It may not be the first logical conclusion many Bostonians come to, but a recent study conducted in Norway found that men and women who shared traditional household responsibilities were more likely to divorce than couples in which women did the majority of the housework.
"The more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate," said the author of the study. But the increased divorce rate probably isn't caused by the fact that certain men do more or less chores than others; it may be a symptom of what the author called "modern" couples and their relationships.
"In these modern couples, women also have a high level of education and a well-paid job, which makes them less dependent on their spouse financially," the author reasoned. He also noted that professional couples were more likely to have an organized, contractual-based marriage, where roles and responsibilities are well defined. "The more you organize your relationship, the more you work out diaries and schedules, the more it becomes a business relationship than an intimate, loving spontaneous one," claims the author.
This is an interesting study, and one that may surprise many, but it probably shouldn't raise any red flags amongst couples who split housework. In fact, a separate study showed that men who took on more domestic responsibilities felt more fulfillment and a better balance between life and work.
This study does not mean that women should go back to more traditional child rearing and house cleaning roles in the interest of preserving a marriage, and doing so would certainly provide no guarantee of personal happiness for a married couple.
Regardless of the division of responsibility in a marriage, the fact remains that many relationships will end in divorce. When chore division is not the key to preserving a marriage, an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that fair property division and child custody arrangements properly recognize individual contributions to a marriage.