Husband Unemployed, Marriage Suffering

Chuck Snyder
My husband is usually really sweet and attentive, but he has to be in control. Our lives were filled with romance and unity until he recently became unemployed. Since then his self-esteem -- along with our marriage -- has eroded. All of the strong attributes he used to love in me, he now views as direct contradictions to his current condition. I've tried to be very patient and sensitive, but from my perspective, it appears as though he should have more faith. What's worse is that he's become very possessive and insecure. He's not physically violent, but he can be withdrawn. Most of the time I don't realize I've upset him. He also seems to be confused and detached a great deal of the time. Most of the negative behavior I see is not new, I've seen it before, but I thought he'd grown.

Chuck's response:

Thanks for the note about your husband and his troubles. I would say that at least 95 percent of a man's self esteem comes from what he does and accomplishes at his work. People are quick to say that we should get our self-esteem from Christ, but it is not the same thing. Our greatest fear is failure, and when we fail at work, our whole world has collapsed. Is he making any attempt to find another job? He needs to be spending his time looking for full-time work, but probably won't accept this advice from you. If you think he would be open to talking to me about it, be sure and give him my e-mail. Finding work is what is going to get him back on the track.

If I were you I would give God some time to work in his life and continue to be there for him right now, even though it means your needs will probably not be met. I recognize that such advice is easy for me to say, but he is going through a very threatening time ... and needs every bit of support you can give him.

If it gets too bad, buy the book called Foolproofing Your Life by Jan Silvious. It's about setting boundaries and living with a controller. Hopefully it will be a relatively short time, but if it drags out, be sure to let me know and we can talk further.

With God's Love,
Chuck Snyder

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