Can’t afford to divorce

The divorce rate has gone down ever since the recession started.  Couples can’t afford to split up.  It doesn’t make sense anymore to fight over who gets the house when the mortgage is underwater.  Not that marriages have necessarily gotten stronger.  From 20% to 25% of divorcing couples are still living together!  Read  Estranged spouses increasingly waiting out downturn to divorce – washingtonpost.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Contralto

    Here’s hoping some good comes out of this situation; the couple may have a change of heart and decide to stay together!

  • Contralto

    Here’s hoping some good comes out of this situation; the couple may have a change of heart and decide to stay together!

  • kerner

    First of all, I don’t think this tells us that much that is new. We have always known that the propensity of people to sin is limited far more by lack of opportunity than by an inclination toward virtue. Often the basis of that lack of opportunity is economic. I dare say that a lot of my my own virtuous behavior (when it occurs at all) is a result of me being too frugal (or cheap) to spend the money necessary to do otherwise. If every sin were free of cost, there would be a lot more of it.

    It should come as no surprise that this applies to divorces. For most people and cultures throughout history, marriage is basicly an economic arrangement. There were in primitive times economic and practical advantages to being married. And there still are advantages today, especially when raising children. It is simply easier and much cheaper for both parents to live in the same household and share the cost and labor involved. When people have less disposable income to blow on self indulgence, they are more likely to stick to an arrangement that works on a practicle level. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that God’s law sometimes commands us to do things that benefit us in practical ways. God’s laws are there for our own good, sort of like when your mother made you eat your vegitables.

    As an attorney, it’s kind of interesting to me that some states make divorcing couples live apart for awhile before granting a divorce. Wisconsin has a waiting period, but the law has no requirement that people live separately before divorcing here. I’ve known a lot of divorcing couples who have lived together to save money until the divorce was final. And I’ve known a lot who got back together because it changed their lifestyles too much to maintain separate households.

  • kerner

    First of all, I don’t think this tells us that much that is new. We have always known that the propensity of people to sin is limited far more by lack of opportunity than by an inclination toward virtue. Often the basis of that lack of opportunity is economic. I dare say that a lot of my my own virtuous behavior (when it occurs at all) is a result of me being too frugal (or cheap) to spend the money necessary to do otherwise. If every sin were free of cost, there would be a lot more of it.

    It should come as no surprise that this applies to divorces. For most people and cultures throughout history, marriage is basicly an economic arrangement. There were in primitive times economic and practical advantages to being married. And there still are advantages today, especially when raising children. It is simply easier and much cheaper for both parents to live in the same household and share the cost and labor involved. When people have less disposable income to blow on self indulgence, they are more likely to stick to an arrangement that works on a practicle level. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that God’s law sometimes commands us to do things that benefit us in practical ways. God’s laws are there for our own good, sort of like when your mother made you eat your vegitables.

    As an attorney, it’s kind of interesting to me that some states make divorcing couples live apart for awhile before granting a divorce. Wisconsin has a waiting period, but the law has no requirement that people live separately before divorcing here. I’ve known a lot of divorcing couples who have lived together to save money until the divorce was final. And I’ve known a lot who got back together because it changed their lifestyles too much to maintain separate households.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The love of money….

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The love of money….

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    The tangled webs our sinful natures weave…

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    The tangled webs our sinful natures weave…

  • Economist Doug

    Long-term male prospects in the American economy are greatly reduced with the decline of blue collar industries. Meanwhile industries that are tailored to female skill sets (education, healthcare, customer service) continue to grow out of proportion.

    Divorce may be held down temporarily but this recession has eroded much of what remained of the male economic role in the family, while leaving women relatively unscathed.

    Throughout history economic necessity has been as important as social mores in the predominance of marriage as the basis for the family. Not anymore.

    I think the institution of the family is going to face an existential crisis in the next few decades. The family as married couple may become so marginal that single unwed mothers become the rule and married couples the exception.

  • Economist Doug

    Long-term male prospects in the American economy are greatly reduced with the decline of blue collar industries. Meanwhile industries that are tailored to female skill sets (education, healthcare, customer service) continue to grow out of proportion.

    Divorce may be held down temporarily but this recession has eroded much of what remained of the male economic role in the family, while leaving women relatively unscathed.

    Throughout history economic necessity has been as important as social mores in the predominance of marriage as the basis for the family. Not anymore.

    I think the institution of the family is going to face an existential crisis in the next few decades. The family as married couple may become so marginal that single unwed mothers become the rule and married couples the exception.

  • DonS

    Doug @ 5: You make a good point. I believe it was the L.A. Times that recently referred to this recession as a “he-cession”. And there are precious few colleges and universities having anywhere close to as many male as female students.

  • DonS

    Doug @ 5: You make a good point. I believe it was the L.A. Times that recently referred to this recession as a “he-cession”. And there are precious few colleges and universities having anywhere close to as many male as female students.


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