A recent Norwegian study found that the divorce rates for couples who share housework are fifty percent higher than for couples in which the wife assumes the sole responsibility for household chores — and implicitly suggests that couples who share housework value marriage less, or that women nagging their partners about helping out around the house may lead to divorce. So much for equality between the sexes.
“The more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” said Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study (news.com). The researchers did not find a cause-and-effect relationship between the man’s duties at home, but rather chalk the higher divorce rate up to modern attitudes. “Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage.”
Maybe couples who share housework just don’t find marriage to be as sacred as more “traditional” couples do. So if you share housework, you aren’t as committed to your marriage?
A step backwards
The way this study has been presented is a huge step back in the quest for gender equality. Hansen seems to suggest that it is beneficial for women to do the majority of housework, to avoid nagging their partners and causing stress in the relationship. “There could be less quarrels,” he said, “since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight.”
Maybe so, but Hansen seems to suggest that women should just bear down and take care of all the housework. Why not encourage men to take over the household duties?
In June 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that all women (even those with full time jobs) spend more time on household duties than men, about 2.6 hours per day compared to 2.1 hours. Women still do the vast majority of daily cooking and cleaning, as well as childcare, while men spend more time on yard work and home maintenance projects.
Who does what in your home?
Is strict division of labor the answer to a happy marriage? Or is cooperation and the sharing of duties the best way to be fulfilled in a relationship? Tell us about who does which chores in your home. Are you satisfied with your partner’s contribution? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo credit: Dana Robinson