Friday, September 28, 2012

What Happens When Couples Share the Household Chores?

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.

Happily, so.

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.


Anonymous said...

"Feminist ideology undermines basic moral character?"
That sure seems like a strong stretch...
I know you write about the extremes of feminism.
I would argue that morally corrupt men and women either blame or cite feminism as their reason or their cause. Feminism didn't corrupt them. They were morally corrupt already, and feminism was a convenient excuse.
(I even read in one blog that men had affairs because of feminism...)

Stuart Schneiderman said...

What good is a blog if you can't stretch things a bit.

My idea is that idealizing independence and autonomy makes people into self-contained individuals, people who do not depend or rely on others and who cannot be depended on or relied on by others.

Isn't character building about acquiring the habits that make us trustworthy, loyal, reliable... among other things.

An independent, autonomous being, of either gender would not, by definition need to develop any of the good habits that constitute good character.

Dennis said...

One has to understand that there was a feminism early on that was about equity. That died a slow death in the sixties. Radical feminism, that which exists today, does undermine basic moral character. Every decision is based on self and males are the enemy oppressor.
I am not sure how anyone can read the drivel emanating from the modern feminist and women studies adherents and not see the stench.
When one decides to place an emphasis on just one gender, as feminism does, then it is by definition done at the expense of the other gender. If I stress "white power" am I not doing it to imply others are of lesser status? It follows that if I stress "girl power" I am doing exactly the same to boys.
Case in point, there are as many men who die of prostate cancer as women who die of breast cancer. If I stress the need to address breast cancer instead of all cancers then I am doing it at the expense of men. I would posit that significant number of these advocates could not tell you the numbers of men who die each year.
Any "ism" that deals with just one gender is morally corrupt. It cares only about itself and all others do not matter or the adherents of that ideology think the it is some one else's job even as they expect the other gender to really care and be sensitive to women's issues. There seems to be a disconnect in caring and being sensitive to men's issues because feminism is selfishness.
Again feminism IS morally corrupt and grows more so every day to the point that government is to pay for their birth control, hospital and healthcare, daycare and whatever feminism thinks should be free. There is no responsibility.
Feminism survived because large numbers of men agreed with the early feminists. Current feminists do not care a whit about men and that of course is why larger and larger numbers of women have little use for feminism. The women who love and care for their men, be they husbands, lovers, sons, grandson, et al, are of good character for they know life is more than self. Stuart makes a point that I have mentioned a long tome ago, it is about ., not independence.

Dennis said...

It is about interdependence, not independence. Not sure how that happened because it looked correct, but sometimes we see what we want to see I guess.

Dennis said...

Interestingly, we just had another three women arrested for preying on young high school males. The last one did not go to jail. It will be interesting to see if these women predators are treated the same as their male counterparts.
I guess how these young men grow up and what they think of women does not matter? Since they deserved it seems to be the excuse of today, these young men asked for it.

psychotherapy techniques said...

i think couples should help each other..i think there's nothing wrong with it..though girls should do the household chores but if your husband doesn't do anything he should not just look at her partner whose been having a hard time with the household chores..he should help her wife..