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Sharing Chores Preserves Newlywed Bliss

Update Date: May 06, 2014 07:47 PM EDT

Newlyweds need to pull their weight if they believe their sharing household chores, according to a new study.
New research reveals that newlyweds are most likely to stay happy if both husband and wife believe in splitting up the household labor equally. However, happiness won't last long with one partner is perceived as not carrying their weight.
"Newlyweds need to thoughtfully plan how they can make their expectations about sharing chores work out in real life, especially if the new spouses strongly value gender equality in household labor. This issue will only matter more after children start arriving," lead researcher Brian G. Ogolsky, a University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, professor of human development and family studies, said in a news release.
Researchers said that findings suggest that the way couples agree on how to divide household chores in the first two years of marriage is important established patterns persist over time and can sometimes lead to increased conflict and decreased happiness in the marriage for years to come
The study involved 220 heterosexual newlywed couples. The findings revealed that wives were significantly happier if their husbands shared their beliefs that both people in a relationship should share housework.
"These results were interesting because usually marital satisfaction is studied in only one spouse. Here we were able to see what happens when there's a discrepancy in spouses' attitudes on this issue. If a woman believes that household chores should be divided equally, what happens if they adopt a traditional approach to the matter? The most satisfied couples have similar expectations and follow through on them," Ogolsky said.
"For husbands, sharing household tasks isn't as directly related to their satisfaction. Either they don't perceive that there is a discrepancy or they have bought into the idea that the second shift belongs to women," he said.
"Such an understanding helps couples avoid becoming disillusioned as the marriage goes on," Ogolsky added.
The findings were published online in the journal Sex Roles.

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