Money and housework – final thoughts on marriage and children study

December 20, 2011

in Acts of Service, Money, Series, The "D" word

Couple upset over finances © Wavebreakmedia Ltd |

This is my final post based on information from When Baby Makes Three, the 2011 State of Our Unions a report from the National Marriage Project.

The study showed something interesting about income. Not surprisingly, how much money a couple has was far less important than how much “financial pressure and debt” they had. In my words, being poor is not a problem for a marriage, while being heavily in debt is a problem no matter how much money or how many nice things the couple has. Among couples with “below average or average financial stress”, 50% of men and women said they were very happy in marriage. When a couple had above average financial stress, only 34% of women and 43% of men said the same. The amount of consumer debt a couple carries shows showed similar results, especially for women. For those with no such debt, 48% said they were very happy and divorce proneness was only 18%. For couples with $10,000 to $19,000 in consumer debt, those figures were 40% very happy, and a 23% divorce proneness. Please note that this issue is more important to women, especially women with children. You can’t make her feel better by downplaying or hiding the issue, you need to deal with it!

The study showed, as others before it have, that women were happier when they felt household chores were shared equally. What is somewhat surprising is that men were also more likely to be happy in their marriage when they felt the housework was shared evenly.  Rates of “very happy in marriage” were 50% for both men and women in marriage where the work was not shared equally. This went up to 59% for men and 64% for women when housework was evenly shared.

The good news from this study is that there are a number of things we men can do to make our marriages better. Being more generous, seeking out those who will support our marriages, doing our share of the housework, and getting our finances in order will all result in greater marital happiness for both you and your bride, and will reduce the odds of divorce. Yes, great sex also does those things, and does it well, but if she’s not about that yet, work on the one’s a list above. As she feels better about the marriage, things may change sexually without you saying anything. Even if this does not happen, it put you in a better place to deal with the sexual side.

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