Why do men commit suicide for losing their job, but not their marriage?

By David Renshaw
Real Catholic Men, Hillsboro

With the recent economic down-turn and market volatility, those of us with a cursory knowledge of history think back to stories recalling how people jumped out of their office windows during the stock market crash of 1929.  Suicide due to job loss or economic hardship is still a reality almost 80 years later.  But is it really such a big deal to lose one’s job?  I mean, is it life-taking type serious?  Do we feel just as distraught when a marriage dissolves?

Of course not, but why not?

The reason is that we as a society have come to see marriage as a “contract”, and not a “covenant”.  A contract is an exchange of goods, whereas a covenant is an exchange of person.  In marriage we give each other totally and completely to the other.  No do-overs, or fingers crossed behind your back.  There is no receipt or 30-day money back guaranty.  Two people becoming one flesh.  This one flesh union cannot be separated.  The Bible tells us as much (Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9).

But our separation anxiety is so much more acute with the loss of a job.  Possibly because we have been taught that we can easily get another spouse, “but a great job comes along once in a lifetime.”  Spouses are replaceable.  Jobs are not.

So why do we give up so easily at marriage?  Divorce statistics continue to hover around 50%.  Almost two third of all divorces have pornography as a component.  And 75% of divorced men say they had extramarital affairs during their marriage.  With these numbers the answer is clear and daunting.  The answer is the sin of selfishness.  And the purveyors are men.

We love money and sex more than our wives.  We may pay lip-service against the idea of being “shallow” or “self-centered”, but the reality speaks differently.  When the lights are out or the wife is away, we turn on the computer, or go to the strip club, or go see out mistress.  Men – we are the problem.  Additionally, we have allowed this erroneous “masculine” ideal to permeate the “feminine” world.  Now women are beginning to treat men as we have been treating them for a long time – like possessions.  Objects.  How’s that for equal rights?

The key is for good and Godly men to stand up to each other and those around them and say, “Enough!”   To hold each other accountable. To not simply “preach to the choir” of our fellow Christians, but to speak loudly and clearly with our mouths (and wallets) to anyone who’ll listen.

The book of James 1:22 states, “prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”  Take your faith to the streets and tell the world that you wife or husband mean more to you than money or sex.  And, yes – even more than your job, for my spouse is not simple a paycheck, but “bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.”

— David J. Renshaw is the Founder of Real Catholic Men, a ministry designed to get men off their spiritual rear-ends and get in the game of like within their churches, their families and their society.

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