Are household duties ruining your relationship? The solution: Do more than your partner!

Posted on April 29 2012 by frank

Two persons move together. Love is in the air. But in addition to all the romantic cuddling on the couch, this means that from now on, they are sharing the household duties. No problem, they are a modern couple and decide to share them equally. Both hate doing them, so this way of distributing them makes sure that both individuals suffer equally under the strain of the dish pile. Fair enough.

Naturally, there is the all to human tendency to procrastinate (and perhaps the unconscious hope that the other will take care of the matter meanwhile). Given it and the fact that we tend to exaggerate our own good deeds and underestimate those of others, it will require careful balancing to really make sure that the household duties are distributed equally. Frictions in this balancing can easily flame into hot-headed arguments

Meanwhile, two other persons move together. Love is in the air. But in addition to all the romantic cuddling in the garden, this means that from now on, they are sharing the household duties. But what is special about this couple is that both of them take delight in helping the other. Both of them hate household duties, but knowing that, they also know how much they can cheer up the other by doing something extra. Psychology has shown that giving to others is one of the most robust ways to increase one’s own well-being and this couple has taken this lesson to their heart. Accordingly, they try to do their share, but when they have the energy, they even find themselves doing a bit more than that. Just to make the other happy. Balance is not so important because whether you do more or less than the other, either way you win!

So we have two couples. One of them believes in a transactional theory of human interaction: You give some, you get some. They see themselves as independent individuals. The other couple believes in a more interdependent view of human selfhood. Accordingly, their happiness resides almost as much in the other as it does in themselves.

Now, I don’t know which couple has the more realistic view of human beings. But it is not hard to predict which of the relationships is more happy.

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3 responses to “Are household duties ruining your relationship? The solution: Do more than your partner!”

  1. frank says:

    I Just ran into a newspaper article about communal living. In one of the featured houses the reporter was admiring how clean and shining everything was, despite the fact that there were eight people and one dog living under one roof. “We have thought that cleaning is not just a duty, but a way of showing love to each other”, one of the residents explained.

  2. Bua says:

    Mikko,
    All the pictures in your blog were taken by yourself? The second picture of this topic, I don’t think that they are a couple. It seems like they are a monk and a nun in Tibet.

    Are you having a problem of sharing the houshold load? hahaha just kidding. ; )

    Yeb it seems to be a common thing or just a little thing which many people do not concern before move to live with someone else. But it is a big thing for me. lol

  3. Fun thought that the couple that has divided the tasks unevenly is the happier and it doesn’t even matter which party you are in that relationship. So important is not dividing evenly but unevenly. 🙂 Probably true, and it may even be that both parties feel like they are doing more, because as you said we really exaggerate our own actions (and intelligence).

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