Saturday, September 29, 2012

Modern Marriages Have Higher Divorce Rates

I read an article today that some may find surprising.  I don't think I do, but maybe for reasons other than you might think.  Wait, I need a disclaimer here:

Disclaimer:  This post will most likely contain opinions that you disagree with, or maybe you will agree with them, but in any case you probably won't admit it.  All of the instances of stereotypes that you think you see, you probably do see, but just because this post may contain some broad generalizations about men, women, life, the universe and housework, doesn't mean that it might not be spot on.

Okay, got that out of the way.

Anyway, these very brave smart researchers in Norway have found that marriages where the housework is shared equally, have a much higher divorce rate - 50% higher, in fact.  Now they have all sorts of explanations for this, including the idea that "modern" women are more comfortable divorcing.  That might sound reasonable, after all, with education and a good job, it might be less worrisome to endure a divorce and strike out on your own.  But on the other hand, aren't they also saying that modern women with a good education are less likely to be successful at marriage and relationships?

They don't say that maybe marriages work best when what is divided equally is responsibility for things that each partner is actually good at.  They don't speculate that maybe people are happier when they know their roles in a relationship and the responsibilities that go along with them.  They can't say those things because that wouldn't be modern.

They certainly won't suggest that men and women may be *gasp* different.

Consider the fact that we often joke about "man-caves", those special spots in the house where men don't worry about the decor, where the creature comforts are everything - those being a large-screen television and beer, mostly. There's a reason they are called caves.  It's a place where only the most rudimentary housekeeping takes place.  That might include picking up a dropped beverage to see if there's any left in the can to drink.  It doesn't include coasters or wiping up spills before they stain.

I know, you're going to say you know women who have carved out their own "caves" in the house.  Have a look at those caves.  Chances are they have books, highly polished tables, coordinated drapes and rugs and a cozy on the teapot.  It's not the same.  A woman's cave is simply a place to go where she gets a few minutes of quiet.  It's not a place to hibernate under a pile of refuse.

Women are just more naturally in tune with their environment.  There are good reasons for that as well as the natural instincts.  No one ever walked into a messy house and immediately thought "wow, I bet her husband doesn't help with the housework".  We all know that people are not that kind.

Let's face it, the main reason that households where housework is shared don't work very well is that wives are usually disappointed with the quality of the work men have done.  We see that it's only half-done or not done the way we like it and we either do it over again or worse, complain about what they've done. Women assume that they've done it badly so they won't be asked to do it ever again, or just to be annoying.

For the man, this effort he's put into his chore is like a gift to his wife.  It says that he loves her, he's trying to help, he's done this wonderful thing. His wife is unappreciative, he gets yelled at anyway.  What's the point?

I don't have an answer for this problem.  The answer may be to train young boys to do housework the right way.  The answer may be for women to be trained to accept any effort, no matter how small, no matter if the dishes are all put away in the wrong cupboards and if the towels are folded the wrong way.  It's unlikely any of this will work.

Perhaps the answer lies in everyone appreciating everyone else, for everything they do and treating each other with mutual respect and love.  Maybe everyone needs to lower their expectations, even the ones they have for themselves.  Trust me ladies, your husbands won't notice or mind if you didn't do the supper dishes before you went to bed or haven't done the laundry today.  They will notice and mind only when there are NO clean dishes and they haven't got any clean socks.  Until it gets that bad, they will just go with the flow.  So, relax, appreciate the fact that they don't care all that much and make it work for you.

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