What’s the secret to a happy relationship? Do the dishes

It’s the scientific proof we’ve been waiting for – the way to your partner’s heart is through the dishwasher. 

A new report from the Council of Contemporary Families (CCF) has found women who do most of the dishes report more relationship drama, less relationship satisfaction and worse sex than women whose partners shared the task. 

Their study, which looked at a range of household tasks including shopping, laundry and cleaning, also showed women were happier about sharing dishwashing duties than any other household task. 

Despite this, men weren’t exactly putting their hands up – in 2006, just 29 per cent of couples reported that they split dishwashing duties. 

Why? 

The battle of the dishes 

Lead author Dan Carlson from the University of Utah really hit the nail on the head: “Doing dishes is gross. There is old, mouldy food sitting in the sink.” 

And unlike other chores like cooking or gardening, doing dishes well does not always result in compliments: “What is there to say? ‘Oh, the silverware is so … sparkly’?” he adds. 

But there was good news according to the researchers – dishwashing duties lend themselves well to cooperation (the old ‘you rinse, I’ll pack’). 

In short, don’t leave your spouse to scrub the dishes alone. 

Going out for a romantic dinner for two? $150. 

Packing the dishwasher together? Priceless. 

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A special thanks to our contributors

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Journalist

Journalist

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

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Ian Horswill

Journalist

Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

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Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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Jill Donaldson

Physiotherapist

Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

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Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

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Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.