Could a Housekeeper Save Your Marriage?

A recent Norwegian study found that in couples who equally shared the housework the divorce rate was 50% higher!  Now before we extrapolate too much from the study, we should note that the study was based on Norway couples only.  Thus, their cultural norms play a significant role in their national divorce rates.

But still, 50% is pretty shocking.

Is Housework the Real Culprit?

The author of the study concluded that the actual housework was not really the underlying cause of the higher divorce rate.  Instead, it was more a byproduct of a more typical modern couple as compared to a couple who were married 20 or 30 years ago.  Traditionally, a married couple in Norway was more likely to have a male bread-winner spouse and a female spouse who raised the kids and took care of the house.  Now, a modern married couple is much more likely to have two income-earners with a fairly equal division of childcare and household responsibilities.  Sounds a bit like how things have evolved in the U.S., doesn’t it?

Or is it Just the Modern State of Marriage?

The more traditional couples were more likely to have a more “permanent” view of marriage regardless of the circumstances, while the modern couples were more likely to exit the marriage if the circumstances led them to that decision.  Additionally, you can’t underestimate the difference it makes when the wife has a career and income of her own.  In that situation she has options that her traditional counterpart did not.

I’m Not Willing to Take Any Chances

While the study findings really just support an obvious transition in the permanence of marriages that has occurred over the years, I can’t help but go back to the specific finding in the report:  a 50% higher divorce rate if the household chores are shared equally.

So I think the next time my wife asks me to help clean up the kitchen after dinner I will have to say, “sorry honey, I love you too much to put our marriage at risk.  I’m going to go watch the game.”  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Scott Morgan is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has practiced family law since 1994 and is the founder of the Morgan Law Firm which is dedicated exclusively to representing divorce and family law clients in the Houston and Austin areas.

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