houseworkThink dividing the household chores will save your marriage? Maybe not! A new study says that divorce rates are higher for "modern" couples who share housework equally. That's completely the opposite of what I would have thought.

Wouldn't you think that equality would lead to stronger marriages? That there would be less arguing and more respect among couples who don't expect the wife to do all the housework? I know that's what I always thought. So why is this happening? And is this going to bring on the "I told you so" cavemen who want to use this as an excuse for not doing the laundry?

The explanation the study's author, Thomas Hansen, gives actually makes a lot of sense. He says the results say less about household chores and more about modern couples in general. "Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage." Modern couples have a different attitude toward marriage than more traditional couples do. It's not the end of the world -- or a major spiritual failing -- if they divorce.

So flip the whole equation around: Modern couples tend to divide up the chores equally, but they also tend to have a more liberal attitude toward divorce. Women in modern couples are less financially and socially dependent on their husbands. They have more education and higher-paying jobs and don't feel as much social stigma for divorcing. Keep in mind -- this study was done in Norway, not the US. I'm not even sure we'd get the same results here. It might be interesting to find out, though.

Anyway, it's pretty clear that just because a researcher found that divorce rates are higher among couples who share chores equally doesn't mean sharing chores leads to divorce. Don't let anyone use this as an excuse to stop unloading the dishwasher!

Are you surprised at the connection between sharing chores equally and divorce?

 

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