Two recent news stories suggest the odd effects the current economy is having on families.

On the one hand, take the Ghosh family of New Zealand. Make that Pennsylvania. Uh, make it both.

Guatam Ghosh is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His wife, Cecilia, is an assistant professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Emilio, their 2-year-old, lives with his mom.

They stay in touch through Skype video chats in the morning and around dinnertime (in New Zealand), because that's when Cecilia needs Guatam's help the most.

In what seems to be an otherwise happy marriage, why have the Ghoshes chosen to live this way? "This was a career decision we simply had to make for financial stability," says Guatam, according to a New York Times story from last week, "Living Apart for the Paycheck." The Ghoshes are hardly alone, says the Times:

In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that 3.6 million married Americans (not including separated couples) were living apart from their spouses. In March, Worldwide ERC, the association for work-force mobility, released a report revealing that three-fourths of the 174 relocation agents surveyed had dealt with at least one commuter marriage in 2007, a 53 percent increase since 2003.

"Families … are simply having to adjust to make things work," says David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. He believes that the current economy may force more couples into commuter marriages for the sake of a paycheck.

Reginald C. Richardson, vice president of the Family Institute at Northwestern University and a lecturer in psychology, adds, "I think we are going to see more and more commuter marriages in the future, given the global economy and the ...

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In "SoulWork," Mark Galli brings news, Christian theology, and spiritual direction together to explore what it means to be formed spiritually in the image of Jesus Christ.
Mark Galli
Mark Galli is former editor in chief of Christianity Today and author, most recently, of Karl Barth: An Introductory Biography for Evangelicals.
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