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Can Arguments About Chores Lead To Divorce?


You’re constantly nagging your husband to clean up his messes and do the dishes. Your wife never takes out the trash, instead allowing the trash can to overflow.

Many married couples fight over household chores. This is especially true when one person feels as though they are doing most (or maybe even all) of the work while the other spouse watches TV, plays video games, or hangs out with friends.

Relationships have a thing called “exchange-orientation.” What this means is that one spouse is quietly taking notes about their spouse’s ability to carry their own weight. Basically, they are keeping score. For example, they may be mentally noting that they did the dishes five times last week, while their spouse only did dishes twice.

But can household chores lead to divorce? A study by Harvard Business School says yes. In fact, household chores are considered to be a leading cause for divorce.

Keeping Score

Just because your spouse doesn’t discuss your inability to pull your own weight doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t frustrated with your chore habits. Spouses tend to keep score in the following ways.

  • Doing dishes. Fifty-seven percent of married people keep track of who is doing the dishes. This is because seeing a sink full of dishes can spark anxiety in many people. When one spouse does decide to do the dishes, they are prone to feeling some resentment, especially if the clutter was primarily caused by the other spouse.
  • Taking out the trash. Almost half of the study’s respondents kept score about who took out the trash. It can be frustrating to have to be the one to always take out the trash, especially when it’s clear that your spouse notices it but does nothing about it.
  • Cleaning the kitchen/bathroom. Kitchens take a long time to get fully clean, from the countertops to the floors to the sinks and appliances. Bathrooms are the same way, plus add nasty toilets, bathtubs, and showers, and you could spend a whole day cleaning these areas of the house. If you’re doing these chores on your own, you’re probably bitter about your spouse not chipping in.
  • Doing laundry. Bitterness over laundry duties can be found in nearly 30% of the couples surveyed. In some cases, spouses will separate clothes and avoid doing their spouse’s laundry.
  • Grocery shopping. More than one-quarter of married people keep score when it comes to grocery shopping. That’s because it is typically the same person who does all the shopping, and this task can get time-consuming.

Seek Legal Help 

Marriage should be a 50/50 partnership, so it’s not uncommon for couples to keep score and feel as though their spouse isn’t pulling their weight. This can create resentment and lead to divorce.

If you are considering divorce, Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can provide you with the representation you need to get a favorable outcome. Call 954-764-4330 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.



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