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The Key to Marital Bliss Isn't at All What You Thought

Photograph by Twenty20

Throughout the ages, women arguably have done more than men when it comes to housework and parenting, even those working full-time.

And moms tend to be the go-to person for doing dishes, folding laundry, making lunches and chauffeuring the children from appointments to play dates, not to mention a boatload of other things that must be done to keep a house running smoothly.

Now a recent study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues is suggesting that this sort of domestic “inequality” is a recipe for divorce.

Using data from the 2011 Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Survey, researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Melbourne found that when a mother perceives her parenting division as unfair or feels trapped in her role as primary caregiver, the quality of the relationship she has with her partner deteriorates. This is especially true for women working part-time who would prefer to spend more time at work.

The demands are so intense, in fact, that a lot of women surveyed feel compelled to limit their employment to part-time or quit their jobs altogether. Often, the decision to give up a career, coupled with the pressure to assume the bulk of the parenting, causes a mother to become dissatisfied. As a result, the relationship quality between she and her partner suffers.

Simply put, when household responsibilities are equally distributed between parents—regardless of a mothers' employment status—the marriage is better.

All we need to do now is flip a coin to see which one of us is going to clean the bathroom.

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