The Unfortunate Truth

Most husbands need to step up to the plate.

For those who do, marital happiness stays, or actually increases if the couple has children. About 2/3 don’t, however. They end up in relationships where the man works 8-10 hours a day, and the woman works 16 or more. Naturally, those wives (the 2/3 of married women) are not as happy–they experience a significant drop in marital satisfaction with the arrival of a new baby.

Even when both partners work, the woman usually does more housework, and more of the less desirable chores.
A few years ago Nat and I figured out (with some bad math) that she was doing 55% and I was doing 45% (this includes chores, work, and school). Naturally, we were both surprised at how low our percentages were. The only thing I’m sure of is focusing on 50-50 is not a good idea. Both partners need to be striving to help the relationship and each other.
How is the balance in your relationship? Are you focused on doing your share, or do you focus more on what you are doing and less on your partner?

About shenpa warrior

"Patience is not learned in safety." View all posts by shenpa warrior

5 responses to “The Unfortunate Truth

  • Alice

    Sometimes it's easy to focus on how much the other person isn't doing, which makes me resent what I have to do.

    I think we're pretty balanced most of the time, but I'm not sure my Mister would always agree- I think sometimes, he discounts how much work it is to just take care of kids, and if I haven't done the usual jobs around the house that we've decided are mainly my responsibility, then he feels like I haven't done anything. Which is sometimes true, but not always. 🙂

  • Kate

    My DH and I both work full-time and both take care of the kids and household somewhat equally. While we don’t “aim” for 50-50, I think if you were to average all the each of us has done over the course of our marriage, it comes pretty darn close. Most individual time-points, however, are heavily one-sided. I think we each have a natural respect for when the other is stressed and try to minimize the additional household workload at those times. In addition, there are certain chores that we each despise, and we tend to do those for the other. It also helps that my husband and I have similar cleanliness thresholds.

  • Jen

    I have seen how unhappy it can make a woman when her husband comes home from work and doesn’t help with the kids, because I listened to a friend express her frustration with it for years.
    Interestingly, I have also seen a woman who expected far too much from her husband when he got home from work although she had plenty of time to take care of the things she asked of him herself. Both of those relationships have since ended in divorce and both were married around 15 years. I look at both of these relationships as examples of what not to do.

    I think overall, for the benefit of the relationship, it is best to work together as much as possible in raising the kids and sharing household chores. I

  • adamf

    It almost seems like there isn’t any objective standard for couples caught in those situations–e.g. husband not helping enough, or wife expecting too much in the evening after watching a bunch of Soaps all day–I have seen both as well, and those relationships ending in divorce is not surprising. I agree, working together and sharing responsibilities is the key.

    The difficulty for this in my personal life is that I tend to be somewhat of a social loafer, i.e. I don’t work as hard around others UNLESS they are very energized, type A types. So I try to do a lot more when my wife isn’t home, or when she’s painting her nails 🙂 or something. She works very hard, and for some reason I just have a lot more motivation to work when she isn’t. It’s kind of a funny thing though, because she does NOT like it when she is doing a chore and I am not doing anything. I can totally see why, it’s just an interesting balance to keep.

  • Steve

    Helpful topic!

    One suggestion I heard was to let each partner focus on what (s)he is good at and likes doing and split the remainder.

    We often expect a lot of self and others and our demands (strong desires) can cause a lot of the trouble. Even if we move on (divorce), we will find that we are often unsatisfied in the new situation…

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