My husband is pretty frustrated and stressed right now, and with good reason.
Here’s the super-truncated summary: We are having financial troubles. I’m already working full-time and spending 10 hours a week commuting. DH has been looking for work consistently since last January, but has been aiming for jobs that pay no less than $2 an hour less than his last job (which he quit 2.5 years ago to be a SAHD). We had a lot of unexpected expenses and fell behind on our mortgage and have hundreds of dollars of doctor bills to pay (I am expecting a baby in early February).
It’s clear to both of us that he now needs to just get a job, any job - even at minimum wage. Hence, his frustration and stress - taking a low-paying job after all his hard work to find something better is really hard on him.
I want to let him know how much I appreciate what he is doing for our family, but because he is depressed (technically, dysthymic - chronic mild depression), I'm not sure how to communicate that to him effectively. Telling him with words is often received with suspicion, that I'm "just saying that to make him feel better" and am not really sincere. Non-verbal expressions of love seem to go further, but they take time and energy. I do what I can, but I need to take care of myself first right now, since I am the sole income for the family and the pregnancy means that my body is under unusually high levels of stress as it is. I want a way to let him know that he really is a hero for our family. I want to let him know that having him do a job for minimum wage expresses his love for us more than working a job with double the wage. I want him to know that I don't see him needing to do this as a sign of a failure on his part to do better (which is how I think he sees it), but as him being willing to do anything, humble himself however much is needed, to make sure his pregnant wife and children have what they need. But when his mental health leaves him pre-disposed to take everything the wrong way, especially spoken words, and when I am already so busy just keeping things going, how can I communicate that? So far, all I can come up with is to do my best to be cheerful and healthy in mind, body, and spirit, so he can see the fruit of his labor in his healthy, low-stress wife. This is what he seems to really wants right now - for me not to be over-burdened by everything, and for himself not to feel like he's causing me to be tired and overwhelmed by not doing more. Once he gets a job, I can enthuse over the value of his new paycheck - but not sure how I can thank him during this period where he is still job-hunting and investing himself before it pays off. Does this sound like I'm on the right track? Any other ideas how I can help my husband see that he is being a hero right now?