In times of economic crisis,Americans turn to their families for support.If the Great Depression iSany guide,we may see a drop in our skyhigh divorce rate.But this won't necessarily represent allmcrease m happy marriages.In the long run,the Depression weakened American families,and thecurrent crisis will probably do the sanle.
we tend to think of the Depression as a time when families pulled together to survive huge joblosses.By 1932,when nearly one-quarter of the workforce Was unemployed the divorce rate haddeclined by around 25％from 1929.But this doesn't mean people were suddenly happier with theirmarriages.Rather,withincomes decreasing and insecure jobs.unhappy couples often couldn't affordto divorce.They feared neither spouse could manage alone.
Today,given the job losses of the past year.fewer unhappy couples will risk starting separatehouseholds.Furthermore,the housing market meltdown will make it more difficult for them to fmaneetheir separations by selling their homes.
After financial disasters family members also tend to do whatever they can to help each other andtheir communities.A 1940 book,The Unemployed Man and His Family.described a family in whichthe husband initially reacted to losing his job"with tireless search for work."He was always active looking for odd jobs to do.
The problem is that such an impulse is hard to sustain.Across the country many similar familieswere unable to maintain the initial boost in morale（士气）.For some,the hardships of life withoutsteady work eventually overwhelmed their attempts to keep their families together.ne divorce raterose again during the rest of the decade as the recovery took hold.
Millions of American families may now be in the initial stage of their responses to the currentcnsls,working together and supporting one another through the early months of unemployment.