It’s not regular date nights, remembering anniversaries or even having kids that is most likely to make or break a relationship, but taking responsibility for washing the dishes. How so? According to research carried out by the Council on Contemporary Families in the US, the washing up can be a huge cause of arguments in a relationship, but heterosexual couples who take the time to clean their dishes properly typically have better sex lives.
How dirty dishes can ruin a relationship
The report from the Council on Contemporary Families looked into how households tend to split domestic chores, and how much time each half of a couple spends cleaning on average. It was found that while women still take responsibility for a greater proportion of the housework than men (14 hours compared to four hours per week on average), men are taking on more chores than ever before. Researchers also looked into how the way couples divide chores between them impacts on their relationship, and it was found that when one partner fails to wash up, leaving dirty dishes lying around, tension can build and resentments often arise.
Dr Sharon Sassler, a professor from the department of policy analysis and management at Cornell University and one of the report’s authors, explained that expecting the other partner to wash dirty crockery can be a sign of underlying inequality in a relationship. “It’s the fact that whoever leaves [dishes] in the sink expects that someone else will clean them up,” she said. “I think couples who share dishes have a better relationship quality because there isn’t as much resentment.” So, are couples who share household chores like the washing up really happier?
Can washing up improve your sex life?
The study authors identified a clear link between women who shared the washing up equally with their partners and women who enjoyed more fulfilling sex lives. While inequality over the washing up didn’t appear to affect the sexual satisfaction of male respondents, it was found to be a major bugbear among women. Resentment and arguments are more likely among couples who fail to share domestic chores equally, which the report authors note can adversely affect every area of a relationship – even in the bedroom.
Women are also more likely to compare their own domestic situation to that of their friends. If female respondents knew someone whose partner shared the chores equally whereas their own did not, their satisfaction levels were typically lower across their entire relationship. Study co-author Daniel Carlson explained: “Individuals and couples take stock of their arrangements in comparison to those around them, and those assessments of relative advantage or disadvantage come to shape their feelings about their arrangements and their relationships overall.
“This suggests that as the sharing of other tasks becomes more common, the benefits of sharing – and the costs of not sharing – increase.” Remember, if household chores are causing needless disagreements in your relationship, the team at FastKlean are always here to help, taking domestic tasks off your hands, leaving you with more quality time to spend together.