The recession and unemployment can place great stress on relationships. Some couples are committed to each other and work harder to make the marriage stronger, while stressful financial situations on other couples can cause the whole relationship to tumble down. Unemployment and foreclosures continue to haunt us and some couples can’t deal with the pressure.
It does look like the depression has put a double whammy on marriages. A survey was conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia, the “Survey of Marital Generosity.” 52 percent of respondents said the depression had caused them to work harder on their marriage.
They had redoubled their marital commitment and were in a happy marriage. Compare that to 25 percent who said the depression had in no way caused them to deepen their commitment. It’s unclear if these couples had a happy marriage to begin with. 38 percent of couples interviewed said they had postponed divorce due to the recession but still were considering it at a later date.
That is consistent with data collected that shows divorces are down since the recession began. 29 percent said the depression had them in stressful financial straits. For some this stress has strengthened the marriage bond and commitment, for others it played havoc on the marriages.
Couples without college degrees suffered most. More than a third surveyed said they worried almost all the time about being able to pay the bills. About 12 percent said they struggled to pay rent and mortgages, or were facing foreclosure. Another 29 percent said they had experienced job losses or reduced hours.
The results of the survey shows that more people are working harder on their marriages and are happier for it. It could be that those who were mismatched to begin with want to start divorce proceedings but don’t have money for lawyers and court fees during the recession. As always, those that are less educated are suffering with unemployment and foreclosures and are hardest hit.
These are the factory workers whose jobs were shipped overseas, and construction workers who have no work due to the building industry at a standstill. Retail clerks and restaurant workers who were let go due to loss of customers and workers from many other failing business. All this puts a strain on marriages but couples who love each other and family struggle on and make it work.
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