Saturday, May 1, 2010

Men Who Do Housework Have Happier Marriages!

Family Matters: Dr. Linda Mintle
Feel like doing some spring cleaning? Well, rev up the vacuum cleaner. Pull out the dust cloth and get to work men. You might be surprised to learn that all that dusting and vacuuming have marital benefits. According to marital researcher, John Gottman, you will have a happier, less lonely and more involved marriage than men who don’t help around the house. Yes, you read that correctly. Men who do housework can claim a host of marital benefits.

Housewives all over America are applauding this finding. Finally, research that makes sense! Does it sound too good to be true?

Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington studied men who did housework and child care. He discovered that men who do housework are not only happier in their marriages, but also have lower heart rates, better sex lives and better health. And the men who pitched in with household chores were less stressed and physically healthier in the four years following the initial research meeting. Do I hear an “Amen” to this conclusion?

Now I wish I could stop here and let you think that housework has curative powers-- that doing housework is the key to fabulous relationships. This certainly would liberate a lot of women and encourage men to share in the exciting work of mopping floors and cleaning showers, but it isn’t housework that cures troubled marriages.

Even though doing housework was tested as a separate factor in the marital study, housework wasn’t the issue. It turns out that husbands who do housework tend to be mutual and supportive partners. And spouses who act in mutual and supportive ways have satisfying marriages with good sex lives.

So the take away from this study is this: Engage in mutual and supportive acts with your spouse. According to women, one of those mutual and supportive acts appears to be housework. Women like it when men pitch in to help. You might even say that a man who does housework puts his wife in the mood to celebrate later!

Men, the next time you see your wives struggle to keep up with all the housework, turn off that basketball game, pull out that toilet bowl cleaner, pat yourselves on the back and say, “I’ll be less lonely, less stressed and less likely to be sick if I scrub this commode.” Your wives will give you a big smile and say, “Now there’s the man I’m glad I married!”

Do you or your spouse show support and mutual respect by helping with housework?

Check out Dr. Linda Mintle’s book on marriage, I Married You, Not Your Family (Siloam Press, 2008). Also available in Spanish, Me Case Contigo, No Con Tu Familia.

~ Dr. Linda
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