After a long day at work, the last thing anyone wants to do is come back to a house full of chores, but this is unfortunately most of our realities. Whether that be the laundry, cooking, washing dirty plates, or vacuuming, maintaining a household can be a full-time job in itself!
Most of the time, the burden of this responsibility usually falls onto women. A 2019 UCL study found women do more housework than men in 93 percent of British households. When the responsibility of labor is not split between couples equally it can feel like the person less involved in chores does not respect the other’s time.
To investigate how exactly this unbalance impacts relationship satisfaction, a team of researchers from the University of Utah dived into the issue. The group analyzed two US nationally representative datasets which looked at satisfaction levels in different household arrangements.
A key finding was that completing tasks together is more important than the total proportion of time each partner puts into chores. This is likely because communal effort shows appreciation and understanding of the complexities and nuances of work throughout the house, not disregarding some tasks as easier and harder.
“One of the biggest predictors of satisfaction is a sense of fairness in relationships,” says Daniel Carlson, who led the study. “It turns out that the more chores the couple share together, which they do together, the greater their sense of fairness, the more satisfied they are with their household chores arrangements.”
Gender was also found to have an influence on satisfaction levels in chore splitting. Carlson continues: “Men may be equally satisfied doing no housework or sharing all or most tasks equally, but since women’s highest satisfaction is when all or most tasks are shared, the route to a happy relationship appears to lie in sharing.”
This equal responsibility and cooperation are likely to improve communication, understanding, and teamwork skills, and heighten a sense of fairness between partners, all important factors in a healthy relationship. Working as a team makes you feel like you’re in it together, so maybe next time you’re gardening or hanging out the washing, it may be beneficial for your relationship to involve your partner.
Source study: Sex roles – Reconceptualizing the Gendered Division of Housework: Number of Shared Tasks and Partners’ Relationship Quality