Some of my readers are experiencing job loss. Most are women whose husbands have been laid off. Some families have been lucky to get severance packages, but the money doesn't stretch nearly as far as they need it to. Some women are facing having either to return to work after years of being home or taking on a second job to compensate for the loss of income. Emotions are running high.

Meanwhile, their husbands are searching for jobs, and some are considering returning to school. For some families, this works out well, but for others, it means a lot of new pressure on wives to pick up the slack. One reader, H. Meade, said: "My husband is all excited about returning to school. I'm standing there with my jaw hanging! He says he'll get a part-time job, but he hasn't been able to find any job, so I don't see how that is happening. I'm torn between thinking this is a good thing, as he will get the education he needs, and being annoyed because everything is getting dropped on my shoulders, and I'm not sure I can handle it. I don't even know if I want to!"

I hope people can come to a point at which they're willing to do what it takes to improve their financial situations. If it means "doing it alone" job-wise, so be it. Don't let fear or resentment overwhelm you. Look at the problem, and know you will get through this.

Even in the 21st century, many people carry the mindset that the husband is the provider. I look at marriage as a partnership and believe that both parties should do almost anything to improve a bad situation. If it means furthering his education, then you can do more to help both of you in the long term. It's not a you-versus-him situation. You're in this together.

Having your husband work two lower-paying jobs might be easier on you, but it doesn't do much to improve the future. Not that it's beneath him, or that it's not a viable option in some situations, but I'd look at helping to secure the situation and then improve on it. You can help secure it by getting a job or taking on another one, and he can simultaneously improve on it by going to school and working. Or vice versa.

Consider all sides of the situation. No one asked for this to happen, and both of you have the best of intentions for your family, right? You can't simply sit back. You're fully capable. Is it how you thought things would be? Absolutely not. But it is what it is, and you're there in good times and bad. In the same way that you don't want to feel as if you're taking on everything, should your husband feel he's got the burden of the world on his shoulders?

Some of you fear that you'll have to work harder and feel stuck being the person doing it all. But this is your husband. Now is a good time to trust and believe in him. You have to think outside of yourself and be willing to step up. If you don't, there's no one else to blame for the consequences. Solutions don't simply fall into your lap. Countless women have done this alone. It will be OK, really. Face the problem. Go out there and make your life better. Don't do it with resentment. Do it because you're a team. Do it for yourself. Think about the long term.


photo by Garrett Albright