Grab the Towel and Dry, Dad

The days when Mother washed the dishes and Father dried them are long gone for most couples, but research suggests that couples who share the chores are happier, particular the wives.

After all, “he doesn’t help around the house” is one of the most common complaints that women have.

A study published last month by the Journal of Family Issues, researchers at the University of Missouri, Brigham Young University and Utah State University found that married couples are happier if they share household responsibilities.

The study, of 160 heterosexual partners married for an average of five years and with at least one child under five, involved couples between 25 and 30. Forty percent of woman had full- or part-time jobs.

Couples did not need to divide the work exactly in half, said Brigham Young University professor Erin Holmes. “We found that it didn’t matter who did what, but how satisfied people were with the division of labor.  We found that when wives are doing work together with their husbands, they are more satisfied with the division of labor.”

University of Missouri’s Adam Galovan says the more wives perceived that their husbands participating in family work tasks, the better the relationships for both spouses. When wives felt that their husbands were close with their children, couples’ relationships also improved.

The equalization of household chores probably is not rocket science. A connection between a couple’s division of labor and marital satisfaction has been found before. In 2007, a Pew Research Poll found that sharing household chores “ranked as one of the top three issues associated with marital satisfaction (the other two top issues were faithfulness and good sex).”


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