Marriage and the Economy: How Are Couples Coping?

How does money affect marriage?How does money affect marriage?Unemployment and a sluggish economy affect all stages of a relationship, from dating to marriage, parenthood to retirement.

"People tend to postpone or forgo marriage when the economic conditions are not good," says Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, a non-partisan research institute at The University of Virginia.

"The birth rate has declined every year since the recession started, falling over 7 percent," the The Fiscal Times reported in September. "Couples are either downsizing their dream family, or skipping out on having children all together. Nearly 20 percent of women today choose not to have kids, up from 10 percent in the 1970s."

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In "Remake America," part of Yahoo!'s Troy tells, "and all of a sudden you can't support any more."

With the median household income down by more than $4,000, couples have had to get creative in order to cope with crisis. Extended families abound, both in terms of unmarried parents cohabitating and in more unconventional combinations.

"We're a family of five with my father living under our roof… and my grandmother," Michelle tells It was the only way to deal with debt. "This has been our lowest point," she adds.

Sky and Al found themselves forced to live apart, with Al working in Alabama while Sky and their four children moved in with family in Florida. "After I lost my job in June, things started tapering, to where we couldn't afford our mortgage payment any more," Sky explains.

Has your relationship changed because of the economy? How are you coping?

Also on Shine:

Unhappy couples find divorce too expensive during the recession
Your chances of marriage rise with your salary
Getting married without a penny to your name isn't romantic
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