A Norwegian study has found that the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50% higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.
Thomas Hansen, co-author of the study entitled "Equality in the Home" said: "What we've seen is that sharing equal responsibility for work in the home doesn't necessarily contribute to contentment."
"The figures clearly show that the more a man does in the home, the higher the divorce rate."
Thomas also added: "Maybe it’s sometimes seen as a good thing to have very clear roles with lots of clarity ... where one person is not stepping on the other’s toes." "There could be less quarrels, since you can easily get into squabbles if both have the same roles and one has the feeling that the other is not pulling his or her own weight."
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. "In these modern couples, women also have a high level of education and a well-paid job, which makes them less dependent on their spouse financially."
"They can manage much easier if they divorce," he said.
Norway has a long tradition of gender equality and child rearing is shared equally between mothers and fathers in 70% of cases.
But when it comes to housework, women in Norway still account for most of it in seven out of 10 couples. The study showed that women who did most of the chores did so of their own volition and were found to be as happy those in modern couples.
Dr Frank Furedi, Sociology professor at the University of Canterbury, said: "The more you organize your relationship, the more you work out diaries and schedules, the more it becomes a business relationship than an intimate, loving spontaneous one."
"In a good relationship people simply don’t know who does what and don’t particularly care."
The survey appeared to contradict another recent one across seven countries including Britain that found that men who had a bigger share of domestic responsibilities had a better sense of well being and enjoyed a better work life balance.
The researchers expected to find that where men shouldered more of the burden, women’s happiness levels were higher. In fact they found that it was the men who were happier while their wives and girlfriends appeared to be largely unmoved.
Those men who did more housework generally reported less work-life conflict and were scored slightly higher for well being overall.
Experts suggested that, while this may be partly because they felt less guilty, the main reason could be that they had simply learnt the secret of a quiet life.