Dear Rachel,

My husband and I are not getting along. He has been unemployed for almost a year and (finally!!!!) got a job last month. While it is in his line of work, it is not at the seniority level or salary that he had before. He is having a very hard time coming to terms with this. He feels that it is "beneath him." I say that the economy has been tough on everyone, and he should be thankful for whatever opportunity he was given. He just complains, and last night he told me that he was thinking about quitting. I am ready to go through the roof! How could he want to quit? Not only do we need the money, but he was driving me crazy being home. How can I convince him not to leave his job?

Seriously Frustrated

Dear Seriously Frustrated,

I hear how upset you are with your husband, and it is very understandable given your circumstances this past year. While you are very thankful that your husband is working, he is really not happy with his job. This is a complex situation, which unfortunately many couples have to navigate these days, but I will address some of the underlying issues.

Men need to feel respected, and they need to feel that they are able to provide for their families.

Men and women have different core needs. Men need to feel respected, and they need to feel that they are able to provide for their families. Women need to feel loved and taken care of. For the past year, neither of you were getting your basic needs met.

It is important for you to understand that for most men, their jobs are part of their identity. If a man’s job is not meeting his expectations (or he doesn’t have a job!), it can be quite threatening to his self-image. And if your husband was previously very successful, it can be a blow to his ego that he is not in a position that he feels is suited to him. There are probably many thoughts running through his head that may be affecting his decision-making right now. He may feel like he let you down for the past year, and I am sure he is concerned about his marketability in today’s economic climate. So while he has good intentions to obtain a better job, his method for doing so is causing you to have anxiety.

In order to communicate effectively, I suggest that you take some time to think about your husband's feelings. Sympathize with him. Let him know you understand that he feels demeaned (even if you don't really see it), but at the same time, talk to him about how important it is to stay in the job market. In addition, you can appeal to his desire to support his family byRemind him that the best time to look for a job is when you already have a job. thanking him for sticking with something that he doesn’t enjoy until something better comes along. Remind him that the best time to look for a job is when you already have a job.

Both of you need to recognize that we are not totally in control of our parnassa (income). Our income for the year is determined on Rosh Hashana, and G‑d does what is best for us, even if we cannot always understand it. While we have to put in real effort toward generating our income, ultimately it is up to G‑d how much money we will make. While on one level this can be frustrating, it can also be freeing. Frustrating, because it feels like our circumstances are out of our hands, but liberating as well, because we know that G‑d is ultimately taking care of us.

Hopefully the two of you can work together to come to a reasonable resolution to your problem. But because emotions are running so high, it can be extremely challenging to communicate in a positive way. I encourage the two of you to look for some guidance, either from a therapist or rabbi, to help you during this challenging time. I hope that you and your husband are able to get through this trying period as a stronger, more connected couple.