Answer the following questions with "true" or "false":
1. You keep rehashing the events leading up to his layoff
2. You ask, "When are you going to find another job?" repeatedly.
3. You say, "That'll take years!" when he talks about changing careers.
4. You say, "If you hadn't ______ (fill in the blank), you'd still have a job."
|The danger to your marriage is when you forget that you and your spouse are a team. Partners.|
If you answered "true" to two or more of the above, your marriage may not survive his layoff! And what a shame it would be to lose your marriage permanently to a temporary situation, because that is what being laid off -- or downsized, terminated or even just made to take a salary cut -- is: a temporary situation. A blip on the radar screen of our lives. Painful, to be sure. Nasty to experience, indeed. But something from which you can recuperate.
The danger to your marriage is when you forget that you and your spouse are a team -- partners. In TV cop show parlance, it's "the one who has my back." Good partners don't berate partners. Partners who intend to be together (happily) for life don't indulge in finger-pointing and criticism.
Rehashing events only serves to deepen that painful memory groove. "Is there anything that could have been done to prevent this?" asked once, is answered either by an honest "Yes, I could have been more prompt" or "No, not that I know of." Then it's time to move on.
"When are you going to find another job" and "If you hadn't…" only serves to separate the marital team. If it's his problem, it's your problem. "How can I help?" unites you. Brainstorming together on various possibilities brings you closer together. Dumping on him distances you.
"That'll take years!" dampens his enthusiasm and creativity. Encouraging his every effort supports him in his job hunt and your togetherness. Respecting his consideration of a career change validates him. You don't have to agree with it -- but if you respect it, you can discuss it as a partner would, not as a condemning, judgmental person.
Armed with this knowledge, your marriage has a chance -- not only of surviving his layoff, but also of being stronger for coming through the hard times together.
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