New study: higher risk of divorce when men do housework

Atheist commenter Jerry sent me this story about a Norwegian study that affirms traditional roles within the marriage.

Excerpt:

Couples who share housework duties run a higher risk of divorce than couples where the woman does most of the chores, a Norwegian study sure to get tongues wagging has shown.

The divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.

“The more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate,” Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled Equality in the Home, said.

Researchers found no, or very little, cause-and-effect. Rather, they saw in the correlation a sign of “modern” attitudes.

“Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage” as being less sacred, Mr Hansen said, stressing it was all about values.

“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. They can manage much easier if they divorce,” he said.

There were only some marginal aspects where researchers said there may be cause-and-effect.

“Maybe it’s sometimes seen as a good thing to have very clear roles with lots of clarity … where one person is not stepping on the other’s toes,” Mr Hansen suggested.

“There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight,” he added.

I think that this article is basically correct – men like having clearly defined roles. A man has the traditional roles of protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. He has the responsibility to lead in those areas. He doesn’t want to have the woman’s role, he doesn’t want to be forced to perform it. Men don’t like to be nagged. He doesn’t want to be micromanaged. He doesn’t want the government telling him how to do his roles, either. I think that one of the reasons why men are so unwilling to marry is because they sense that they could be dominated by their wives and by the state – a state that is not very interested in promoting the interests of men.

In my case, I am a bachelor, so I have to do all my own cleaning, cooking and nurturing. I like learning more about cooking and cleaning and anything else practical. But I hope that if I did get married, then my wife would take the lead in those areas, and push me to be better at my special male roles. I would also hope that she would vote to protect my ability to perform my roles. For example, lower taxes and less regulation, so that I can easily find a job to provide for the family. And concealed carry, so that I can always protect my family. And school choice, so that the schools do not undermine our values and teaching. I think that women should be focused on supporting their husbands, and raising effective, influential children. Once the children are old enough, she can focus having an influence outside the home through engagement in the church, the university and in the political sphere. I think someone like Michele Bachmann has done everything right at the right times, for example.

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11 thoughts on “New study: higher risk of divorce when men do housework”

  1. I think there is a flip side that you didn’t mention in your comments – women like to fit in a well defined role too and as far back as societal memory will go, women have always filled the roles of home-keeper – take that away and you have a fish out of water, i.e., someone that will start to question the other traditions they follow about relationships.

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    1. I agree. But they can take so many steps in the wrong direction by focusing on careers, binge drinking and recreational sex that they make themselves incapable of fulfilling the role of home-keeper. They make themselves unhappy by chasing after other people’s feminist ideals, then find that those ideals are not their ideals. But by then it’s too late to change.

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  2. Unless the researchers controlled for other factors, you could just as easily say, “Households in which couples marry but do not have children, or in which the woman works outside the home and sticks the kids in daycare, have a higher rate of divorce.”

    The reason that women fight to NOT have to do all of the “women’s work” is because it’s deadly boring drudgery. It never changes, never challenges her mind, and wears her out. Then men run around and pretend that she’s sitting at home eating bon-bons all day, rather than working VERY hard to keep a nice house, put home-cooked meals on the table, and be an excellent mother to the children in her full-time care.

    That said, I posted about a Sandra Tsing Loh article about house-husbands, and, if I were a guy, I would divorce those women, too.

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      1. That said, I also don’t know if I could really respect a man who did the whole artsy “find himself” thing while asking his wife to support the family.

        Not sure if men could really respect women who don’t at least try to make the home a warm, welcoming place – even if it’s a warm, welcoming, slightly untidy place and occasional dinners come from the pre-made section of the supermarket. But I’m not a man, so I’ll let you all talk about that.

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  3. I pursued a career until I left it to start a family, so we shared chores all those years I was working. Once I stopped work, more of the domestic work naturally shifted onto me, but my husband still helps.
    My husband is an atheist, so when I became a Christian, I had to be the spiritual leader and do the moral and spiritual training of our children. I attended Bible studies, did a one-year Bible survey course (very stressful with 3 children under 10), read as much as I could and listened avidly to Christian radio programmes, including Focus on the Family. I am the civic-minded one, so I was the one who got involved in the children’s schools, serving on committees, being involved in prayer in the schools and later on, children’s ministry in the local primary school. (These are volunteer ministries, sanctioned by the school, but are not under the school’s supervision).
    My coming to know the Lord put far more strain on our marriage than any sharing of chores did, and it took about 10 years and reaching a crisis before we reached a settlement.

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