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Ask Arlene: Encouraging an Unemployed Husband



Hi Arlene!

My husband is unemployed and it’s driving us both crazy. What can I do to encourage him without being critical?


Dear Amy,

Being unemployed or underemployed is generally more difficult for men to cope with than women. So before you open your mouth to say, “Honey, have your tried this?” or “I just wish you would get out of the house,” put yourself in your husband’s shoes. Listen to what one husband named John said in my book, 31 Days to a Happy Husband:

When my job was taken away, it really stripped away my identity. It’s certainly my responsibility to try to manage that emotion, but sometimes it gets the best of you. It’s helpful when wives have good awareness of what’s going on and keep in mind that it’s temporary. Don’t question him, give him the third degree, or try to fix him.”

Even though your husband may look like he’s doing fine — or maybe just the opposite, he’s crabby and irritable — remember that unemployment takes its toll on the confidence of your man. Pray with and for your husband to find employment. Cling together to the words of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Come against the problem of unemployment together instead of allowing your circumstances to drive a wedge between you.

Keep upbeat and positive. Encourage your husband to listen to solid Bible teaching while he has extra time on his hands. Books by great motivators such as Zig Ziglar or Jim Rohn can also be a life saver.

Lastly, don’t forget to make time for intimacy with one another. When a man feels like he is losing in the workplace, it’s so important for him to feel loved and supported at home.

In 31 Days to a Happy Husband, you’ll read about a man who lost his job eleven times in twelve months — and how that actually brought him and his wife closer. Anything is possible with God!


In her monthly column, “Ask Arlene,” author and speaker Arlene Pellicane answers readers’ questions. If you have a question you’d like her to consider for this column, submit a question here.

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We have one copy of Arlene’s book, 31 Days to a Happy Husband: What a Man Needs Most from His Wife to give away. For a chance to win it, leave a comment with a question for Arlene. The question Arlene chooses to answer first will win the book.

This contest closes on Friday, July 20th, 2012, at 12 a.m. Our apologies to our international readers, but it’s only open to those residing in the United States.

This contest is now closed. Congratulations for our winner, Shanda!

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Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children. To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit

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Ask Arlene: Encouraging an Unemployed Husband

by Arlene Pellicane time to read: 2 min