Ask Wendy

How Do I Support My Husband with His Work?

Friday, July 17, 2020
Hey Wendy,

How would I best support my husband through a tough time at work? We’ve been married for five years and have a great relationship. He landed a “dream job” in his field, and now two years in, his direct manager has become unbearable. My husband’s not happy, has trouble sleeping, and has started applying for other jobs. But due to COVID, things are slow and he’s so discouraged.

Do you have any specific advice on how I can help? I struggle between hoping he can hold out for something better and telling him to quit now. I work full-time so we could make it for a while on one salary, but I don’t know the impact quitting could have on his career long-term.

Thanks, Wendy!

Shannon C.

Hey Shannon,

I’ve been there, and it’s rough. It’s a good thing he has you! Your thoughtfulness and desire to be a supportive partner will go a long way in helping him figure out his next move.

It sounds like he knows what he’s doing if he’s scored his dream job, crappy manager aside. So, I’d suggest supporting him primarily by listening. Let him know you’re there and available for him to talk about it, that you’re willing to listen until he’s talked it all the way through. He can use you as a sounding board as he sorts his way through this. You’ll likely hear the same story, um…let’s just say more than once. But it may mean something new for him every time.

Depending on his style of communicating, you might need to set some light parameters around these discussions. Maybe he can ask, “Is now a good time to talk about my work?” so you’re not constantly bombarded or too distracted from your own work to listen to him. But if he’s respectful of your time and your work, just be there for him when you’re able to.

Beyond listening, you can focus on making your home life as fun and carefree as possible, and you can distract him from thinking about work when he doesn’t want to talk about it or deal with it.

And, when the opportunities arise, you can let him know when and how he’s scoring wins with you. He doesn’t feel like he’s winning at work, and we all need to feel like we’re appreciated somewhere.

If this is true for you, let him know you trust him to make the right decision. Ultimately, this is his problem to solve, and you have faith that he’ll solve it.

Telling him to quit or stay isn’t helpful. And listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give our loved ones. Listen. Appreciate and love him up. And let him know you have his back. You’re here for him. Then let him solve it himself.

Good luck!

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