小编导言：2012年6月英语四级深度阅读第真题第一篇原文出炉，文章选自《纽约时报》网站2009年5月28日的一篇文章，原文标题“Married With Bankruptcy”，在经济危机下，美国家庭中的夫妻选择抱团生活，以减轻经济开支。
IN times of economic crisis, Americans turn to their families for support. If the Great Depression is any guide, we may see a drop in our sky-high divorce rate. But this won’t necessarily represent an increase in happy marriages, nor is the trend likely to last. In the long run, the Depression weakened American families, and the current crisis will probably do the same.
We tend to think of the Depression as a time when families pulled together to survive huge job losses. The divorce rate, which had been rising slowly since the Civil War, suddenly dropped in 1930, the year after the Depression began. By 1932, when nearly one-quarter of the work force was unemployed, it had declined by around 25 percent from 1929. But this does not mean that people were suddenly happier with their marriages. Rather, with incomes plummeting and insecure jobs, unhappy couples often couldn’t afford to divorce. They feared that neither spouse would be able to manage alone.
Today, given the job losses of the past year, fewer unhappy couples will risk starting separate households. Furthermore, the housing market meltdown will make it more difficult for them to finance their separations by selling their homes.
After financial disasters (and natural ones as well) family members also tend to do whatever they can to help each other and their communities. In a 1940 book, “The Unemployed Man and His Family,” the sociologist Mirra Komarovsky described a family in which the husband initially reacted to losing his job “with tireless search for work.” He was always active, looking for odd jobs or washing windows for neighbors. Another unemployed man initially enjoyed spending more time with his young children. These men’s spirits were up, and their wives were supportive.
The problem is that such an impulse is hard to sustain. The men Komarovsky studied eventually grew discouraged, their efforts faltered, and their relationships with their wives and teenage children often deteriorated. Across the country, many similar families were unable to maintain the initial boost in morale. For some, the hardships of life without steady work eventually overwhelmed their attempts to keep their families together. The divorce rate began to rise again in 1934 when employment picked up, providing some unhappy couples with the income they needed to separate. The rate rose 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 current crisis, working together and supporting one another through the early months of unemployment. During the Depression this stage seemed to last a year at most. Today, it might last longer. Wives now share with their husbands the burden of earning money, and the government provides more assistance.
But history suggests that this response will be temporary. By 1940 the divorce rate was higher than before the Depression, as if a pent-up demand was finally being satisfied. The Depression destroyed the inner life of many married couples, but it was years before they could afford to file for divorce.
Today’s economic slump could well generate a similar backlog of couples whose relationships have been irreparably ruined. So it is only when the economy is healthy again that we will begin to see just how many fractured families have been created.