How Gender Roles Impact Relationships

The interactions of our parents set an example for who handles which responsibilities in order to make the family system run smoothly, but over time, how a family looks and operates has undergone a major makeover. While gender roles have changed drastically in the past 100 years in the United States, everyone hasn’t adjusted simultaneously, which has led to a tremendous amount of frustration and resentment in marriages. Spoken or unspoken, there are usually tasks and behaviors that one partner will expect on another, simply based on whether they’re male or female. However, the everyday operations of today’s family life often involve partners of equal education and professional potential, which changes the dynamics of how a family will function and why people even engage in holy matrimony in the first place.

Women used to seek marriage for financial stability and social status, but that’s no longer the case. Women are doing better than ever before in the workforce and social realm, so no husband is needed to advance in these areas. Access to education, wealth, and social circles are greater than ever. Those of the “fairer sex” have the ability to create and make dents in spaces that were completely shut off before, which gives them more to ask for when seeking a partner. If a woman doesn’t need a man’s money or access, she probably simply wants his company, which means he better be bringing what she brings to the table and match her efforts. If that’s not happening, if a man thinks that he doesn’t have to cook and clean because his dad didn’t, and he wasn’t made to do so as a child; if he thinks his responsibility as a dad ends when walking through the door and throwing the kid in the air a few times, while the woman is working a full time job, then coming home and handling the domestic responsibilities by herself; she’ll begin to wonder why he’s even there in the first place, and subsequently will eliminate the adult stressor in her life. There are growing studies and reports showing that a couple who splits responsibilities as evenly as possible are happiest, which makes perfect sense. If everybody does their part, no one feels taken for granted.  However, the key to success when deciding household responsibilities is to have an honest discussion and focus on who is willing and most able to do the job consistently.  If neither person likes doing the dusting and vacuuming, you will have to get creative and consider living in dust or hire someone to clean the home regularly.  We often have more options available, if time is spent brainstorming creative, yet realistic options.  Each person has to be willing to let go of control and work together as a team.  You are building a life together, after all.

Let me know what you think

In your relationships how did you approach who would take care of what when it comes to duties within and outside of the home?

Did your discussions reveal anything surprising as it relates the the belief that one gender is better at some things than the other?

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