Reports The Wall Street Journal's The Juggle:
Working moms tend to be happier with their marriages when they are shouldering heavy workloads on the job, says a four-year study of 169 couples published recently in the Journal of Family Psychology.
One reason, suggest researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and the University of California, Los Angeles, is that the husbands of busy career gals tend to contribute more to the housework. And the WSJ adds this interesting corollary: "Other studies also have shown that husbands who do more housework tend to have sex more often with their wives."
More household help for her, more sex for him, and everyone is happy. What's there not to like?
What's fascinating, though, is that having a husband who works like a dog doesn't help the marriage. "When dads’ on-the-job workloads rise, both they and their wives tend to become less satisfied with their marriages," reports the WSJ.
The Utrecht report doesn't discuss why a husband's demanding career should create tensions, says the WSJ, but we can guess: A busy hubby means the working wife has to bear most of the responsibilities at home, which means she's angry and exhausted. Which means she's not interested in sex. Which means no one is happy. Perfectly logical.
Moreover, it might not help family relations that it's the woman who usually has to give up her career when both spouses have demanding jobs. That's the finding of a Cornell study about dual career couples by doctoral candidate Younjoo Cha. Reports Science Daily about the Cornell study:
The odds of quitting increase by 51 percent for professional women whose husbands work 60 hours or more per week, and for professional mothers the odds they will quit their jobs jumps 112 percent.
The typical resolution, says Cha in Science Daily, is to "prioritize husbands' careers." The result, Cha adds, is that a hardworking husband "significantly increases a woman's likelihood of quitting, while having a wife who works long hours does not affect a man's likelihood of quitting."
I don't know how you interpret all this research, but let me take a stab: Keep mom on the job, and get dad a fresh apron.
Related post: Meet the Househubby.
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