Share The Housework Evenly To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

If you’ve just emerged from a time capsule in the ’60s, welcome to the future! In this world, the majority of women have jobs, which means housework doesn’t come with a gender anymore. To keep your relationship healthy, it’s probably best to share it equally.

While it might sound like common sense to some of our younger readers, the notion of sharing housework among both (all?) members of a relationship is a relatively new idea. As news site Vox points out, the rise of women working in the 1970s resulted in a change in how Western families viewed housework. This phenomenon was referred to as “the second shift” by demographer Frances Goldscheider. Research over time found that, in this new world where the working parent or spouse wasn’t determined by their gender, the more balanced the house work is, the more likely everyone is to be happy with their relationship:

Goldscheider has authored a roundup of the latest research that shows how changing attitudes about masculinity and greater involvement in housekeeping and child care among men actually helps strengthen marriages. Men doing more chores can help protect against divorce. The more time men spend with their children, the more satisfied both partners say they are with the relationship.

Again, for younger readers this might be obvious, but it hasn’t always been so. Even today, some view tasks like raising children, doing dishes, or cleaning as “women stuff”. Even if you don’t see it in such black-and-white-TV terms, ensuring both partners are pitching in around the house is a surefire way to improve a relationship.

Want a happier marriage? Share the housework equally. [Vox]


  • Should we share all the bills and financial obligations equally, or do i need to check my privilege when i come home from my 10 hour shift?

    • Mate, if that dynamic works for you both, there’s no reason to change.
      Just make sure it is working for you both, that’s all.

      The article is a heap of shit though, and appears to contradict itself several times.

  • The more time men spend with their children, the more satisfied both partners say they are with the relationship.”
    Really, we needed a study to conclude this ? Men have been arguing this point for decades, or haven’t you been paying attention ?

    Men doing more chores can help protect against divorce
    Ah, here we go, it’s the fault of men again.

    So despite the fact we’ve accepted that:
    a) Almost many women work as men
    b) Significant numbers of at-home fathers in todays society

    the burden of blame placed squarely on men for the marriage falling apart..

    Oh please.
    It doesn’t even stand up to a casual critical analysis.

    The reason why marriages (or indeed any relationship) falls apart is primarily due to lack of communication, which happens when the relationship gets stress tested by real life.

    Men are conditioned (and encouraged) to handle this stress alone, without realising the effect it has on their partner, who is feeling less of being part of a team and more of a solo player.
    That lack of communication, or rather the differing levels of communication, is what kills relationships, not that fact you didn’t do the washing up after a long day at work, ffs.

    I used to really like Lifehacker, because it was intelligent, articulate and relevant, but lately we’ve been swamped with US-centric fluff/click bait articles like this crap.

  • I think the main thing that causes issues in marriage is the lack of communication and the difference in perceptions of what is fair and balanced. It’s about counting all of the things that everyone does at home and at work and dividing that up in a way that both parties thinks is fair.

    Unfortunately the reality is that for a long time, the division of work was very clear and static, the husband earned the money, the women took care of the kids. Then women started working, and instead of there being a sharing of the taking care of the kids and or household, the woman had to go to work AND do all of the additional work. That’s where sexism came in. Women weren’t going oh no, that’s men’s work, don’t want to go work in an office, but men were definitely saying, cooking and cleaning is woman’s work, I’m not doing it. The inherent fact that women are biologically obliged to be pregnant and have to spend a minimum time with the child once it’s born to ensure it survives also was not taken in to account in the general population/for a lot of couples. This cannot be split ‘evenly’ since the man can’t magically start bearing and breastfeeding children.

    This was the accepted norm, not everyone did it this way, not everyone had problems, but it was a problem for a lot of the people that fell in to that norm because the work that the women did was not being fairly evaluated and split up anymore.

    So no it’s not about feminism or blaming men, it’s about the fact that there was a shift and too many people did not address that shift and respond accordingly. That can be a problem for any gender and any situation, lack of response to change. Traditionally, the person most resistant to change, is the one that benefits most from the status quo. So of course, men get some blame for being resistant to reassessing the balance of work and ensuring that their partner is happy and agrees with the balance. I think it’s pretty obvious that in a lot of cases, they were taking advantage since they did not do a fair share of the work. Some would then say women would have some blame as well as I can imagine a lot of them did not communicate effectively and instead were passive and resentful without explaining what they wanted and what they needed their partner to do to ensure that the work was even and acceptable to both parties.

    So it’s not about everyone doing something or splitting up the work evenly, it’s about having a discussion and setting expectations and negotiating something that works for people. Some couples may have an ‘unbalanced’ expectation, but maybe it’s because someone earns more than the other, or they have a more stressful job or they really hate cleaning the kitchen but are happy to do bathrooms. It’s about finding what each person values and ensuring they get enough of that and about having a fair process to come to those agreements, not one party coercing the other or using leverage against them.

    You can’t analyse these types of problems in a vacuum, you have to take in to consideration some of the historical issues and contributions and address them in order to move forward. And you have to realise that yeah a lot of women are resentful, because a lot of men had an opportunity to reassess the balance when women started working more and contributing more financially, and too many chose to just reap the rewards (less stress and pressure about being the ‘sole breadwinner’, more income for the family) and take advantage of their partners. That’s not to say that women don’t take advantage of men, etc. but it was not in such a blatant, institutionalised, socially acceptable way as it was in this case. The scale of the injustice is what upsets people, because it’s not about getting unlucky and having a bad partner, it’s about knowing that almost everyone you would meet would have this idea that you’re supposed to do it all. And yes there are gold diggers, and women who would get pregnant just to get men to marry them, but, it was not institutionalised and men had more choice and power in most of those situations than the women did.

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