This week’s blog post, written by my wife, Deb, gives the perspective of a spouse of someone who is unemployed. Spouses feel the impact of unemployment too and have their own unique challenge on the journey. Enjoy! – Dale
Do you know this guy, the “Unemployed Guy?” I do, and I love him.
I’m his wife and gave Dale this nickname when he was writing the book, How Long O Lord, How Long: Devotions for the Unemployed and Those that Love Them. This came about when we began to realize that the book was going to be a reality. It was a curve in the path that only God knew we were taking in our unemployment journey.
Dale was an author but still unemployed. We were thinking of marketing ideas, and what could be a good tag line. That’s when I came up with “The Unemployed Guy.” I envisioned being at a gathering and someone asking me who the author of this amazing book is, and I would respond, “He’s the Unemployed Guy over there.”
Our adult sons chimed in and said we could get shirts that read, “The Unemployed Guy’s Sons!”
I still like to call him the “Unemployed Guy,” but the reality is that it is hard to give that answer. Bad news doesn’t seem to travel as fast as good news, so you never know who knows and who doesn’t know that you or your spouse are unemployed.
As his spouse, when I’m talking with someone, the first questions I’m asked are about me, where I live, and where I work. Soon, however, they’ll ask, “What does your spouse do?” or “Where your spouse work?” Saying your spouse is unemployed is a tough thing. It is even tougher if your spouse is standing next to you.
In those instances, you may feel like you need to reassure the person that your situation is no big deal. You tell them you’re doing fine, seeing how uncomfortable the conversation is making them feel. I believe that many people think subconsciously, “Your spouse must have done something wrong.” Or, “I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me!”
“Unemployment” is one of life’s best kept secrets. No one wants it to happen to them, so people imagine it won’t happen if they don’t talk about it.
Once in a while you’re lucky, and the person you’re talking with can relate. Either they have been through it or they know someone going through it too. The world is a fallen place, and unemployment happens to good people.
However, I have relied on Romans 8: 28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Unemployment will work for good. We just may not see it right away.
When it comes to employment (or lack thereof), remember our identity is not in how we look, who we work for, or what we do for a living. Our identity is based in who we are in Christ.
You are a Chosen person in God’s eye—God’s Son or Daughter: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
God bless you,
We’d love to hear your perspective. Have you ever been married to someone who went through a period of unemployment? What advice would you give to other spouses in that same situation?