Home Habits that Lead to Higher Divorce Rates

Shannon Quinn - April 29, 2021
Female breadwinners tend to do more chores than you would expect. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Struggle Over Who ‘Wears the Pants’ in the House

Most people would assume that if the wife makes more money and is the main breadwinner of the household, her husband might step up and do more chores. But you’re wrong. Studies have shown that the more money a woman makes, the less her husband is willing to help with around the house. Sounds insanely sexist, right? Well, this goes back to the masculinity issue again. I personally have a few female friends who were the main breadwinners of their household, and they went through this exact same thing. Rather than seeming “manly”, their ex’s came off as being incredibly self-entitled and lazy. Not surprisingly, they split up.

When a man’s wife makes more money than he does, he often feels emasculated. Most men are raised to believe that they should be the providers. This isn’t entirely their fault. It’s even in our DNA going back to the days of hunter-gatherers. So by doing traditionally “female” chores, they feel even more emasculated. Some women will begin to hold themselves back from their career goals in order to maintain a happy marriage.

Many men are totally oblivious to sexism in their marriage. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Never Noticing, or Outright Denying Inequality in Your Marriage

In 2020, when the world was on lockdown, a married man in Japan flew his drone throughout his house. He posted the video online, mocking the fact that their house was messy. When his wife saw it, she rebutted by writing a list of over 200 household duties she was responsible for, and her husband only had 21. Since she was homeschooling their children during lockdown, she didn’t have as much time to clean the house as she once did. And all her husband could do was play with his toy, like a child, and complain to the world about the messy house he could have cleaned himself. 

We live in a society who claims to be so “woke” about gender equality. But that doesn’t mean sexism no longer exists. It’s so ingrained in our day-to-day that many men never even notice. And in a world where both parents and at home all day, how is this fair? A lot of men I have spoken to will try to deny that sexism still exists in 2021. These same people are likely to have said that racism was gone, too. But it’s because they are not experiencing it first-hand. Sometimes, men can be shown just how uneven their situation is at home, and it forces them to change. But if not, it’s likely to lead to divorce.

One person may have much higher cleaning standards than the other. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Disagreeing on Cleanliness Standards

For some couples, a big issue can be their standard of what constitutes “clean”. For example, maybe you sprayed and wiped down the shower, so you think it means it’s clean. But then your spouse comes in and says that “clean” only happens if you use a toothbrush to scrub the grout for an hour straight. When a couple is not on the same page about this, they can often make inflammatory and unfair statements like, “You never clean.” In reality, the other person might have the perception that they are always cleaning. The standards are just totally different. If you don’t both get on the same page of what constitutes “clean enough”, it’s going to be a huge problem. 

One of the most famous examples that sticks out in my mind is from the reality show “John and Kate Plus 8”. There is an episode when John tries to hire a maid to help clean up around the house. This was supposed to lighten the workload for Kate, since she was busy and incredibly stressed out from raising their 8 kids. However, Kate’s standards of cleaning were so high, she ended up cleaning even after the maid had left. She pulled back the heavy furniture, pointing at the dust bunnies the maid neglected to vacuum. Kate promptly fired the maid for not being good enough. This was just one of the many issues they had in their marriage, and they ended up getting a divorce.

It’s important to maintain a level of self-care in a relationship. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Never Making Time For Self-Care

Some people have this misconception that “true love” means that you should be happy around your partner 24/7. Or, if you’re trying to achieve great success, you may need to work 100 hours a week, barely sleep, and never do the things you enjoy. Both of these mindsets are problematic. It’s totally necessary for you to have a work-life balance. If you don’t make time for self-care, it can seriously hurt your relationship.

Remember that even in a marriage, you are still two individual people. Both of you are going to need time alone, friendships, a relationship with your respective families, and so on. And if you have a spouse who doesn’t respect your need for self-care, it could potentially lead to divorce. If or when you two split up, self-care is more important than ever. Even if you have children to look after, don’t forget to love and care for yourself, too.

It’s okay if the bed doesn’t get made 365 days a year. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Caring Too Much About the House Being Perfect

So far on this list, we have talked a lot about how bad cleanliness habits can lead to divorce. However, this can sometimes go too far. If you forget to make the bed one morning, is that really going to hurt anything? Sometimes, we are so busy rushing to work, or swamped with deadlines that we can’t get to cleaning right away. That doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. For example, I am constantly told by my roommates that I am the cleanest and most organized person in my house. And yet I still allow papers to pile up on my desk sometimes for a week straight before I get to cleaning it. This weakness doesn’t negate the other 90% of my cleanliness.

If you’re married to someone, you should know by now how messy or clean your partner actually is. So it should really only be a problem if this is something that happens over, and over again. If you start to nag someone the one time they are less-than-perfect, that can be completely unnerving. When you pick on someone for their occasional weakness, it can feel like an attack. And if someone can’t relax in their own home, it’s very problematic.

Is it really appropriate to split things up 50-50 all the time? Credit: Shutterstock

6. Dividing Everything into “His” and “Hers”

When you get married, you’re supposed to share everything 50/50. This includes your assets, but it should also mean splitting household essentials like food. So if you’re bad at sharing, this can be a huge problem that leads to resentment. On one hand, you shouldn’t give up who you are as an individual. It’s totally healthy for you to keep some boundaries intact. However, the whole point of getting married is to come together. Otherwise, why legally get married at all?

If your partner is never willing to share things with you, this is a red flag that the relationship might lead to divorce at some point. I’ll never forget a famous scene in The Joy Luck Club where a married couple both worked, and maintained their independence. They also agreed to split everything 50-50, and buy the things they want for themselves. If the wife ate some of her husband’s ice cream, she was expected to pay him the money back for the amount she ate. Eventually, it dawned on her that this was toxic. In a loving relationship, you give and take equally without keeping tabs.

Some people have been unnecessarily hoarding household goods. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Hoarding

Most people have seen the TV series “Hoarders” at least once. Unfortunately, hoarding is a serious mental health issue that is going on in the United States and other parts of the world. Millions of people have hoarding disorder, and it’s really difficult to fix without therapy and support from your family. When they’re young, this could manifest as simply enjoying collecting things. But as time goes on, it can get worse and worse.

Hoarding isn’t just about being messy, either. This has led to people getting evicted from their homes, or losing their house. Having this happen can make your life a nightmare. Hoarding puts a very heavy burden on your family. When your mental illness hurts others around you, it only makes sense that it could lead to divorce. Here at Home Addict, we’ve collected some of the most disturbing hoarding stories.

Smoking can really take a toll on your family’s health. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Smoking Cigarettes

According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, adults who smoke cigarettes have a 53% higher chance of getting a divorce compared to people who don’t smoke. When you think about this, it actually makes a lot of sense. If one of the partners doesn’t smoke, they’re going to be more sensitive to the smell. Smoking also leaves behind cigarette butts, ashes, and can increase the risk of a fire at home. What was once a harmless habit now becomes a huge issue once you’re living with a smoker.

When you have kids, this also becomes a game-changer. For example, both of my parents were smokers when they first got married. Then, when my younger brother was born, he was diagnosed with childhood asthma at age two. The doctors told them that it was most likely due to breathing in cigarette smoke. So both of my parents agreed to quit smoking at the same time. For them, it was a no-brainer. Their son’s health came first. A similar thing happened to my friend, who developed health conditions because of her mother’s smoking habit. Even though she knew that she caused her daughter’s health issues, the mom refused to quit smoking. Her parents ended up getting a divorce. While smoking wasn’t the only cause, it really does make you question how you can stay married to someone who is so selfish.

When you have kids, it can be really difficult to maintain romance in your marriage. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Too Much Time With The Kids, and Not Enough Together

There are a lot of well-meaning parents out there who essentially put their marriage on the back burner in order to take care of their kids. Not only does this add a lot of stress to a relationship, but it also kills the romance in your life. Remember that you still need to nurture your romantic partner. 

When you’re new parents, it’s really hard to find any time for yourselves. But it’s still important to have your date night. Ask friends and family to help babysit for you. Chip and Joanna Gaines are one of the busiest couples in the world, and yet they still have a weekly date night. They are constantly working on their marriage, even though they continue to have more and more kids.

When one person never does the dishes, it’s incredibly frustrating. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Not Doing the Dishes

There is an amazing article called “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By the Sink” by Matthew Fray. He talks about how he used to leave his mess behind for his wife to clean up. While he was married, he felt like his wife was unreasonable. He felt like she was trying to force him to care about a clean house as much as she did. But it wasn’t until after their divorce that he realized his behavior was a blatant lack of respect towards her. “She didn’t want to be my mother. My wife wanted to be my partner, and she wanted me to apply all of my intelligence and learning capabilities to the logistics of managing our lives and household.”

If you’re having arguments in your marriage over household duties, I highly recommend reading that article. Matt goes over both his mindset, as well as his wife’s mindset. Arguments often occur when we don’t understand the other person’s perspective. Oftentimes, it’s not even about the dishes. It’s about a perception of disrespect and a lack of love. “The wife doesn’t want to divorce her husband because he leaves used drinking glasses by the sink. She wants to divorce him because she feels like he doesn’t respect or appreciate her, which suggests he doesn’t love her, and she can’t count on him to be her lifelong partner.”

People are more concerned with respect than housework. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Most Fights Over Housework Isn’t Really About the Housework

Last and certainly not least is that most these household habits and fights that lead to divorce are not actually about the cleaning itself. It’s about the power struggle, and lack of respect in the marriage. In the end, a man who loves a woman will swallow his pride and masculinity if it means doing something for the one he loves. Just look at the fathers who will agree to sit down to their daughter’s tea party. Do you think they enjoy doing that girly stuff? Not really. But their daughter does. And that’s all that matters. So why can’t you show that same love and respect to your partner?

If one partner can’t relate to the emotions of the other, it’s really difficult for them to get on the same page. When one person thinks the other is irrational for wanting something clean, it’s a problem. And when one person feels disrespected by the other for making a mess, it’s a problem. At the end of the day, it’s really about so much more than house work. When your partner brings up a problem, don’t automatically brush it off as nit-picking. Really listen to them, and consider going to counseling if you want to save your marriage.