This one’s for you, ladies. Apparently.
According to a new study, the key to a happy relationship, including in the boudoir, is sharing child care duties — equally.
Well who woulda thunk it.
The findings come from analysing the data from a study conducted in 2006, which surveyed more than 900 heterosexual couples in the US. Georgia State University sociologists discovered that when women were tasked with childrearing most or all of the time, both they and their partners reported lower quality relationships and sex lives. (The latter should come as no surprise – there is certainly no greater passion killer than being perpetually saturated in spit-up, poop, and the tears of a hundred tantrums.)
Interestingly, sociologist Dan Carlson says there only seems to be an impact on the relationship if the mother is the one spending a chunk of her life taking care of the kids without help. Dads, though, go on as normal if they take on the lion’s share of child care duties.
“What we find is that there’s generally little to no downside to men being largely responsible for child care. We conclude that being an engaged father is very important to men. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t see such a high level of satisfaction.”
But obviously, engagement with one’s children is important to both sexes; it can only be concluded that men (apart from being an entirely different species) are unsullied by the maternal perfection implicitly demanded by the traditional female role, and so come to day-to-day parenting with a more relaxed perspective.
Despite the research project’s revelations, however, not everyone is against a more patriarchal household set-up, and in fact, gender-based – or rather, just a stricter – division of labour can be more practical. Ultimately, relationship contentedness is about shared values and expectations, whatever they are.
“What really drives all of this is if are you satisfied with your relationship,” says Mr Carlson. “For a vast majority of people, and especially young adults, an egalitarian relationship is what they want, but that’s not to say that people who have more traditional divisions of labour will have a negative outcome.”