QUESTION: My husband has a master’s degree in computer science and had a very good job until his company outsourced technical customer support to two other countries a year ago. I’ve been a stay at home mom since our two children, ages 2 and 5, were born. Although I, too, am college educated and am willing to go to work until my husband can find a job that will support us, he is adamant that I continue staying home. He says he doesn’t want to be a “Mr. Mom.”
I’ve told him this will be temporary, and will give him time to find a good job. Our savings are almost gone, and I’m really getting nervous about this situation.
I would like some suggestions on how to talk to him and come to an agreement.
– Mom in Turmoil
Your husband’s education and experience means he should have analytical thinking skills. I would appeal to logic while helping your husband see his identity is more than his job title. Your family situation can be viewed as a systems problem with the focus on the outcomes, not whose individual contributions are most worthy.
Raising happy, productive children isn’t easy and your husband might actually be afraid he can’t do as good a job as you’re doing. It might reassure him if you let him know you’re available to give child rearing technical support to him!
It’s more important to have income to meet your family’s needs, including medical insurance, than which parent’s job provides it. If you both work outside the home for a while to replenish your savings, you could use childcare. Studies have shown quality early childhood education provides life long positive results.
While your husband chose a modern career, he seems to have rather old-fashioned views of gender roles. It might help to point out that inflexibility is inconsistent with a rapidly changing industry. He is likely to have to keep learning and changing jobs throughout his working life. Less rigid expectations might make his job search easier, too.
Although it’s probably small comfort, many families face similar
problems with the economy not providing as many jobs as people need. I wish you both good luck.
Atheist/agnostic/secular humanist/free thinker
We are living in very interesting times. Many who have enjoyed well paying, fulfilling careers are now out of work. You’ve obviously voiced your concerns and offered your help. Take the discussion further by emphasizing that you do not intend to be the sole support of your family for any length of time. As you both seek employment, make this endeavor a partnership and enter into an agreement that the first one who finds the best, highest paying job takes the position. Your going back to work may be exactly what is temporarily needed to keep the income flowing, and now is not the time to be attached to gender roles.
Your husband seems to be an idealist and has taken his responsibility as family breadwinner seriously. When you talk to him, honor this commitment he has to your family and speak words of appreciation to him.
Communication is the key in all relationships. Expressing your feelings to one another clarifies and brings to light long-held beliefs held by either of you that could be keeping you from an agreed upon plan. Even if he is thrust into being “Mr. Mom” for a short while, good is bound to come out of his new experience. More than likely, he will gain an understanding of, and appreciation for, the day to day skills required to run a household and care for children.
Honor each other’s feelings and commit to a resolution that is acceptable to both of you.
Rev. Steven Van Meter
Center for Spiritual Living-La Crescenta
QUESTION: I’m really having problems with faith and trust in God. Recently, at age 64, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I’m a Christian, have attended church regularly since I was a child, raised our two children as Christians and have faithfully served and supported our church over the years. This feels like a punishment to me. I have three beautiful grandchildren and I want to see them grow up. I know the story of Job and how he was faithful to God through many losses. I’m trying to have Job’s faith, but just can’t seem to get beyond a sense of loss and depression. Is there anything I can do to get myself back on track?
– Lost Faith
Dear Lost Faith:
Oh, how I wish I had you in front of me right now! I would share a life of one trauma after another. I also have felt my name was Job. And the Lord has strengthened me time after time with His strength when I had none. I have lost hope, faith, felt punished and abandoned over and over in life. In those times, often when I had nothing left and then two, three, four, or even five more “punishments” came, somehow God not only got me through, but also gave me a testimony. In most of these trials, I had few people including family that supported me. I share this to say, love and prayers are being sent your way from one who has been there.
I often reflect that as we grow older that we should focus on what we want to be remembered for. How can we be history makers?
I am so impressed with you! You have raised two Christian children. What a legacy. You have made meaning of your life by serving your church. And you have already seen three beautiful grandchildren. Some never get there. Some never marry. Some lose children. God has indeed blessed you and Satan is trying to take your focus off that.
This is not to deflect from the fact that you have something tragic happening. But you are an amazing person with a heritage … for we all have our day to see the Lord. Your life matters and has changed others! Please focus on this.
So how do you get back on track? It is the depression you are fighting. When we are depressed, we do not feel hope or joy. I encourage you to seek treatment for the depression – it is healable. Therapy is a must at this point. And sometimes we need short-term antidepressants to get us through trauma, grief, and crisis.
Should you need to talk in person, or need a referral, I would be happy to see you for a session. You need someone to partner with you in your pain… and you need your spiritual hope back. God can do this!
Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian,
LMFT, Licensed psychotherapist, Kimberlie Zakarian Therapy
Dear Lost Faith,
Let me convey my condolences for your circumstance. I understand how you’re trying to make sense of this. Let me acknowledge what you’ve shared: that you’ve esteemed Christ’s Church and have faithfully participated for years locally, and you’ve transmitted the Gospel to your kids (they’re probably doing likewise with your grandkids). Certainly you want to be around awhile.
Listen, God is not punishing you. As His redeemed child, Christ has already taken any punishment you could ever think to deserve. Unfortunately your particular malady is not uncommon in this fallen world.
I see your battle as twofold: First, you must fight the cancer. Shore up your diet, dog your doctor, and pray with your people for healing. God built you with the capacity to heal; He has the capacity to intervene when you don’t. But you must strive to thrive!
Second, don’t let your lifelong faith fail you now. Being Christian is being married to Christ. It shouldn’t fair-weather wane, but endure for better or worse. You must trust the One who holds your life, whether you live to a hundred or find yourself in His immediate presence. Reconcile yourself faithful no matter what. Live what you profess.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life” (James 1:12 NIV). Keep your feet on the ground, your eyes on the prize, and a faith like Job (not Job’s wife: Job 2:9).