Dear Lucy: How do I chip in without offending my jobless struggling husband?
Posted Saturday, February 16 2013 at 00:00
My husband recently lost his job. He has been the breadwinner for the family since we got married eight years ago. I have been working at good positions through our marriage but he doesn’t want to have my money used for the family. Right now, I see that he is straining to keep things together but I don’t know how to help him without making it seem like he is not doing his job as a the family’s provider.
Probably your husband’s security lies in having a job and being able to provide for his family’s needs. Once those two things are taken away from him, he feels less of a man. When I read your submission, I get concerned about your husband who has his roles and responsibilities mixed up. Probably during his upbringing, he was made to understand that a man’s value has to be measured by being able to provide all the needs of his family, without his wife’s help.
Without sounding too speculative, this is a trait that he probably experienced firsthand, hence the need to strictly adhere to that code of conduct. You will agree with me that times have changed.
The other possibility is that your husband may have the notion that his authority will be compromised when you financially provide for the family. That said, your husband’s mindset needs to be changed to suit the current circumstance. There is an element of low self esteem here, which needs to be boosted by the wife, using affirming language. It is your cardinal responsibility to affirm him and to help him be secure. This can best be achieved as you practice submission and respect.
By denying you the opportunity to contribute he is burying his head in the sand. Suppose the situation does not get better in the near future? What happens? The strain is likely to propel into stress and other health related problems. Allow me to turn to you now.
For eight years, you have agreed to play on with your husband’s wishes. This means that you defied the commitment you made to each other with your marriage vows, of surrendering whatever you have to become his, and vice versa. Allow me to pause a question: how have you been investing your earnings? Is there any business venture to show for the financial liberty you have been enjoying? If so, then this should be the source of income in this crucial time of need.
Express concern to him about your desire to partner with him. Assure him of your total submission and openness to his ideas.