In a relationship, especially a marriage, couples need to learn what works to make each other happy. Marriages and relationships of all kinds require you to compromise; a give and take that isn’t always a 50/50 split.
Surprisingly, something as simple as sharing housework can make a huge difference in how happy you are in your relationship. The dynamic between couples and chores is a complex one. Some couples strive to divide and conquer evenly – meaning one person isn’t stuck with the brunt of things. Other couples divide chores based on gender. Some couples don’t communicate about how to divide chores at all.
If one-half of the relationship feels like they are always the giver, there can be conflict.
The Research on Couples and Chores
According to an in-depth study of married couples, sharing household chores was in the top three responses given by 62 percent of couples who felt their marriage was successful. The first and second issues were fidelity and a satisfying relationship in the bedroom. Think about that for just a minute. If you and your spouse were to sit down and talk about what you each believed made a successful marriage, would sharing chores as a couple be at the top of your lists?
In a survey of the top 10 reasons couples divorce, five of them could be directly linked back to unmet expectations of each other’s roles and a lack of communication and arguing. Which do you think would be easier in your marriage? Sharing chores as a couple, or getting divorced because you couldn’t talk about it?
You wouldn’t order a pizza you didn’t like, so you communicate to the order taker what toppings you want. When you make new friends, they tend to share similar interests, and eventually some of those friendships become more intimate relationships. Communication is a key component to all successful relationships. Just as you learned what likes and dislikes you share with your best friend, your spouse should also be your best friend with shared likes and interests.
It’s Even More Important If Your Family Grows
The reality of couples and chores can be tested when children become part of the shared responsibilities. Often the roles each spouse plays in a marriage are learned by watching the role models each had growing up, cultural beliefs and behaviors. When couples share similar beliefs and divide chores, satisfaction in the marriage was not impacted as much as when there were differences between each other’s attitudes.
For most couples, the addition of children does add some stress to the marriage. There is an adjustment period as they each transition into their new roles. It is important during this time that couples don’t lose track of their initial roles and relationship. Spending time doing chores together is one way to maintain that connection. Another way is to schedule time without the children, like going out for dinner and a movie.
Spending time with the children, while couples share chores, was also another factor in successful marriages. Not only were the bonds between parent and child strengthened, but also the relationship between the couple. Simply reading a book at bedtime to the children, having a conversation with them about their school day, or what they did during the day made a significant impact on the marital satisfaction of couples.
Keeping Your Relationship Healthy
Being able to communicate and compromise helps keep your marriage healthy. Maintaining a connection with your spouse will also help keep your marriage healthy. Couples that share chores find it is one of the simplest ways to keep that connection. The process of washing and drying dishes together gives a physical connection, and allows for relaxed conversation about each other’s day. It is a nonconfrontational opportunity to discuss childrearing concerns and any other issues that can add stress to a marriage.
No matter how you maintain communication and connection in your marriage, the key to having a successful marriage is that you keep those lines open. Sharing household duties is an effective way to do so. Couples and chores go hand-in-hand.
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