. I recently lost my job as an electrician. Over 3 years ago my wife quit her job making over $50,000 to go to beauty school. Since then her mom bought a hair salon for her. Been over a year and the salon isn’t making money so I’ve been paying all bills for 2 years. She started paying the health insurance 10 months ago. She hasn’t paid a house bill in 2 years. I love her and know the salon will eventually take off. How do I cope with unemployment and trying to pay everything myself? I feel like this is going to break up our marriage.

    1. Chris, if you believe and think it will break up your marriage, it will. But this is where your wedding vow to love “for better or worse” takes effect. They weren’t supposed to be just romantic words; this is part of the “worse” that you vowed to go through together. What do you do? You grit through it, pray through it, and determine that this will NOT take you down. You talk together as marriage partners, and try to get on the same page as best as you can. When life throws another wrench in the works, you figure it out together again.

      Life is not an ideal ride, as we often forget when we make those wonderful vows. There are ups and downs, mountains and valley’s, droughts and monsoons, difficult and gentle rains. But there are also times of sunshine and moonlight walks to enjoy when we look for it and work for it –sometimes more, sometimes less. I pray for you both that you figure this out, asking God for wisdom and strength, and then joining together to make your marriage work and to love each other through the good and tough times for the rest of your lives.

  23. My husband was fired this week. We cannot survive on my income alone. He signed up to be an uber driver, plans to start that on Monday, and just wants the weekend off and to not think about his job search. But I can’t get it off my mind.

    I mentioned a job opening I saw in his field this morning and he glared at me like I just killed our son. I silenced myself so as not to start a fight but I’m sitting here reeling inside. I’m only trying to help, and he just wants to play video games. If he doesn’t get full time work we’re going to lose everything fast because I have no extra money left. I can’t cash out stock until May, and am not fully vested in my 401k.

    I thought he’d jump right on and apply for this job, but he’s just sitting here next to me playing on his phone. My first thought was how dare he even give me shade when it’s his fault he lost his job? He has an explosive temper. How can I be more supportive without coming off to him like I’m being pushy and setting him off?

  24. I’ve been married 4 years, and together 2 years prior. We got married in our mid 30s which I always thought would be great because you got to develop and became well rounded on your own; set in your career and life, and this would just become doubled. I was very wrong. I relocated for a 6 figure job I loved, as a single woman. I bought my first home, travelled the world, made new friends, and grew my financial nest. The only thing missing and I craved was a family of my own. I met my husband online, and he checked most of my requirements, except 1 or 2. One being he made more than I did and would feel secure if something happened or I wanted to stay home to raise a family- which I did. He made 1/3 of what I made, due to lull in economy. I gave in realizing I made enough.

    He was laid off 4 months prior to engagement, and was unemployed, cashing in his 401K to pay for my ring. I prolonged our wedding planning until he got his next job, 9 months later. A month before wedding, he was laid off again. Meanwhile, I received a very rare opportunity at an executive at a small company. My salary went up a bit and was lured to this job. I accepted the day before my wedding. He found another job- but mine was a different story. I was under a good amount of stress and felt it was not going to work. 1.5 yrs in, I was fired. The horrific part here is that I would not be able to find another job in my field where we lived.

    I then had an opportunity with a former colleague to try something on my own – however, I would be making an entry level salary until we got off ground – needing husband to cover. One year in, he lost job again….and has been unemployed 14 months now. There seems to be no end in site. Nothing panning out. And the hardest part , is we are now 42/41, all of this unemployment turmoil has prevented us from having a family. our parents are financially helping us, I know I am lucky in thid regard. But my husband is not flexible, will not relocate, and I get lucrative opportunities that I can’t take bc he won’t move. I’m happy working on my own gig, but no benefits, and I need his to be main breadwinner for now. How long do I go before I have to throw in towel??

  25. My husband of fifteen years quit his job 3 1/2 yrs. ago. I knew he hated it, but they fired his son that day and he walked out as well. I have heart problems and no longer able to work. I’ve applied for SSI and medicaid, but have been denied repeatedly. So not only am I sick without money or insurance to seek medical care and prescriptions, but we don’t have money to live on. The stress is literally killing me, and our marriage has fallen apart.

    I have no respect for him anymore and feel as though my love for him has died. I have no family or friends that can help and the situation gets worse every day. I have prayed and prayed, but nothing ever changes. I want out of this relationship. I know I need to leave this toxic and stressful environment before it kills me. The really bad thing is… I know how smart and talented he is, and when we married he had a great job with benefits and a future. Now, we’ve lost nearly everything and he doesn’t seem to want any better for us. I honestly don’t know what more to do.

  26. I was really encouraged reading the stories here. I have been married to my husband for almost 5 years, and he has never worked a day in his life. He has a law degree and went on to do a masters degree. He is not flexible to work anywhere other than a law firm or law related. I am a nurse and make decent pay; I work long hours everyday to keep the home floating. I think he has gotten so comfortable in me bringing in the income that he has forgotten what his role as a provider is. I stopped getting angry and began to live more and pray a lot. I feel like God has kept silent on me. My Parents are pushing me to divorce him and don’t talk to him anymore. My Husband loves the Lord. He is constantly praying and fasting, but I don’t think he cares to work. I honestly have stopped praying, because I have not gotten any answers.

    1. That sentence you wrote, about your husband “loving the Lord” hit me like a slap in the face. How can that be true when you are working to the point where you are losing your own faith sister?? The Lord requires certain things from husbands as men and leaders of the household. If he does NOT provide for his family, he has DENIED the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. I used to say the same things you are about my husband before I woke up to the truth crying and praying and I was scrolling through this thread in total desperation. It was like a light came on.

      Prayers go unanswered NOT because God is uncaring of your plight or that He doesn’t love you or your husband but that He doesn’t cater to disobedience. Your husband, my husband, and every other woman’s husband here who WILL NOT (I don’t say CANNOT, I say WILL NOT because for most of these men they are making a very conscious and unbiblical decision to live off of their wives) work is being willfully disobedient to the Lord.

      Seek counsel and a separation. I didn’t say a DIVORCE, I said a separation. Until your husband stops defying the One he claims to “love” so much, you, him and any children you have or may have will be denied your full blessings. Only YOU can decide what you are willing to tolerate from a disobedient husband. I am praying for you and for all my other sisters on this thread to be uplifted and strengthened and for our husbands to either WAKE UP to TRUTH, or live in disobedience alone until they do.

      1. Hi Nicole, What you say here is very true. I recall a situation very similar to that of Yvonne, in which the husband was not working, (but was well able to work) and the wife felt compelled to work for the same reason as described by Yvonne. Finally the wife could not keep up with her job and the housework… she went to (Christian) counselling, and was advised to to tell her husband, “I’ve been wrong here. You, my husband are the provider. I cannot keep going like this. I have to cut down my hours. I’m overtired… etc.” She cut her hours way back. They lived on bread and water for some time until the husband was forced to take on his role in the family… he did find work, and things improved significantly. The wife’s comment afterward, “I was keeping the financial machine afloat, but sinking my marriage in the process.”

        Actually God IS answering all the prayers here. He is doing it though, for the long term benefit of not just the immediate situation in this household, but also for the example this household sets for extended family, friends, aquaintances… even for people who observe them and are seeking for God in their own way.

        For your information, I am an American, married to my Dutch wife for 36 years, now living in the Netherlands. We have 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren. I liked what you said. Blessings to you and yours, WP (Work in Progress)

        1. Thank you very much. I should have said God does not answer prayers the way we’d like. It just really hurts my heart to see so many women suffering so needlessly. This is a huge crisis for many married women around me as well and honestly it makes me so angry. My husband is able bodied, intelligent, AND skilled yet REFUSES to work. When questioned about his job he’d lie and pretend he had one. This has gone on for over two years.

          My husband even quit one job out of spite after we had an argument over a failed pregnancy. I have 2 titanium rods the full length of my spine as well as 8 screws from a car accident he caused irresponsibly falling asleep at the wheel. I was told all the usual platitudes… As a Christian wife you should A B and C. Husbands, please consider things from your wife’s point of view. Would you feel loved if your wife never cooked for you, let your children raise themselves, and allowed everyone to live in filth because they refused to clean up?? Looking after the wellbeing of the home and her children is not an option for Christian women, just as providing is not an OPTION for Christian husbands!

          1. Hi Nicole, I can completely appreciate your frustration and anger here…In such situations, the wife is really “between a rock and a hard place.” I guess it all comes down to your own text: “Only YOU can decide what you are willing to tolerate from a disobedient husband.”

            I am very sorry to hear of your bad car crash…and I find it hard to understand why your husband would quit his job! This sounds WAY wrong to me..!! I grew up in the US where the basic message we knew as children was, “If you don’t get educated and WORK, you can expect to live under a bridge!”

            I can only imagine how frustrated I would feel if my wife would, in your words, “never cook for (me), let (our) children raise themselves, and allowed everyone to live in filth…”

            This reminds me of a situation in which the husband expected the house to be spotless, the 3 toddler-age children to be clean and in a good mood, and the dinner on the table when he got home, and would chastise his wife when things were a little less than perfect when he opened the front door. She finally tried a different approach. Instead of arguing and fighting, she simply stopped doing the housework. (Yes she cared for the children of course) but the rest of the chores she left undone.

            Husband arrived home to complete chaos :) “WHAT happened HERE?” he cried in shock. Her reply, “Well… I’m just doing what you keep saying I’m doing, I’ve been drinking coffee and chatting with my friends all day! The children are fine, no worries!” Things changed pretty fast.

            I hope this helps…. and I hope your accident has not limited your ability to do the things you want to do…Wow…Take care… WP (Work in Progress)

      2. Thanks Nicole for what you said. I’ve been beating myself over the head because I felt I was wrong to give my husband, who claims that ministry is his first wife, an ultimatum: take up your responsibility or no relationship. In response he has relocated to (do ministry) so we are separated for now. I truly am not happy about this because I do love my husband. I have even asked for us to talk and see how we can work things out. No response yet but I do trust that the Lord will help me do what is right. I had enabled him for virtually all the years of our marriage and I reached breaking point. I am still praying for him.

        I noticed that things were actually getting better when he left. I pray that God will help him to see where he’s missed it.

        1. Hi Elizabeth. Maybe an ultimatum was still the best option? Ministry should not be his “first wife,” but rather Christ Himself should be his first love… then you… and only then his work.

          I know we men can be difficult to live with… I admit it! We don’t perceive things very well… it’s not for nothing that God said, “It is NOT good for the man to be alone.” Very difficult… I can imagine. You’re doing the best you can do right now. You continue to pray for him and you are allowing God to work. Your husband is a fortunate man with you. He will see that soon enough I trust. WP (Work in Progress)

  27. My husband has not had steady work in 8 years. During this time, I’ve seen him struggle with his identity, faith, low self esteem, depression, hopelessness, helplessness and anger. I’ve tried so hard not to nag. The first few years I admit that I was awful and not helpful to him. It was around year 3 or 4 when I realized that I simply had to encourage him in any and every way that I could. I’ve swallowed so many comments and held back on voicing my true feelings for fear that what I say will not help him. In the end, all I want to do is be whatever he needs so that he can become what he is called to become. In the midst of this, I feel like I’ve lost myself.

    The financial burden has been solely on me this entire time. My family resents him for “putting me through this” so they’re no help to me or him. We have a son that needs surgery that we can’t afford and my family’s idea of help is “this is all his fault because he isn’t working” and “we can’t loan you the money because your husband doesn’t work and times are tough for you so we know you wouldn’t be able to pay us back.” I feel like I have nobody to talk to because all I am met with is “this is all his fault” and “you know you can get divorced, right.” The emotional and mental roller coaster of unemployment (he’s had temporary jobs, but nothing long term) has changed me although I tried so hard not to let it. The stress of having a car reposessed, lights shut off, cable shut off, hunger and not qualifying to get food from a food bank because I “make too much”, getting evicted because we can’t afford the rent, losing all of our belongings in a flood and no insurance money to replace it, our pastor telling him to lower his standards and apply to work at McDonalds (little did he know that he applied, interviewed and was told he was “overqualified” to work there)…all of this changed him and it changed me.

    I know this is a Christ-centered website so I hope that what I say next doesn’t offend anyone, but we are married so I think it’s ok…it has basically ruined our sex lives. I hate to admit this, but I don’t see him the same anymore. I don’t view him as my provider and my rock. There are many days when he’s viewed as simply another source of stress. I hate that I feel like this. I hate that when my husband wants to be intimate, I can’t bring myself to not think about bills and the financial burdens that are shoved in my face daily. I hate that I’ve let myself go because I can’t afford new clothes for myself. I can’t get a manicure. I can’t do anything for myself because the money goes to bills and our children. I don’t feel attractive in any way. I don’t feel appreciated in any way. I work full time, then come home to have to cook and clean and tend to the children. I’m tired. I have no energy. He gets mad sometimes when I’m tired. I’m physically, mentally and emotionally tired. I’m writing this during a break at work and I’m crying. I’m breaking and I don’t know what to do. Please HELP!!!

    1. Hi K, Yes this is a Christ centered site, and no, I for one am not offended at all. This is a very honest and heartfelt please for help! It’s not hard at all to appreciate that these circumstances have ruined your sex life… very understandable.. but also rather dangerous and certainly not OK for you both.

      I am a husband married 36 years with 2 adult children. We were in financial straits a number of years ago when we first married; we really struggled. During that time my wife was making the money… I found a job with McDonalds, so your description brings up old memories. Hot, sweaty work, but it helped pay the bills. Later I lost my job just after crashing our car… we had no $ for anything really, so we pulled together as a team and did come out of that stressful time. I grew up in the US but now live in the Netherlands. (My wife is Dutch.)

      For a man, being unable to provide for the family is a humiliating and crushing load to bear, believe me. Your husband needs you now more than he ever has before. This is a time which you can use to make your marriage impervious to virtually anything. Yes you are carrying the financial load, and no, this is certainly not easy. Your husband WANTS to be your provider and he WANTS to be your rock. He needs to feel that you are on his team no matter what your family or your friends say. At this point, any people who are not supportive and affirming for your husband are better off being avoided. You cannot and should not have to deal with this added unecessary stress.

      Your first paragraph describes exactly what you as a wife can do to help your husband. But you have lost yourself. This sounds like my experience when we moved to Europe to live… I lost sight of “who I am” for about 10 years. Not nice… I get that.

      I would also add that of course your husband needs to be carrying his end of the load, in the sense of helping you with the household chores and the children. His unemployment does not give him license to be lazy at home. Your love and encouragement are essential at this time… not easy… I know… but very necessary.

      When your husband wants to be intimate, please… please… give yourself to him at this critical juncture. As a man, I know that this would do wonders for his self esteem. A man needs sex to “connect with” and “be one with” his wife. Of course, the emotional side is there too, very definitely. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is that a woman needs conversation and communication more than sex itself to “connect with” and “be one with” her husband. So, for the man, sex with the wife gives him peace, security, release… and opens his heart to talk and communicate, because he feels safe and wanted. I believe that for the woman, it’s the other way around, she needs the emotional and cuddly non-sexual touching and “sweet nothings,” to help her feel safe and wanted, and therefore open her heart to sex. It’s a circle really; One of you needs to set the thing in motion. Once that motion is started and maintained, then you feed each other, and build each other’s self esteem, team spirit, sense of wellbeing, in spite of very difficult circumstances.

      In the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, there is a description of the creation. After each step, we read, “and God saw that it was good.” The first time we read that something was NOT good us in Genesis 2:18. It was NOT good that the man was alone… You probably know the rest of the story. A woman can make or break a man. When your man feels wanted, desired and loved by you he can conquor the world. :) Behind every great man is a great woman.

      Your text really struck a chord with me. I guess you can perceive that.. :) I hope to hear from you… and I have great respect for you. WP (Work in Progress)