Our First Year of Marriage: Unemployment, Prayer and Patience
A year without long-term employment taught us a lot about marriage, diligence in the job search and the power of prayer, patience and faith.
The unemployment situation is awful. New graduates are told the only things they can look forward to are dismal job prospects, looming student loan payments and rooming with Mom and Dad indefinitely.
The average unemployed worker in the United States has been jobless for 40 weeks, and the future looks bleak. There’s nothing like a seemingly never-ending job hunt to make you question every choice you’ve ever made—even your choice of profession. I know what it’s like to have bills overwhelming your meager income. I know what it’s like to work in an environment where you feel drained of hope and willpower.
Thankfully we discovered a practical and powerful way to improve our employment situation and to help end our unemployment worries.
Here’s how it worked for me and my husband, Aaron.
Our unemployment story
It was a week before our wedding, and our plan was foolproof. We were graduating with no debt, fixing up a zero-mortgage house and working at jobs that provided a perfectly adequate income.
Then, just before the wedding, with no warning, Aaron lost his job and the plan went up in smoke.
After the honeymoon-induced haze cleared, we returned home with no job, no income and a stack of bills. Along with our bills came a wall ornament that read, “Aaron Henderson, Master of Architecture.” As Aaron browsed job listings, it sat with his engraved desktop nameplate in silent derision.
About that time most people start looking for a miracle cure. Some people look to the government or Mom and Dad. Others pray.
It wasn’t long before a good friend informed us that he needed a contractor for a few weeks. Swinging a hammer was clearly below Aaron’s pay grade—as six years of school clearly attested to—and it’s a hard pill to swallow when your high school-educated colleagues know they’re earning the same wage as you.
But work was work. And in a moment of steely resolve, Aaron Henderson, master of architecture, took a job paying only tolerably higher than minimum wage. For seven months, he hammered nails, hung joists and applied his complete willpower to drowning his professional ego.
Then the snow came. Work dried up and times got harder.
We worked together to drastically reduce our standard of living, chopping nonessential bills, discretionary spending and our grocery budget in order to survive.
But that wasn’t going to cut it.
There had to be ways for an able-bodied man in his 20s to still earn a living! Aaron worked “overtime” on every workday looking for a job, while spending his free time learning new skills and making himself more employable.
Weeks stretched into months as we waited for a response to the dozens of résumés we sent.
Nothing but crickets.
But as the checking account rapidly cascaded toward the red, our spirits lifted. We knew it had to be getting close. Almost a year had gone by since our wedding. We continued to try to patiently support and encourage each other. We worked hard and prayed harder.
“Can you start on Monday?”
Then one day, exactly a year after he was laid off, Aaron got the call. “Can you start on Monday?”
That Monday, Aaron started a job that blew his old one out of the water. And right now he’s supporting our family and enjoying his work more than he ever did before. Oh, and he “blames” that first “jobless” year for the fact that our marriage rocks our socks off.
I should mention Deuteronomy 24:5, a verse that Aaron and I found intriguing. Here’s what it says in principle: New husbands shouldn’t be taken away from their wives for the first year, but should spend the year learning how to make their wives happy.
Now who can argue with logic like that? I sure couldn’t. So for months before our wedding, we asked God to allow the circumstances that would make that type of first year possible.
So we found it very interesting that Aaron started his new job exactly one year to the day after our wedding!
At first, we had no idea what we had really been praying for. But once it hit us, our worry morphed into complete faith that Aaron would start the ideal job soon.
And he did.
Our sweet year of newlywed goodness came with a big price tag. The numbers don’t add up; but our marriage, our lives and our bank account are much richer and fuller because of it.
We believe it’s no accident.
Faithful prayer: key to overcoming employment worries
Many people turn to God only out of desperation as a last resort. But we discovered the power of prayer is real, and it has worked miracles in the lives of others who have experienced unemployment turmoil in the past. I’ve heard similar stories not once or twice, but many times.
In the Bible we have a promise that there is a supreme being, God Almighty, who says He will deliver His faithful followers out of trouble and supply our need (Psalm 91:15; Philippians 4:19). He can change our job situations and our marriages for the better. Prayer pays—it gets results. But first, we need to do something.
We must realize how much we need God’s help, pray and pursue Him! If we turn around, stop sinning and live by God’s laws, then we can receive His attention. And He promises to attentively listen to every single thing His faithful followers ask Him. We can boldly ask God for whatever we want, according to His will, and then live as if we’ve already received it (1 John 1:9; 5:3, 14-15).
When we obey God and seek His will, nothing can stop our ultimate success. Even today’s economic upheaval is nothing compared to the power of the God who wants us to thrive, even in a recession! As we discovered, we need to pray, obey and then wait, with patient faith—all the while diligently doing our part in the job search and in supporting and encouraging each other—and watch the amazing results.