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One of the Main Reasons For Marriage Problems

Updated on July 21, 2015
Marital Problems
Marital Problems

Women's Responsibilities in Dual-Earner Families

In most marriages today, marital problems or marital satisfaction are often based on spouses' sense of perception of equality when it comes to the division of labor -- specifically household chores. For this reason, it's important that we take a closer look at the division of responsibilites between husbands and wives in most U.S. households.

In the U.S, currently, the dual-earner family is no doubt a fact of life. There are millions of women who now fully share the provider role with their husbands. Many are up as early as 6 a.m. to prepare breakfast for the family, get the children ready for school, then rush off with just enough time to get to a regular job by 9 a.m. They are usually back home by 7 o'clock in the evening to face a mountain of household chores ranging from child care to cooking to laundry to cleaning.

According to one author, It would seem logical -- and fair -- to assume that they share these chores equally with their husbands. However, the fact is , this is rarely the case. Several studies have shown that even when both spouses are working full time, women continue to shoulder the greater share of the burden for getting things done at home. The question is, does this contribute to marital problems or conflicts?

Based on findings, the husbands of working women do not spend significantly more time in housework than the husbands of unemployed women. Other studies have shown that the share of chores men do around the house decreases as their income increases. However, men who have positive attitudes about sharing the provider role are more likely to be more involved with household duties than men who resent their wives' income-earning role.

Social Class Effects On the Division of Chores

According to some researchers, despite the fact that wives continue to perform the majority of household tasks, social class affects the proportion of tasks performed by each partner, specifically, working-class wives with working-class husbands and working-class wives with middle-class husbands reported doing a significantly larger share of work than wives in both-middle-class group and in the wife-middle-class/husband-working-class group.

Researchers found that when working-class wives perform "Woman's work" they are able to avoid marital problems, while middle-class wives experience greater conflict when their husbands don't assume responsibility for their "fair share" of household work. In addition, the marital satisfaction reported by wives in all social classes was directly related to their perception of equality.

In the case of wives, perceptions of equality are important to marital satisfacrtion. However, this was not the case with husbands. In the case of hubands, based on findings, when beliefs about their roles coincided with actual behaviors, men related high reports or marital satisfaction. It has been revealed that men who considered themselves "co-providers" along with their wives and who shared in the responsibility for household chores were also found to be satisfied.


Based on all the above findings, it appears as if spouses' perception of equality when it comes to division of labor in dual-earner families, can lead to marital problems as well as determine marital satisfaction, even though wives' perception of equality seems somewhat more important to marital satisfaction.


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    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 5 years ago from Philadelphia

      Thanks for your comment Mhatter99. Yes indeed, this can be a challenge. However,I guess it can be worked out!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      this can be a challenge. we were individual enough, in our thinking, to overcome this. i.e. i was better in the diaper dept.

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 5 years ago from Philadelphia


      You are so right,this certainly can be applied to unmarried couples as well. Communication is always the key when it comes to all relationships. Without constant open communication and "prayer" it's going to be tough to keep our relationships healthy and free of ongoing conflicts.

    • sadie423 profile image

      sadie423 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting research. I think this is true for single income families as well and that division of labor should be discussed and agreed upon in order to help keep the marriage healthy