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RECESSION'S UNEXPECTED CASUALTY: DIVORCE?

 

By Ellen Makkai
April 14, 2009

NewsWithViews.com

Though numbskull congressional spendthrifts are throwing our money at every misfortune these days, divorce is one calamity that’s losing out. “Two can live cheaper than one” seems to be an upbeat offshoot of the present recession. Divorce is just too darn expensive.

“In these tough times many people are finding it's cheaper to stay together, even when they can't stand each other,” writes Marty Orgel for MarketWatch. “Circuit courts across the country report downturns in the number of divorce and separation filings.”

With a tip of the oven mitt to home-making maven, Martha Stewart, “That is a very good thing.”

Let’s hope that when happy days are here again those slumping divorce rates continue downward. In spite of the anti-marriage rhetoric of cantankerous hardcore feminists, marriage greatly benefits spouses, children, and society in general. A myriad of studies reveal that marriage better protects individuals from alcoholism, illness, suicide, accidents and murder.

As to women specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that married women enjoy greater personal safety, educational opportunities, have more creative outlets, sexual fulfillment and social connectedness.

And married men need to quit with their proverbial ball-and-chain jokes.

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord,” said Israel’s King Solomon. DHHS echoes Solomon with its research, finding that marriage lengthens men’s lives, improves their health, provides more frequent and satisfying sex. They have “increased employment stability,” stronger relationships with their kids and are less likely to contract those rude STDs or land in the drunk tank.

Kids with married parents tend to be more socially and academically successful, says Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher in their book “The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.” These children are at vastly decreased risk of abuse, drug use, mental illness, criminal behavior, pre-marital sex and pregnancy,

U.S. Bureau of the Census (2006) found that children in two-parent households are also less likely to experience poverty. “In the U.S., nearly 60% of the children from single-parent households live in poverty, as compared to only 11% of children from two-parent families.” The 2010 census will undoubtedly and unfortunately find more of a spike in the negatives for singly parented children.

The often-used divorce myth--that children benefit if their incompatible parents split—doesn’t hold up.

“In lower-conflict marriage…and as many as two-thirds of divorces are of this type, the situation of the children can be made much worse following a divorce. These children benefit if parents can stay together and work out their problems rather than get a divorce,” write Paul R. Amato and Alan Booth, in their book, “A Generation at Risk: Growing up in an Era of Family Upheaval.”

And who knows? Separate sleepers who fight for their marriage could very well end up back in the same bed. Linda Waite discovered in further research that 86% of unhappily married pairs who stuck with it were happier when re-interviewed five years hence. Sixty percent rated their unions as either “very happy” or “quite happy.”

This recession is being wrongly compared to the Great Depression. Economic stats don’t support that claim. But one striking similarity can’t be ignored. Families then and now realize that it is cost-effective for spouses to tough it out together. A popular Depression-era ditty took that truth one step back by encouraging courtship.

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“Potatoes are cheaper, tomatoes are cheaper; now's the time to fall in love…You'll find in some kind o' trouble, you're better off double; now's the time to fall in love”

2009 - Ellen Makkai - All Rights Reserved

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Former syndicated columnist, Ellen Makkai, is a Bible-reading grandmother who lives in the Denver foothills and blogs again at ellenmakkai.com

Website: EllenMakkai.com


 

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U.S. Bureau of the Census (2006) found that children in two-parent households are also less likely to experience poverty.