Friday, June 18, 2010

Recessions's Silver Lining May be: Solidifying the Marital Bond

The Recession and Families: Post 2 of 4

“Judging by recent press reports,” writes Bradford Wilcox in the Wall Street Journal, “the family fallout associated with the Great Recession has been severe.” According to Money & Marriage, a report released recently by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Institute for American Values, the financial pressures associated with the Great Recession can lead to a downward spiral of marital recriminations, tension and conflict as spouses struggle to pay bills, adjust to the loss of a job or find themselves forced out of their home. “This downward spiral is especially likely to unfold when a husband loses his job—a particularly salient reality in the current recession, where more than 75% of the job losses have fallen on the shoulders of men.”

According to Wilcox, “There may be a silver lining in all this financial pain. For most married Americans, the Great Recession seems to be solidifying, not eroding, the marital bond. To be sure, some couples have simply postponed a divorce until the economy rebounds, when they expect to have a better shot at starting new lives.” And anecdotal evidence suggests that a number of couples have responded to the recession by rededicating themselves to their marriages.

"Perhaps more important, the Great Recession is leading some spouses to develop a renewed appreciation for the social and economic solidarity engendered by marriage and family life. While it is true that the recession has been a source of harmful stress for many couples and families, a recent Pew Research survey found that about four in 10 Americans report that the recession has brought their family closer together."