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Can Outsourcing Housework Save Your Marriage?

Did you know that approximately 25 percent of people who are currently divorced cited “disagreements about housework” as one of the major factors in their decision to dissolve the marriage? According to a recent article in The New York Times, some married couples may be able to save their relationships if they found a way to outsource home chores that are particularly unpleasant. Indeed, “letting someone else do the work in and around the house . . . could save time and cut down on stress and arguments.”

This suggestion comes out of a working paper from researchers at Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia. Those scholars sought to explore “whether buying timesaving services could improve relationships.” What did they conclude? In short, paying to have someone else do housework might, in fact, save your marriage.

Details of the Recent Study on Outsourcing House Chores and Marital Happiness

As the article underscores, when married couples both work and are busy on the job, coming home and realizing that there is a significant amount of housework to be done can be exasperating. Whether it is cleaning, doing required maintenance, caring for children, or preparing meals, these tasks take a significant amount of time and often mean that married couples do not have spare time to enjoy extracurricular activities or other activities that increase happiness. When people do not have any leisure time after a long day at work, it can put stress on a relationship.

How did the researchers determine that outsourcing housework could be a good solution? They looked at the results of a survey that followed more than 3,000 individuals in relationships. That survey showed that those who spent more resources on timesaving services were happier with their relationships, partly because they had the chance to spend more time with their partners. The researchers emphasized that putting some money toward these timesaving services not only can give spouses more time together, but they can also give people free time for more pleasurable activities that can reduce the negative effect of certain relationship stressors.

Not Everyone Can Afford to Outsource Chores at Home

Of course, as the article highlights, not everyone can afford to outsource chores at home, or to pay for timesaving services. But even spending $100 per month, the research suggests, can have a positive impact.

To be sure, the researchers noted that it doesn’t appear as if buying time means that a couple has significant amounts of money, and as such many married couples may be able to put a modest amount of income toward these timesaving services, especially lawn maintenance or home repairs. And in fact, the researchers found that spending too much on timesaving services could have a negative effect, including feelings of guilt for putting so much work on someone else or feelings of frustration about spending so much money to pay another party to do chores.

Learn More from a Family Lawyer in Chicago

The reasons that marriages fail are many, and each situation has its own complications. If you have questions about whether divorce is right for you, an experienced Chicago family law attorneys can speak with you today. Contact Arami Law for more information about the services we provide to families in Illinois.

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