According to a recently released survey conducted by the National Marriage Project, the economic recession has had a mixed effect on American marriages. For some, the recession led to financial strain, which in turn led to divorce, a predictable outcome of the stress caused by job loss, debt, and foreclosure. For others, however, the recession was a motivating factor, inspiring many spouses to redouble their efforts and improve their marriages.

In the "Survey of Marital Generosity", which questioned about 1,200 married Americans between the ages of 18 and 45, approximately 30 percent reported that the recession had caused financial strain in their marriage. Couples in which one or both spouses did not have a college degree were the most likely to report marital problems based on financial difficulties.

In general, the more financial stress in a marriage, the more likely they are to end up in divorce. However, that is not always true, according to the survey. Approximately one-third of respondents stated that the recession had motivated them to work harder to save their marriage despite increased stress. Of that third, 50 percent reported that their increased efforts led to "a very happy marriage", while 25 percent said that the recession had won.

"This new survey tells us that the Great Recession has had a double-edged impact on American marriages," said National Marriage Project director and study author Bradford Wilcox. "For some, the financial stresses associated with the Great Recession have hurt their marriages. But for others, this recession has fostered a new commitment to marriage that appears to have improved the quality and stability of their marriages."

Source: Washington Post, "Study shows recession has weighed heavily on American marriages", Annys Shin, 7 February 2011