The very first thing you should do for your spouse after a business closes is support them. Even if you don’t fully agree with how the business was run, or with how the business closed, provide an open ear and a willing hand to help with anything your spouse needs. Carry this attitude to your home life as well. Be extra accommodating at home, offering suggestions to do things you know your spouse enjoys, such as preparing their favorite meal or watching a specific type of movie. Avoid conflict if possible, at least for a little while until your spouse has come to grips with the business loss.
Offer to assist your spouse in tying up any loose ends from the business. If you have talents in organization or finances, offer to take a second look at why the business may have failed. However, approach the situation carefully in order to not offend your spouse or make them feel like a failure. Help your spouse write down what went wrong with the business, as well as what went right. These important observations will be key in the future if you or your spouse chooses to start a new business.
Insist on removing both you and your spouse temporarily from the situation. Take a day or overnight trip to somewhere relaxing or fun, any place that can help briefly take your spouse’s mind off the business. Taking time away from the situation can recharge their batteries and help your spouse better think outside the situation, looking at the big picture on how to move forward with a new business or in a new direction.
Sit down with your spouse and offer to help brainstorm new ideas for business ventures, or possibly ideas of how to enter back into the workforce under another company. Suggest enrolling in classes towards a first or an advanced degree. Discuss how you can work together to make schedules and finances work to move forward in the process. Brainstorming together provides a sounding board for ideas.
In some cases, you may need to support your spouse through taking on a second (or first) job of your own to provide additional income. If money was lost in the process, or if there’s no other streams of income entering the household, offer to take on a job if you do not already have one. Even stay at home moms can contribute, especially with working from home now commonplace in many employment fields. If a job is not an option, you can also support your spouse financially by finding ways to cut costs around the house, whether through reducing spending outside of the essentials, or finding ways to reduce food costs through eating more meals at home or couponing.
While your spouse may not allow you to help much during a business failure, simply being there and offering to help can go a long ways towards supporting your loved one. Regardless, working together to overcome this hardship will strengthen your bond as you move forward into the future.