While being a newlywed can be joyful, it’s usually stressful as well. You’re adjusting to your new life, and some growing pains are typically part of that equation. Then, if you add sudden unemployment into the mix, the situation can be far more challenging. Luckily, there are things you can do to navigate any difficulties, ensuring your relationship stays strong and your financial house remains in order. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are five tips for the unemployed and newly married that you can use today.
1. Have Open, Honest Conversations
One of the most important things to do during difficult times is to keep the lines of communication open. When one spouse is unemployed, both partners usually experience a range of emotions. Open and honest conversations about those feelings is important. It gives both spouses a chance to alleviate some of the burden and also support one another.
Additionally, it’s crucial to have frank discussions about other aspects of your lives. For example, you’ll need to talk about your finances, as well as various changes caused by the job loss, such as losing health insurance coverage or needing to roll over a retirement plan.
Make open, honest conversations a regular occurrence during the period of unemployment. That way, both spouses can work together to keep things on target and give each other someone to lean on during this challenging time.
2. Revamp Your Budget
As soon as you learn about the job loss, it’s smart to revamp your budget. Your income level has changed, and some of your expenses may shift, too. For example, you may be able to spend less on fuel because that spouse isn’t commuting, but you could have to put more money into groceries since they’ll be eating all of their meals at home.
Consider how the job loss changes your financial picture. Then, rework your budget to account for those shifts to the best of your ability.
In some cases, you may have to cut back on costs that aren’t genuine necessities. You may need to cut cable or scale back on streaming services. Grocery shopping based on sales and coupons – instead of just buying what you like – might become a necessity.
While cutting back can be difficult, it may only be temporary. Once the income is recovered, you can adjust your budget again, potentially allowing you to reintroduce expenses that you cut during the period of unemployment.
3. Tap Both of Your Networks
If both spouses have professional contacts, now could be the time to reach out and tap that collective expertise. Often, if you have strong connections with the members of your network, they’ll be happy to provide the inside scoop on job opportunities or to give the unemployed spouse a referral.
However, the key part of the equation is the strength of the connection. If you haven’t nurtured these relationships, they may be reluctant to get involved. If you aren’t sure that the connection is strong enough to handle a request for help, make improving the quality of the relationship your first priority. That way, you can build it up to where it needs to be, giving you both a place to turn to later if the unemployed spouse is still seeking new opportunities.
4. Combine Diligence with Patience
While diligence is certainly a must, it’s also crucial to be patient. There are aspects of the situation that aren’t in your or your partner’s control, and keeping that in mind is a good idea.
If you’re the unemployed spouse, be patient with the job search process. In most cases, it takes weeks to land a new position, if not several months. There are a lot of steps between receiving resumes and making a hiring decision, and not all companies are as efficient at handling those tasks as others.
Additionally, both spouses need to be patient with their partners and themselves. Stress lives are going to be higher for everyone, and that can make a person reach a point of frustration with greater ease. Remind each other that this situation won’t last forever, and work to support each other as the job search moves forward. That way, you can be shining lights for one another, making tough times seem more manageable.
5. Have Affordable Fun While Unemployed and Newly Married
While finding a new job usually takes quite a bit of time, that doesn’t mean you and your spouse shouldn’t make time for fun. Seizing opportunities to rest, relax, and laugh is a good idea. It will help everyone manage their stress and get a bit of a reprieve.
Just make sure you focus on affordable activities. Play board games, watch a movie you already own, take a walk around the neighborhood and chat, and use similar options that won’t bust your budget. That way, you can get a break without putting yourself in a tougher financial situation.
Do you have any other tips that can help people who are unemployed and newly married? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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