A study by Adam Galovan, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri, Department of Human Development and Family Studies has shown that the couple is happier when the household duties are shared evenly.
“Sharing can mean something different to every couple,” Galovan said. “It could be taking turns changing diapers or one parent watching the children while the other prepares dinner. Doing things together and having mutual, agreed-upon divisions of labour benefitted both spouses.”
Galovan and his Brigham Young University and Utah State University colleagues asked 160 heterosexual couples how their household responsibilities were shared and how this division of chores impacted their satisfaction about the relationship. The team chose 25-30 year old couples who had been married for an average of five years. Also, the couple at least had one son/daughter aged less than five years. Most of the mothers were working, either in part-time or full-time jobs. These criteria ensured that the couples were most representative of that generation.
“The more wives perceived that husbands were engaged in routine family tasks, the better the relationships were for both partners,” Galovan said. “Wives in our study viewed father involvement and participation in household chores as related. Doing household chores and being engaged with the children seem to be important ways for husbands to connect with their wives, and that connection is related to better couple relationships.”
When the father was actively involved with the child and shared a close bond, the mother also felt happy about her relationship with him.
Especially with the arrival of kids, parents find it difficult to make time for each other. Hence it is important that the couple maintain focus on their personal relationship in midst of the multitude of duties and responsibilities that a marriage entails.
“Find ways to connect throughout the day, even if it’s just doing dishes together or watching a movie,” Galovan said. “These simple connections in daily life seem to enhance couples’ marital satisfaction and improve the quality of their relationships.”
The study, “Father Involvement, Father-Child Relationship Quality, and Satisfaction with Family Work: Actor and Partner Influences on Marital Quality,” was published in the Journal of Family Issues.
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