Marital problems

Readers' Views No 252/253, November 2005
OECD Observer

Although I agree that men and women who are happily married can expect higher average incomes, I believe the idea of what a happy marriage consists of needs to be looked at more closely ("US: A Healthy Marriage", in Roundtable on social affairs, No 248, March 2005).

Yes, the US plan to push marriage and counselling seems to be a good one from the viewpoint of promoting a happy life, but looking at the bigger picture, isn't that trying to promote a utopian world?

Although this idea was not stated in your article, I find the often claimed idea that marriage ends poverty wrong. The idea does not relate well to women with a low socioeconomic status. We are forgetting about the reasons why one might decide not to get married. Single mothers do not choose or want to be poor and their belief is that being married may even bring them lower down.

Many lower-class women fear that a jobless man is going to bring more labour into the household. As Kathryn Edin puts it, "even when a man's labour in the household is taken into account, he causes eight additional hours of work for his spouse" (University of Pennsylvania, 1999).

Women who have had this experience think differently about marriage, work and raising children. A woman who is trying to keep herself afloat will want to bettter herself and establish herself economically before adding someone else to the picture who could deter her from her goal.

You state in your article that "men become more economically responsible when they have a family to support." While this is a nice idea and may happen in a middle to upper-class situation, in a situation of a low status, many men do not have the skills or enthusiasm needed to keep a steady job or bring consistent earnings to the family. In these cases, the relationship can deteriorate. Nowadays, a busy woman cannot afford to keep an unproductive man around, no matter how much she may love him.

I do not want to give the impression that women think little of marriage, this is a common misconception. These women hold a positive view of marriage, but one should put much more emphasis on training men (and women) to keep jobs where they can become more financially stable before promoting the happy marriage idea. A marriage will not last if both sides are not working together equally.

—Lori DuBoisUniversity student, Marshfield, Massachusetts

Ref: Edin, Kathryn (1999), "Why Don't Low-Income Single Mothers Get Married (or Remarried)?"


Comments and letters may be edited for publishing. Send your letters to observer@oecd.org or post your comments at these portals: www.oecdobserver.orgwww.oecdinsights.org, or at the other OECD portals on this page. 

©OECD Observer No 252/253, November 2005




Economic data

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • “Nizip” refugee camp visit
    July 2016: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría visits the “Nizip” refugee camp, situated between Gaziantep and the Turkish-Syrian border, accompanied by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek. The camp accommodates a small number of the 2.75 million Syrians currently registered in Turkey, mostly outside the camps. In his tour of the camp, Mr Gurría visits a school, speaks with refugees and gives a short interview.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • Queen Maxima of the Netherlands gives a speech next to Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (not pictured) during the International Forum of Financial Inclusion at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico June 21, 2016.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • OECD Environment Director Simon Upton presented a talk at Imperial College London on 21 April 2016. With the world awash in surplus oil and prices languishing around US$40 per barrel, how can governments step up efforts to transform the world’s energy systems in line with the Paris Agreement?
  • Happy 10th birthday to Twitter. This 2008 OECD Observer interview with Henry Copeland said you’d do well.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Once migrants reach Europe, countries face integration challenge: OECD's Thomas Liebig speaks to NPR's Audie Cornish.

  • Message from the International Space Station to COP21

  • The carbon clock is ticking: OECD’s Gurría on CNBC

  • If we want to reach zero net emissions by the end of the century, we must align our policies for a low-carbon economy, put a price on carbon everywhere, spend less subsidising fossil fuels and invest more in clean energy. OECD at #COP21 – OECD statement for #COP21
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa. blogs.worldbank.org
  • Pole to Paris Project
  • In order to face global warming, Asia needs at least $40 billion per year, derived from both the public and private sector. Read how to bridge the climate financing gap on the Asian Bank of Development's website.
  • How can cities fight climate change?
    Discover projects in Denmark, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.
  • Climate: What's changed, what hasn't, what we can do about it.
    Lecture by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, hosted by the London School of Economics and Aviva Investors in association with ClimateWise, London, UK, 3 July 2015.
  • Is technological progress slowing down? Is it speeding up? At the OECD, we believe the research from our Future of ‪Productivity‬ project helps to resolve this paradox.
  • Is inequality bad for growth? That redistribution boosts economies is not established by the evidence says FT economics editor Chris Giles. Read more on www.ft.com.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles

Poll

What issue are you most concerned about in 2016?

Unemployment
Euro crisis
International conflict
Global warming
Other

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2016