Based on research by Berger, Andrea R., & Janoff‐Bulman, Ronnie. (2006) written by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.
If you live with a partner, how do you decide how to divide up household and family duties?
Being able to divvy up the labor of everyday life can greatly benefit a relationship when it is agreed upon by both partners. However, there are negative aspects to having specific duties if it becomes your “job” and you feel you “should” to do it, instead of “want” to. This may cause resentment, less willingness to do partner favors, and less gratitude.
Psychology researchers evaluated dating and long-term marital cohabitating partners. These individuals were asked to describe their household duties, whether they felt appreciated by their partner for completing them, and how satisfied they were in their relationships. Results for both groups indicated the more someone felt appreciated by their partner for the duties they fulfilled, the more they indicated wanting to do them and even enjoying them. For some people, completing more chores meant they were less satisfied in their relationships. However, this impact disappeared for those who felt appreciated for the chores they did.
Key to relationship happiness? Find ways to express appreciation for your partner’s completed tasks. Offer to help. Let them know you are grateful.
Berger, A. R., & JANOFF‐BULMAN. (2006). Costs and satisfaction in close relationships: The role of loss–gain framing. Personal Relationships, 13(1), 53-68.