How An Unequal Division Of Labor In A Marriage Can Affect Your Health And Happiness

We all know that marriage isn't easy. Since our youth, many of us dream of a fairy tale wedding with our soulmate, but marriage doesn't always look as perfect as depicted in the wedding ceremony. In reality, being married can be full of ups and downs that can be difficult to navigate. Trying to balance your relationship, family, and financial responsibilities, while still finding the time to take care of yourself, can contribute to feelings of stress

According to GoodTherapy, certain factors may improve the quality of the relationship for both individuals in the partnership. Elements of a healthy and happy marriage include having a meaningful connection with your spouse, as well as feeling a sense of commitment towards them. Successful marriages can be characterized by the trust and intimate bonding that's formed when being vulnerable and honest with your partner.

You may have heard the phrase, "it takes two to tango," and the same might ring true in marriages. Marriages require a healthy compromise between the wants and needs of both partners. As American society transitions to less traditional roles in marriage, and wives seek to expand upon their own career goals outside their marriage, the concept of equal division of labor becomes more of a concern.

While many people could agree that a relationship should be 50/50, many wives find themselves carrying much of the emotional labor in a marriage, explains Greater Good Magazine. You might wonder how this dynamic could affect the health and happiness of the couple. 

Unequal division of labor can put a strain on your overall health and happiness

The growing need for two — or more — sources of income to live comfortably is hard to deny, and the Pew Research Center reported a significant increase in households with two working parents when compared to the dynamics of households in the 1970s. In pursuit of their professional dreams or even just trying to make ends meet, parents can struggle to balance the demands of work and family responsibilities in an equitable way within a marriage.

A 2010 study explains a suggested association between inequity in a relationship and decreased marital satisfaction, and that in general, women feel more deprived in a marriage than men. According to the Center for American Progress, working mothers often do the bulk of unpaid household labor and child care when they aren't at work.

Some men report that the chores they do are episodic rather than continuous, such as yard maintenance or auto repairs. Understandably, unequal division of labor can have an adverse effect on someone's mental health, and has been linked to increased depression and anxiety, according to Medical News Today

A couple who is struggling from unequal division of labor may be able to improve the state of their relationship. MSNBC reports that open and honest communication about the division of labor between partners, while having empathy for the other by considering their perspective, can help resolve conflicts and create a team-like dynamic.