How to Support Your Spouse in a Financial Crisis
A financial crisis can certainly add a level of stress to your marriage. You may not have an emergency fund to fall back on, or the crisis may exceed your savings. The crisis may be the result of a job loss, a medical emergency, or other unforeseen event, like our current pandemic.
Here are some steps you can take to support your spouse in uncertain times.
As the leader in your home, your confidence may be rattled in a financial crisis. Whatever happened to put you in this position does not take away from your value or role in your family. Your wife may feel anxious or fearful about the situation, but she is still looking to you to lead the charge. It is helpful for her to see you being proactive about restoring balance to your finances by working with her on a budget, and asking for help when you need it, especially for areas you are unfamiliar with. By working through the budget you can show her that the four walls are provided for (shelter, utilities, food, transportation). If you cannot achieve these four walls, find a way to ensure them for your wife and children as your top priority, even if it means a level of humility you are uncomfortable with, such as asking for help from family, friends, or government assistance. When your wife feels secure, she is your greatest asset in overcoming this crisis. She can help you think of solutions, support your endeavors, and keep things running as smoothly as possible in your family.
Whether or not your husband is the main breadwinner in your family, he likely will feel the responsibility of providing for the family, and may feel inadequate in light of your financial crisis. As his wife, you have a unique position to encourage him. Tell him you are proud of him and you appreciate his willingness to provide for you. Ask how you can help him, both practically and emotionally. He may be looking for a new job, figuring out filing for unemployment or disability assistance, communicating with insurance companies or lawyers, or any number of things he may not have experience with up to this point. Ask if he would like for you to help him get organized, or create a quiet space in your home where he can focus on these things and make phone calls. If you are the primary source of income, he might be anxious about you finding another job, which may manifest in seeming pushy. Be clear about your needs, both practical and emotional so he knows how to help.
Communicate with each other about the situation, draft a new budget in light of the crisis, and brainstorm ideas to reduce spending or supplement your income. Commit to each other as partners in this crisis, lean on each other’s strengths, pray for and with each other, and extend grace. This financial crisis can be a defining moment in your marriage, and you can come out stronger on the other side if you work together to overcome it.