How Splitting Household Duties Could Keep Your Marriage Intact
While we'd like to believe responsibilities should break down to about 50/50 among married couples, recent research suggests something different: According to a new study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, women are doing more work around the house....even when they work full time.
This news isn't terribly surprising, especially when you consider that the study also points out that women take on even more responsibilities after they have kids. But the study also indicates something that's worth keeping in mind: An unequal distribution of household chores can lead to negative outcomes in a marriage.
The researchers observed findings from a 2011 Canadian Work, Stress and Health Survey to come to a bold finding: That when women take on unfair loads at home, it leads to relationship dissatisfaction....and can ultimately lead to divorce.
Surprising? Not entirely. Healthy relationships require balance, and while that looks very different from one couple to another, we can absolutely see how an unfair distribution of responsibility could hurt a marriage.
"Our study found working mothers assumed a larger parenting share, and this inequality deteriorated relationship quality—but only under certain conditions. It deteriorated when mothers perceived their parenting division as unfair, or when they felt trapped in their primary carer role," this study's authors write in an article for The Conversation. "Specifically, mothers who performed a larger parenting share and worked part-time had the lowest relationship quality. This pattern was also evident for mothers who preferred more time at work."
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The study's authors acknowledge that men to tend to pick up responsibilities at home now as compared to in previous decades—but they also suggest that women tend to carry the mental load for their families. And we don't have to tell you how exhausting that can be!
Now, it's important to remember that these studies can only measure trends, and that this isn't necessarily true for every heterosexual couple out there—and it also can't prove that a lopsided distribution of household responsibilities is bad news for every couple out there. With that being said, these findings are pretty interesting. So mamas, if you're feeling like you're consistently taking on more than your share at home, it may be time to implement a change...for the sake of both your sanity and your marriage.