Housework Can Affect a Couple’s Relationship

By Rebecca Lewis on September 25, 2018

 Married couples are often confronted with problems when it comes to distributing household chores. In most cases, women are left with more obligations at home like doing the laundry, preparing the food, washing the dishes, and the like. This common problem though, if left unresolved, can lead to distress and later on conflicts between couples, found a new study.

Factors Affecting Psychological Distress in Men and Women

Researchers from the Umea University in Sweden investigated the factors which cause distress among couples and how they affect their relationships. The study involved 723 residents in a mid-sized industrial town in Northern Swedish who were living with their children. They were given questionnaires designed to assess how they feel towards their domestic responsibilities. The questionnaires involved questions about health, work, and socioeconomic factors.

Upon analysing the results, researchers found that at the age of 21, both men and women reported to experience the same level of psychological distress. But by the time they reach 42, women tend to increase their distress levels while men stayed just the same.

Furthermore, men were less likely to report that gender equality was an issue in their relationships. Among those who were interviewed, they consider lower socioeconomic position was among the major causes of distress.

But for women, equality in domestic works is important. It doesn’t matter how much or what kind of work is given to each one, the important thing is that they ‘feel’ they are in equal footing with their partners.

Although women nowadays are recognised in the same way with men, majority of them are still bound to more responsibilities at home, particularly in managing the housework. The researchers found that this is a major factor that affects the rise in psychological distress among women.

Reducing Levels of Distress

Addressing issues as they arise – often, don’t confront each other when they feel something’s wrong, leading to more serious problems. According to Susanna Scott, founder of the BritMums, women should voice out if they feel something isn’t equal.

Respect – Scott also pointed out that it all boils down to respect. Knowing that each one is bound in certain obligations is important in alleviating distress. Also, couples should know when they should step down and do more.

Establishing teamwork – Dr Alan Manevitz, a practising psychiatrist in New York, pointed out that the study results show that any distress between the couples can lead to the distress of the whole family. According to him, one’s unhappiness about their relationship with their partner can lead to the stress of the entire family. To prevent this, couples should reconcile on how they will divide the house chores. Dr Manevitz also emphasised the importance of teamwork in a successful relationship. Equal teamwork, as he puts it, makes couples happier and teaches children important lessons. Being parents, couples should act as role models from whom their kids will learn mutual respect, communication, and sense of equality.

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