Housework: The road to marital bliss

9 Aug
 An article in the Globe and Mail (online) today discusses the unsurprising idea that men helping with household chores can influence what goes on in the bedroom.  However, according to a recent survey on marital bliss conducted by a Washington-based research centre, the sharing of household tasks has risen more in importance than any other factor since a similar study done in 1990.  What I found really surprising, though, was this following tidbit:
“My studies show that it’s not so much who does what, and the balance or imbalance, but the way it is perceived by the couples,” says Steve Nock, a sociology professor who studies marriage and the family at the University of Virginia.

“I predicted that couples in which each felt that the share of tasks both inside and outside the home [was] fair and equitable would have the lower divorce rate. But I was wrong.”

The lowest divorce rate was among couples in which the wife felt the division of tasks inside the home was unfair to her and the husband felt that the division of household tasks was unfair to her, too. If both partners felt that the wife was getting the short end of the stick, the marriage was more likely to be happy.

It’s the man’s capacity and willingness to understand how women think that makes a difference.

I had just been thinking yesterday how much simpler a, say, 50’s wife had things.  I know I’m being silly and that there were plenty of challenges and things to be dissatisfied with then… but how simple it seems when husband and wife’s roles seem so clear-cut.  Now we’re theoretically in this enlightened age where men and women share all work equally, but the reality is that in most couples, the women perform the majority of the housework.  So how can there be so many women willing to do more than their "fair share" and yet are happy in their relationships?

So thank you, Michael.  We may not have a perfect arrangement yet, but you have been willing to take on so many things since we became a double-income with kids family… and I appreciate it!

To read the full article, click here.

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