Friday, 9 July 2010

Marriage - What Does Adam Smith Have to Do With It?

Adam Smith was born in June of 1723 and no I wasn’t present at his baptism. He was a Scottish moral philosopher and pioneer of political economics. More specifically he believed that “growth” was rooted in the increasing division of labor. The idea relates primarily to the specialization of the labor force, essentially the breaking down of large jobs into many tiny components.


Hello – this is a marriage blog not a political science class. Right – so here’s the connection, a recent study indicates that one of the greatest stressors on today’s marriages is the perception that “household responsibilities are not managed fairly.”

Managing a household is a “large job”. By breaking the household chores down into many tiny components and each person doing what they do best and/or are able to do the couple will experience emotional growth.

This does not mean that the chores are necessarily divided in half. It has to do with a perception that each partner is pulling his or her own weight. It does not mean that gender or stereotypical roles should determine who does what. On a previous blog I have described how incredibly inept I am when it comes to fixing things. Kathleen, that would be my wife, is unbelievably clever and handy. I on the other hand am really good at doing dishes. She does not like to make phone calls, I’m happy to do so.  She can pay the bills but would prefer that I do it. I can cook but she is a gourmet extraordinaire. Neither of us likes to wash windows so we don’t, at least not very often.


The study conducted by Dr. Orbuch, concluded that “fairness, equity and respect are essential for marital happiness.” This is a topic you and your spouse need to talk about. Some spouses try to do it all rather than get into a hassle. Some spouses are very particular about the way things are done and would rather do it all and do it their way. This is a time to be honest with yourself and your spouse. As you look at the division of labor in your house would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied of dissatisfied. Have this conversation with your spouse.

To those of you who think roles are gender specific I would say GET OVER IT! For those of you perfectionists who think the world would come to an end if a fork happened to turn up with the knives I would say GET OVER IT! For those of you who would rather do it all than create a hassle I would say that you are running a serious risk of becoming resentful which will manifest itself in your ability to be intimate.

What do you say?

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