Every marriage is different because it involves two unique individuals. So, there is no one size fits all way to create an enduring and happy marriage.
But, there may be general rules that we can all implement to help protect our marriages. Some sociologists study the role of marriage in our society and how we manage our marriages to help us understand whether those rules exist and how to use them to our benefit.
This article explores how these sociologists run their own marriages given what they know about marriage from their academic research.
It turns out that one of the general rules they follow is to try to share the work of the marriage as much as possible. But, more specifically, they try to equally share each kind of work in the marriage. That can be juxtaposed to marriages in which there is a very clear division of labor.
The sociologists in the article point out that sharing each kind of work can lead to less resentment and hard feelings between spouses, and how that happens. While only anectdotal, I have certainly seen many cases in which spouses who had a strict division of labor really struggled to feel appreciated for their share of the work in the family, and also struggled to appreciate their spouse’s work. And over time, that lack of feeling appreciated greatly contributed to the decision to divorce in those cases. It seems that strict divisions of labor cause us to lose appreciation for how hard our spouses are working, and hyper focus on how hard we are working.
As we as a society and individuals continually strive to strengthen and protect our marriages, partnerships, and other domestic relationships, perhaps we should consider both whether and how we are equally sharing the work of these relationships.