Couples bickering about the division of labor in the home is nothing new, but new research suggests they may have been thinking about it all wrong. Instead of dividing up tasks, sharing them is the way to go, according to a new study.
After analyzing previous research from the 1990s and early 2000s, Daniel Carlson, associate professor at the University of Utah, spotted some trends:
• Couples who each performed specific chores and didn’t share any of them with their partners weren’t as happy with their relationship as those who share at least three chores.
• This doesn’t mean partners have to both be doing the laundry or cleaning the bathroom at the exact same time, they can switch off. It’s the fact that they’re both doing the same kind of work that matters.
• Carlson says having equally shared tasks matters as much if not more than the proportion of housework each partner does.
• His research shows that among couples who are equally sharing all the tasks, 99% report that their relationship is fair. But for couples who don’t share chores, but each partner does 50% of the housework? Only half of them think their relationship is fair.
“One of the biggest predictors of satisfaction is a feeling of fairness in relationships,” says Carlson. “It turns out that the more tasks a couple shares together, that they do jointly, the greater their feelings of equity, the more satisfied they are with their housework arrangements.”