Q: When is a research study not a research study?
A: When it’s results are a little too convenient.
Recently, we read reports saying that men were happier when they did more housework.
The results were so convenient for persons of a certain ideological persuasion that one did not take them very seriously.
Now a new study from Norway says that couples who share housework equally are 50% more likely to divorce.
Marriages where the wife fulfills the role of homemaker seem to be more durable than are those “modern” marriages where chores are distributed equally according to the principles of social justice.
People who live their lives according to an ideological imperative are far more likely to pay for it with their marriages.
The London Telegraph reports:
The reasons, [the researcher] Mr Hansen said, lay only partially with the chores themselves.
“Maybe it’s sometimes seen as a good thing to have very clear roles with lots of clarity ... where one person is not stepping on the other’s toes,” he suggested.
“There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight.”
But the deeper reasons for the higher divorce rate, he suggested, came from the values of “modern” couples rather than the chores they shared.
Unfortunately, it makes good sense.
Sharing responsibility requires a dizzying set of organizational principles.
Women all say that they want an equal division of household labor. Yet, they also feel, perhaps unconsciously, that a man’s active participation in homemaking is a reproach, a vote of no confidence in their ability to keep a home.
(I posted about this in relation to an article by Sandra Tsing Loh earlier this week.)
Hansen is also correct to say that the couples who divide up chores equally are likely to be less committed to the institution of marriage.
So-called modern couples do not believe in depending on each other for anything. But two autonomous individuals who have achieved perfect independence naturally feel less like a couple.
If the only thing holding a couple together is affection, they are headed for trouble.
Despite the ideological haze that has surrounded these terms, independence and autonomy are unnatural states. Interdependence is the more natural human condition.
If you are perfectly independent that implies that you, or those near and dear to you, cannot be relied upon and cannot be trusted. If you have to do everything by yourself you are saying that you refuse to rely on anyone else. And you are also saying that no one should ever rely on you.
Perfectly modern marriages do not do well because feminist ideology undermines moral character. If your spouse lacks basic moral character you are probably not going to stay married for very long.