While “desertion” may indeed be one of four “fault” grounds for divorce recognized by the Family Court here in the Palmetto State, “desertion of household chores” is not.
Nevertheless, a new study conducted in Norway entitled “Equality in the Home” has apparently found a correlation between the rate of divorce and the extent to which a couple shares housework — finding that marriages in which the wife does the vast majority of housework tend to last longer than those marriages in which the couple’s attempt to find a balance.
Hey, don’t get angry at me — I didn’t conduct the study!
From a September 27, 2012 piece in Britain’s Daily Telegraph:
Dr Frank Furedi, Sociology professor at the University of Canterbury, said the study made sense as chore sharing took place more among couples from middle class professional backgrounds, where divorce rates are known to be high.
“These people are extremely sensitive to making sure everything is formal, laid out and contractual. That does make for a fairly fraught relationship,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“The more you organise your relationship, the more you work out diaries and schedules, the more it becomes a business relationship than an intimate, loving spontaneous one.
“That tends to encourage a conflict of interest rather than finding harmonious resolutions.” He said while the survey applied to Norway, he was confident the results would be the same in the UK.
Frankly, it sounds like hogwash to me. Or, as the Brits like to say, bollocks.
I am a divorce attorney. As such, I have the opportunity to help people achieve stability and stand up for their rights as they manage the process of moving on to the next chapter in their lives. In that role, I also have the chance to see what has contributed to marital discord and what has not. While neglect of the “honey-do” list has come up from time to time as ancillary issues in the dissolution of a marriage, I have yet to see that reason as the lynchpin for marital demise.
And I certainly haven’t seen someone come into my office and say, “Jeff, we’re getting a divorce because … well … he *sniff* insists upon taking out the *sniff* garbage every night and makes the bed every morning!”
As I said — hogwash.
While I may have witnessed a number of marriages stumble and others flourish, and while that may provide me with some insight as to what makes a good marriage, there is no single solution. I’ll tell you, however, what does not work … going home and saying, “honey, b-but the Norwegians say that there’s a greater chance we’ll divorce if I do the dishes,” probably isn’t the best idea.