Chores are the third-most important predictor of marital success. That means who washes the dishes is almost as critical as faithfulness and sex, and it’s more important than money, religion, or politics.
So how can we approach chores more successfully? The Atlantic recently published a piece by a team of California university professors who study anthropology and psychology. And in a nutshell, their best advice to married couples is that they clearly delegate who handles which chores. From the article:
The couples in our study who lacked clarity on what, when, and how household tasks and responsibilities would be carried out often said that they felt drained and rushed and had difficulty communicating their dissatisfaction in their lives. Spouses who appeared to have a clear and respectful understanding of one another’s roles and tasks, in contrast, did not spend as much time negotiating responsibilities; their daily lives seemed to flow more smoothly. For example, in one family the couple emphasized the importance of establishing a mutual perspective on managing household chores.
Interestingly enough, research demonstrates that one partner can’t drive this delegation on a perpetual basis, lest the relationship spiral into the archetype of a nagging wife and a withdrawn husband. But couples can share the work of various chores very successfully, like cooking, with one partner serving as the leader. However, with one partner serving as a task leader, the opposite annoyance can ensue: The helper may make so many small requests or critical comments that the partner doing the lion’s share of the task becomes the one who’s upset.
But at its most simple, the solution seems fairly straightfoward: Agree to who handles what in a relationship. And, if I may be so bold, it seems like that sort of delegation is just as important in a happy workplace, sweetie pie.
[Image: Couple via Shutterstock]