A Better Way For Couples To Split Chores

Lots of couples who live together end up splitting up household tasks so each partner is responsible for half of them. The idea is that assigning each person their own chores will let them equally share the responsibilities, but does it really result in a truly even division of labor?

Dan Carlson, a sociologist and University of Utah professor who studies family relationships and gender says it’s not effective and he just did a study that breaks down why...

Carlson analyzed data from more than 1-thousand heterosexual couples who are married or living together and have kids, looking at how they divvy up housework and their relationship satisfaction. He found that the couples who divided up the tasks so each person had their own set of chores weren’t typically any happier than the traditional couples where the woman does most of the housework. The problem is that not all tasks are equal, so someone’s getting stuck with the less appealing chores, like scrubbing toilets, while the other partner does more pleasant tasks, like grocery shopping, which gets them out of the house and lets them interact with other people.

So even though the list may look like it’s splitting the chores down the middle, one partner may not feel like it’s fair. This is especially true for women when the man is assigned tasks he’s more likely to enjoy, like car maintenance or yard work. But one thing that does work? When couples share the workload, as in each person does half of each chore. Carlson’s research shows 98% of couples who share the tasks instead of splitting them up find it to be fair because it feels more equal, so it’s worth a try.

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