How our family survived retrenchment
To make it through tough times all you need is trust, respect and family.
Nosipho’s family woke up one day to the news that her husband was being retrenched and that meant that she was to be a sole breadwinner up until he could find a job. In most cases we see families falling apart because of financial pressure and we spoke to her to try and understand what she went through during the time her husband was jobless – what the challenges were and how it affected her family?

When was your husband retrenched?
It was in August 2010 and he remained jobless for 10 months.

What changes did you experience as a family?
Obviously there was no income thus affecting our finances. We had to play around with what we had. One thing I was sure of is that we were not going to go to bed hungry. I made sure that this never happened.

How did your husband take the news?
Yes, our financial situation changed but he remained positive and I also encouraged him, he was looking for a job. He did have low moments but he managed through them. I made sure that I was there for him all the time and we also received support from my family. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for his family and that used to trouble him.

Did he feel that he was all of a sudden a charity case because you had to ask family for help at times?

I explained to him that my family was helping and we are not a charity case. They were aware of the life we were living before he got retrenched and we knew that he was going to get another job, it was only a matter of time.

How did the situation affect your kids?
My youngest daughter didn’t really feel the change but we explained to her that certain luxuries will fall away because daddy was not working and it was the same with my eldest daughter and they both understood. She knew that we could not buy clothes for her and she just said “don’t stress mommy, it will be all right”. Their understanding of the situation helped.

Some wives may not stick around like you did or be as supportive. What can you tell a person in the same situation?

One needs to understand why they got married in the first place. When you said “through thick and thin” they need to mean those words and understand that such moments can come in a marriage. I also prayed a lot and yes I used to cry a lot but did not want my husband to see me crying because of the burden. I was protecting him and did not want to add more stress for him. His family was expecting me to leave him and I did not because I made a covenant to be with him even in the difficult times.

What helped you as a couple to manage the situation?

We had open communication. I also decided to remain humble even though I was a breadwinner during this time. He was still my husband and I needed to respect him. Financial challenges can be handled well if both parties are mature and can keep the communication lines open. That helped us. My husband found work and we are putting the pieces together.

Has your family gone through financial trouble? How did you deal with it?

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