Division Of Labor Leading Factor For Divorce
Financial turmoil has long been the leading cause of divorce. Now, a new study shines a more specific light on the matter indicating that the division of paid and unpaid labor has a profound impact on whether or not the marriage would last. The latest study seems to indicate that financial factors are much less of an indicator of divorce than resentment that brews over the unequal distribution of labor.
The study, entitled “Money, Work, and Marital Stability: Assessing Change in the Gendered Determinants of Divorce” surveyed only straight couples aged 18 to 55. The study focused on division of labor, overall financial resources, and the economic prospects of women following a divorce. The question: What impact do these factors have on predicting whether or not a marriage will end?
Financial factors play a limited role in divorce
Finances may be a major indicator of a problem with the distribution of labor. If one party in the marriage is not working while the couple faces financial turmoil, it could cause resentment in the marriage. However, the root cause is not the financial turmoil, which couples tend to endure together, but rather the feeling of resentment that brews because the distribution of labor is uneven. When one individual feels as though they’re contributing much more than the other, they tend to become resentful and eventually cut them loose.
So, while it appears that finances are the root cause of the divorce, it is actually a linked factor related to the uneven distribution of labor.
Modern realities change the landscape, but not the heart of the matter
As part of the study, the lead researcher compared marriages both before and after 1975. Before 1975, women did the majority of the housework. After 1975, women became major contributors to the family’s finances. The later a couple is married, the more likely it is that women expect men to do their fair share of the housework. Men who don’t make this contribution may run the risk of their wives filing for divorce. Still, wives do more than 70% of the housework on average, so it’s not as though they’re expecting a maid.
The death of another canard
The study also seems to attack the notion that wives entering the workforce had a major impact on the divorce rate. This supposition has been under attack for a long time as other factors, such as changing dynamics concerning marriage and divorce likely had a larger impact than working. The article suggests that the dynamic of contributions changed and women began taking on a greater role in providing finances. This also came with the expectation that men would pick up some of the slack when it came to housework. The dynamic has changed, according to the article, but the root cause of divorce has not.
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