When newlyweds believe in sharing household chores, follow-through is everything

May 6, 2014
Credit: Jeff Belmonte / Wikipedia

Of all the starry-eyed just-married couples you know, which couples are likely to stay the happiest? A University of Illinois study says chances for bliss are highest when husband and wife both believe in divvying up the household labor equally. But that happiness won't last long if one partner is perceived as not carrying their fair share of the load.

"Newlyweds need to thoughtfully plan how they can make their expectations about sharing chores work out in real life, especially if the new spouses strongly value gender equality in household labor. This issue will only matter more after children start arriving," said Brian G. Ogolsky, a U of I professor of human development and family studies.

The way that negotiate the division of household chores in the first two years of marriage is important because, once patterns are established, they persist over time and can lead to increased conflict and decreased happiness in the marriage for years to come, he said.

The study examined the beliefs, behaviors, and of 220 heterosexual newlywed couples and found that dividing affected the marital satisfaction of wives but not of husbands. When wives valued equal sharing of housework, they were significantly happier if their husband shared those beliefs.

When couples divided household tasks in traditional ways, close matches in belief and behavior didn't seem to affect marital satisfaction as much, he said.

"These results were interesting because usually is studied in only one spouse. Here we were able to see what happens when there's a discrepancy in spouses' attitudes on this issue. If a woman believes that household chores should be divided equally, what happens if they adopt a traditional approach to the matter? The most satisfied couples have similar expectations and follow through on them," he said.

"For husbands, sharing household tasks isn't as directly related to their satisfaction. Either they don't perceive that there is a discrepancy or they have bought into the idea that the second shift belongs to women," he said.

The important thing is to enter a marriage with a clear understanding of where your partner stands on these issues, he noted.

"Such an understanding helps couples avoid becoming disillusioned as the marriage goes on," he said.

Explore further: More sex for married couples with traditional divisions of housework

More information: The article is available pre-publication online in Sex Roles at link.springer.com/article/10.1 … 07/s11199-014-0365-9

Related Stories

More sex for married couples with traditional divisions of housework

January 30, 2013
Married men and women who divide household chores in traditional ways report having more sex than couples who share so-called men's and women's work, according to a new study co-authored by sociologists at the University ...

Do chores together for better relationship

March 21, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—You may have heard of couples that strive for exact equality when it comes to chores, i.e. I scrub a dish, you scrub a dish, I change a diaper, you change a diaper.

Marriage can threaten health: Study finds satisfied newlyweds more likely to gain weight

April 3, 2013
On average, young newlyweds who are satisfied with their marriage gain weight in the early years after they exchange vows, putting them at increased risk for various health problems related to being overweight.

Recommended for you

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.