When I grew up, fathers were employed out of the home, and mothers tended to the household. If both parents work, for instance, it is more often the mother who takes off time to bring a sick child to the doctor—unless the father’s schedule is much more flexible.That meant not only housekeeping but taking primary responsibility for child upbringing. Most women—although not all—do the cooking and cleaning. Men are likely to assemble the furniture, women are likely to find themselves with the task of cleaning it.Wives are more likely to initiate discussions about planned vacations.All sorts of little tasks fall to one or another of a couple almost by chance and habit.Sometimes the male is charged with taking care of the eggs, for instance. My reading of current expectations in marriage is that men still fix things and take care of the automobiles.
The person who thinks something—a vacation, a new bathroom—is necessary always thinks what is being considered is necessary, and the other always thinks it is unaffordable. Religious matters: It used to be in some places that women took the religion of their future husbands.
Most married couples develop a shared understanding of who does what in their relationship.
It is a sometimes unspoken recognition of an inevitable division of labor and responsibilities.
The current, commonly agreed, “politically correct” plan for marriage is an equal sharing of chores and other duties; but this plan is not followed now any more than it has been throughout history.
In fact, in much of the animal kingdom there is a division of labor which grows inescapably out of different biological imperatives—although here and there in the animal kingdom there are surprising instances of role reversal.