The figures clearly show that “the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate”
I thought the researchers explained the likely reason for this quite well:
But the deeper reasons for the higher divorce rate, he suggested, came from the values of “modern” couples rather than the chores they shared.
“Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage” as being less sacred, Mr Hansen said.
The researchers may or may not be aware but a similar research project was undertaken in the U.S. back in 2007 and it came up with similar findings.
The American research was an attempt to find out why women in traditional marriages were on average happier than those in more modern "egalitarian" marriages. The researchers found, just like their Norwegian counterparts, that:
women who earn a greater-than-average percentage of couple income ... and whose husbands take up a greater share of household labor report greater unhappiness.
But why? The researchers were intrigued to find that men in traditional marriages were more affectionate toward their wives (they did more "emotion work"). But the researchers dug deeper and came up with an even more interesting explanation.
It seems that there is a divide in the approach to marriage by traditionalists and moderns. The modernist view is described this way:
a growing number of Americans, influenced by the cultural logic of “expressive individualism”, act as self-interested agents who bargain over their marital roles and interests in an effort to maximize their personal fulfillment
The traditionalists take a different view:
These Americans see marriage as a sacred institution in the Durkheimian sense that the relationship is accorded extraordinary value. Hence, the marital relationship is supposed to trump the individual interests of partners, calling forth virtues such as fidelity, sacrifice and mutual support
This traditionalist understanding then leads to a more altruistic "gift giving" approach to marriage, rather than a critical "acount keeping" attitude:
In this setting, exchanges between marital partners are often conducted according to an “enchanted” cultural logic of gift exchange where spouses give one another gifts that vary in value, may or may not be reciprocated, and often have some kind of symbolic value above and beyond their immediate instrumental value
I think this explanation has merit and is worth serious consideration. There is, however, one further way to explain the research findings, which is that men who are overly domesticated fail to trigger a sexual response from their wives.
If the topic interests you, I wrote two posts on the American research:
What kind of marriage makes women the happiest?
So marriage is a bit of paper?