Sharing of Household Work Leads to Happy Married Life in Newlyweds, Study


Couples who share household chores equally are more likely to live a happy married life, according to a University of Illinois study.

Researchers said that marital bliss for just-married couples is at risk of taking a knock when one partner is perceived as not bearing a fair share of  household work.

"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," Brian G. Ogolsky, professor of human development and family studies, said in a press release.

Researchers said that the way the domestic tasks are divided between the couples in the first two years is important as established patterns endure over time. The division can either lead to satisfied or unsatisfied married life. If the tasks are not distributed evenly, it triggers frequent discord and can result in a semi-happy marriage.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the beliefs, behaviors and marital quality of 220 heterosexual newlywed couples.

They found that distribution of household burden affected marital contentment more in wives than husbands. Wives were found considerably cheerful when their husbands shared their beliefs that couple should split housework among themselves.

In situations where household load was shared in traditional ways (wives given more work than men), there was no significant difference in marital satisfaction.

"These results were interesting because usually marital satisfaction 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....The most satisfied couples have similar expectations and follow through on them," Ogolsky said.

Researchers said that for men, allotment of household work was not 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," Ogolsky said.

Researchers advise newlywed couple to discuss their standings on such trivial matters to avoid marital disagreement from creeping in.

A latest University of Chicago study found that husbands' pleasant personality and good health helps prevent marital conflict among older couples. However, these characteristics in wives didn't have much effect on marital conflict.

"Wives report more conflict if their husband is in poor health," the study's lead author, James Iveniuk, PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology, said in a statement. "If the wife is in poor health, there doesn't seem to be any difference in terms of the quality of the marriage for the husband."

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