My husband lost his job.
That’s a tough spot for a man.
Especially a man who feels like he should be the breadwinner of the family. The provider.
Yet, through circumstances beyond his control he can’t provide.
Maybe you’ve been there with your husband. Maybe you are there. And even if you’re not, every husband will feel out of sorts from time to time.
So what is a wife to do?
It can be tempting to allow your husband’s attitude to bring yours down as well. But wives, when our husbands are hurting, it’s time to step up and encourage our husbands.
No, we are not responsible for our husband’s attitudes, but how we handle their pain can have a large effect on how they respond to that pain.
How can we handle our husband’s pain well?
Pray for Him
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
The single most important thing we can do for our husbands is to pray for them. Ask God for wisdom in how to encourage your husband. Pray that he would use this time to draw closer to God.
Not sure how to pray? I highly recommend A Wife’s 40 Day Fasting and Prayer Journal by Kaylene Yoder. And don’t be scared by the word “fasting.” This book provides plenty of options for those (like me) who medically can’t do a traditional fast from food.
Prayer topics include his spiritual walk, his emotions, and gaining wisdom…all things your husband really needs at this time.
Likewise, wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 1 Peter 3:1-2
Respect is important to men.
Let me repeat that. Respect is important to men. On her blog, Shaunti Feldhaun provides some insight into the subject of men and respect.
In my survey of men for my book, For Women Only three out of four men indicated that if they had to choose between feeling inadequate and disrespected by everyone, or alone and unloved, they would choose feeling alone and unloved. The reality is that if a man feels disrespected, he is going to feel unloved. Translation? If you want to love your man the way he can feel loved, your top priority is to ensure that he feels your respect.
Did you catch that? Showing your husband respect is showing him love in a way that he feels love.
My husband seconded that opinion, and he clarified how he feels respected now that he’s out of a job.
I want you to be informed in the job search process, but I don’t want to feel like you’re micromanaging my decisions. I need to feel like you trust me.
When your husband is feeling down and out, he probably feels pretty poorly about himself. Showing that you respect him by trusting his decision making can go a long way into building his confidence back.
Make Love to Him
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:5
Sex is important to men. Very important.
Paul Coughlin, in his book Married But Not Engaged, says,
Sexual intimacy freely given somehow stabilizes our universe. It’s our action to your words, our shelter from the storms of life; you are the safest harbor in which we’ll ever make port. Sex is also the sharpest, most jagged knife in our back when it’s not given or, worse, given without passion, focus, and interest. We can tell. Our pain is far more nuanced than you realize.
So, if your husband is having a bad day, try turning up the romance a notch or two. Send the kids to grandma’s house. Schedule some private time alone. And show your husband that he means the world to you, even when he is struggling.
Have Fun with Him
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
When I’m having a bad day, I like to escape into a good novel. My husband isn’t much of a reader, but escapism works well for him when he’s having a bad day, too.
I’m not saying that running away from life’s problems is a good thing. It’s not. But taking a much needed break from time to time can help our husbands a lot when they are down and out.
If your husband has been struggling for a while and just needs a break, take him to the movies. Go out for ice cream. Take a walk in the park or a hike in the mountains.
Don’t talk about his problems. Just have fun. Enjoy each other. Laugh.
Encourage Him to Seek Help
For by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Though we wives can make a huge difference by setting a supportive tone in our homes, we are not God, and we can’t solve our husband’s problems.
If your husband is sinking deeper and deeper, encourage him to seek outside help from a pastor or counselor. If he refuses, go back to tip number one and pray that he might see the wisdom in seeking help.
I’ve found that when I have been showing my husband that I love and respect him consistently, he is usually willing to listen when I express my concern for him and suggest he talk to someone about his issues.
Helping our husbands through difficult times can be tricky.
When your husband is feeling down and out, it’s time to be patient, show extra love and respect, make time for a little extra fun, and most of all pray.
You may not be able to solve your husband’s problems, but by showing him that you support him, even when he questions himself, you can increase his confidence, point him to Jesus (who can solve his problems), and strengthen your marriage.
How will you support your husband today? Go ahead. Take the first step!
*Note: If your husband is dealing with serious issues like suicidal thoughts or abuse, please stop reading and get outside help right away.
This post is included in the following linkups: #livefreeThursday.