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7 Things to Do When Your Spouse is Unemployed or Lazy

People go through rough patches in their lives sometimes. But how can you deal with a partner who doesn’t want to do anything about it?

spouse unemployed and lazy

No longer is your partner getting up in the morning bright and early when you do. Less of their time is spent browsing job sites, and more of their time is spent in front of the TV watching Netflix. You’ve started coming home to a messy house, wondering how on earth it even got that way.

Maybe they’ve been trying to find work, and doing everything they can to stay positive and upbeat, but after every rejection, your partner has slowly started to give up.

Instead of getting mad, you continue to bite your tongue, not saying anything, because you don’t want to nag your spouse for being unemployed or being lazy. But you can’t bite your tongue forever, right?

How do motivate your partner to get up and find a job

At the cost of sounding like a nag, you eventually have to get your partner to move and start looking for work. Here’s how you can do that.

#1 Set goals. If your spouse is unemployed, it’s important that they stay motivated, even when your partner can’t find any motivation. It’s so easy to get in a slump. I mean, just think about how hard it is to motivate yourself to go to the gym when you can come up with so many excuses. One great way to handle your significant other being unemployed is to set goals together. Turn it into somewhat of a game.

For example, make it a priority for you both to make the bed together when you get up in the morning. Or have them set a goal of how many job applications they want to apply to per day. I once read somewhere that you should send out 25 introductory emails a day. Start with a less overwhelming number, like 5, then move up to ten as each day passes. With each successfully sent email, give your partner a reward like their favorite meal or even sex!

#2 Help. A few years ago, I started my journey as an entrepreneur, and would come home to find my now-fiancé perfecting his portfolio. 6 months passed and he was still “perfecting,” which is when I realized the only way he was going to come close to finding a job in his field was if I helped light a fire under his butt.

As an industrial designer, he’s a perfectionist. He didn’t understand looking for jobs before making his portfolio work perfectly perfect. This is where I came in. I am an extremely fast typer, fast reader, exceptional at proofing cover letters, and anything administrative. So I helped.

I would come home from running my errands, doing entrepreneurial things, and sit with him on the couch, browsing all the job openings we could possibly find, and basically help write every cover letter and job application he sent out.

By doing this, it made him energetic, and it made him feel more confident. It was something so simple that I had overlooked, but it made all the difference, and one month later, he did in fact, land his dream job. [Read: 8 daily reminders to keep your partner moving forward]

#3 Assign chores. If your spouse isn’t unemployed, but they are lazy, then it’s time for you to assign chores. You both should split chores around the house, and mentally know that one of you will always be in charge of taking out the trash, doing laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, etc. Or if you cook dinner, then they have to do the dishes, and vice versa.

Having assigned chores helps put both of you into a routine, without having to really think about who does what around the house. It can give your partner a sense of responsibility, thus motivating them to get up off the couch and actually do something.

#4 Stop supplying. If you’re the one who usually does the grocery shopping, only to come home to no home-cooked dinners because your spouse expects you to handle that too, then it’s time to change the rut you’ve let yourself and your spouse get into. One very easy way to fix this lazy behavior is to stop providing the food, and stop worrying about the fridge being stocked.

Instead, offer to leave your card with them the following day, and let them know that you’d like for them to do the grocery shopping and cooking while you’re slaving away at work. Obviously, don’t start treating your spouse like an assistant, but try doing this in a delicate way. It’ll also give them something to do, and who knows, they might actually be really good at it!

#5 Get moving. If your spouse is lazy, especially when it comes to being active, it’s time to fix that. Remind your partner that you want both of you to live a long, healthy life, and sitting around all day won’t do that. If they hate going to the gym, you can instead go for a walk in your neighborhood, ride bikes, go for a hike or go swimming. [Read: 25 tips to get inspired to work out]

#6 Find a hobby. When someone is unemployed, it’s important to continue looking for jobs and going on interviews, but there are going to be lulls where you really don’t have that much to do. There are only so many episodes of The Price is Right a person can watch! A great way to handle the lulls during unemployment is to find a hobby that can occupy your spouse’s time.

If your spouse starts doing something creative a few times a week, even once a week, it’ll keep them active, while also honing a skill that might help them with finding a job. Having a hobby will help them alleviate the frustration of not being able to find a job just yet. [Read: 14 quick stress busters to recharge the mind]

#7 Volunteer. This is a great idea for anyone who is unemployed and/or lazy. If you’re cooped up inside all day, away from human interaction, it’s a no brainer you might start to get depressed, and lazier than you ever imagined. One of the best ways to combat this is through charity work. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain when you put yourself out there to help other people.

Putting smiles on others’ faces also puts a smile on your face. It’s a great feeling when you are able to help someone, and know that you might just change someone’s life. So if your spouse has been lying on the couch, the time is now to give them a big reality check. Remind them of all the people in the world who don’t even have access to clean water, or don’t even know what laying on a couch feels like or what a TV is. Re-introduce your spouse to these people, and I guarantee you’ll have the positive, active, upbeat person you fell in love with back in no time! [Read: 5 ways volunteering can help heal depression]

There are many factors contributing to those unemployed. If someone is unemployed, they probably feel discouraged, and understandably so. Applying for jobs and going to interviews is daunting. There are only so many rejections one person can handle.

Even if your partner feels discouraged and lazy about finding work, don’t let them wallow in misery, because that won’t get them any closer to finding a job. These tips can give them back that sense of purpose, and in time, they can get back up and start searching anew.

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Charley Reid
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