the bright side of the economy

Lately, my posts have been mostly based on things I like, places I’ve gone and shows I watch, and notsomuch based on nesting, cooking, and decorating. The reason for this is simple: my husband is still a victim of the economy — ie., unemployed — and, for the most part, he’s been the one taking care of our apartment and doing the cooking while I have been working and picking up some extra projects to make a little extra moola.

While our situation is certainly not ideal, and we’re both frustrated at times after 7+ months of fruitless job searching and networking, it also has its benefits. When Nick was at his last job, he’d leave for work before I even woke up. Pretty much the only conversation we’d have in the morning would be him saying “I love you,” giving me a kiss on the forehead, and me mumbling something that might have sounded like “I love you, too” in my slumbery state. We’d chat a few times a day over email, but mostly both be engrossed in our work all day. On a good day, we’d both be home by 6:00. On a more typical day, we’d be at work late or at the gym, getting home between 7:30 and 8:00, leaving very little time to spend together before Nick would ultimately head to bed (being that he would awake so early the following day).

Now, we wake up around the same time and go for a run together (I use the term “run” loosely as I am NOT a runner… we do a walk/run sequence dictated by the Trainer Lite app on our iPhones). We chitchat during our run, and then while I’m getting ready for work he does the dishes from the day before. We kiss goodbye as I head out to work and he gets started looking for jobs. After there are no more jobs to apply for, he goes fishing, maybe goes food shopping, does some cleaning or laundry, or runs miscellaneous errands that need to be taken care of. Sometimes, he’ll come to my office to have lunch with me.

When I get home from work, dinner is usually on the table or almost ready; we eat together and talk about our days, and then pretty much spend the rest of the night together until it’s time to go to bed. I’m often working on freelance work or blogging but we still spend that time mostly together.

I have to say — although Nick’s unemployment has not been a walk in the park, it has allowed us to spend a lot more time together in this first year of our marriage. While I sometimes feel far removed from the nesting that some newlywed wives thrive on, I’m also grateful that Nick doesn’t mind handling more responsibilities around our apartment while I focus on my job. I have a lot less to worry about, knowing that he’s handling things at home.

We are both still hoping that a great job comes along for him very soon, but part of me will miss how much time we’ve been able to spend together when he goes back to work. Regardless, we’ll certainly have come away from the experience stronger and smarter than before. The lessons we’ve learned in how to manage our money have been invaluable; the fact that any home-buying was put on hold was probably a blessing in disguise, as that may have been a stressful situation that we didn’t need as newlyweds. Our relationship has been tested during this difficult time and we’re pretty sure that we’ve passed with flying colors.

Eventually, when the day comes for Nick to go back to work, I’ll be posting more about cooking and baking projects and decorating our home, but until then, you’ll have to tolerate my other random ramblings!

Have you dealt with unemployment in your family or marriage? Do you feel that the lessons learned through the experience have resulted in a lot of positives, despite the negatives?

PS – anyone in the home construction industry (or any industry, really) need a smart, talented, hard-working (and good-looking!) project manager? ;-)

comments

  1. Sorry about the continued employment struggles — wish I did just happen to have a job that fit the bill!

    But I know what you mean about time apart at work versus time at home. We made some choices that value time and leisure over higher salaries, and as much as I sometimes miss the many things we could buy, in the long run I'm really happy we chose time over money.

  2. I am in a very similar situation – I am about to be married next weekend and husband-to-be has been unemployed since April. And in the home construction industry too! The job search has been hectic and disappointing, but it has allowed us to spend a ton of time together, especially since I am a teacher and have the summers off. Looking back, I would say that this unemployment has brought us closer together and we've been able to plan a wedding and find a place as a team.

    I wish you and your husband the best of luck – I think your positive outlook is truly inspiring!

  3. Your positive outlook is addictive! Proves again that there are always upsides to a not-so-great situation. You've both already set yourself up for good karma to come your way. It can only get better from here, right?

  4. I was unemployed for the first six months of our marriage, as I was axed three weeks prior to the wedding, and while it was not easy, it did allow us to spend more time together than we normally do, especially in the kitchen. Cooking can be so therapeutic during difficult times like these, since it's a useful skill to have, yet allows for creativity both in stretching a budget as well as having a wide variety of dishes to enjoy.

    On a deeper level, the experience taught us that we had to be open with each other on whatever is bothering us at any particular time, because festering really doesn't help any situation.

    I wish your husband the best of luck in his search–in the meantime, I'd love to see some of the dishes he's been making for you, especially if he's catching fish!

    Keep smiling–things always have a way of getting better.

  5. I'm in a similar situation as you guys except that I'm the one that is unemployed (graphic designer) and has been for the last 2.5 months. We celebrate our first wedding anniversary on Sunday and for all but 4 months of our marriage one of us has been unemployed. I really love how you are able to find the silver lining in the situation it's something I have been trying to do myself and I've found that being domestic is something that I enjoy more then I ever thought I would. Thanks for this post and best wishes to you guys!

  6. Really great post Brooke. It's fascinating to read about how couples are dealing with rough times. You are an inspiring couple.

  7. Thanks for the kind words and support! Here's hoping that positive changes are ahead for all of us dealing with unemployment…

    Elizabeth, I'll have to see if Nick would want to do some posts on the dinners he makes! That would be fun. Unfortunately, though, I don't get to eat any of the fish he catches — he does it just for fun and throws them all back!

  8. Tell Nick that when I moved to Savannah, I did not work for close to a YEAR! There are NO jobs here, and I wasn't really willing to settle for something I wasn't interested in – 40+ hours a week is too much time to spend doing something just for "work". I eventually started calling it my "twenty-something-sabbatical" and basically stopped looking, because it's SO frustrating and made me feel bad about myself. So I started doing some volunteer work and finally took an unpaid internship which..ta-da..ended up landing me my current job that I LOVE. I still consider my sabbatical life-changing…and it sounds like Nicks, in a way, is ending up being the same.

  9. I'm going through similar difficulties now, and one good thing IS that the hubs and I are spending so much more time together. Thank you for the post – it really did help me put a smile on my face. :-)

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