Marriage and the Unemployed Spouse

Unravel Marriages Can Bond During Unemployment

When one job-seeking unemployed spouse is out of work, it affects everyone in the family. Enough studies substantiate that affected married people feel loads of stress, and sometimes, the solutions are not easy.

I came across this study recently that connected distress and marriages with at least one unemployed spouse. This study was good for me to read, having experienced all of these hypothesizes, and found solutions that worked.

The study: Song Z, Foo M, Uy M, Sun S. “Unraveling the daily stress crossover between unemployed individuals and their employed spouses.” Journal of Applied Psychology. January 2011;96(1):151-168.

  1. End-of-day distress of the employed spouse will relate positively to end-of-day distress of the unemployed spouse.
  2. Perceived daily marital support will mediate the relationship between end-of-day distress of the employed spouse and end-of-day distress of the unemployed spouse.
  3. Daily family hassles shared by spouses will be related to end-of-day distress of both spouses.
  4. (a) Daily financial strain, (b) daily deprivation of time structure, and (c) daily negative search experience will be positively related to distress experienced by the unemployed spouse.5. (a) Daily work stress, (b) daily work–family conflict, and (c) daily family–work conflict will be positively related to end-of-day distress of the employed spouse.6. Marital satisfaction will moderate the stress crossover between spouses. Specifically, distress crossover between spouses will be stronger in unsatisfied than in satisfied marriages.

As I know that studies can be boring and direction-less, these are my suggestions to help diminish these particular distresses in a marriage.

    • Couples should learn to be affectionate early in the marriage, and be accepting of each others’ “crosses to bear” early in marriage. Complaining alone does not add up to openness. Openness alone will not result in resolution. Combination of either does not get you hired, but affection offers a world where two people can meet in the middle.
    • Support in a marriage includes being truthful when it hurts. Yes, it is painful at the time, but it is the beginning of healing. It could also include one spouse saying, “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, keep trying.”
    • Young children should be a part of that refuge. During my unemployment grind eight years, playing with my little boys eased much of the pain. As everyone knows, children are not the place to unload nor an emotional dumping ground.
    • Unemployment can be a root of many problems: Lack of money, time management, and self-control. During stressful episodes, my wife and I learned to co-exist in areas of agreement, and was diligent about creating more opportunities to encourage each other. Agreeing takes more energy than to disagree, and it is more challenging sustain.
    • Frequent sharing of job hunting victories will show transparency, build trust, and release stress. It is another place of refuge in your during distressful times, especially for the spouse out of work.

Are you married and unemployed? Is your spouse unemployed, and you are the one carrying the financial load? Can you relate to any of these points?

    Please share in the comments below.

About Mark Anthony Dyson

I am the "The Voice of Job Seekers," career consultant, job seeker advocate, career writer, and founder of this award-winning blog. I help the employed, unemployed, underemployed, and under-appreciated find jobs using job search strategies to navigate the new job market. I aim to give a safe place online to those with different needs, cultures, and ethnicities to find their voice in the job market. Thousands have read my career advice throughout the web as I write about everything from job search strategies to the mobile job search. I have published more than 400 articles on this blog and some of the largest career sites such as, YouTern, and Come Recommended. I've been quoted in major publications such as on Monster, AOL Jobs, Fortune, Business Insider and Levo League. Both FlexJobs and JobMonkey listed my podcast as one of the top eight podcasts to help your job search. Love for you to sign up for the weekly newsletter. I share the latest articles I've written, new podcast episodes, and answer any questions you may have. The new job search is scary and if you need help, I am here for it!

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