ARE DISHES GETTING IN THE WAY OF YOUR MARRIAGE?
The Marriage and Family Clinic
One common complaint we hear a lot goes something like this: “If he’d just do the dishes once in a while” (Yes, it’s usually the wife saying this about the husband). And the phrase is usually followed by a number of other phrases. Like “If he’d just do the dishes once in a while maybe I wouldn’t be so tired and would be in the mood for sex more” or “If he’d just do the dishes once in a while maybe I’d feel more like a wife and less like a maid.”
While the dishes are an important thing, it’s unfortunate that so many couples fight about it. It’s unfortunate because your marriage is a lot more important than dishes. And ultimately, dishes aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things.
Is it Really about the Dishes?
When couples are arguing about dishes, there’s usually a pretty simple solution: simply sit down together and talk to each other about who has what responsibilities around the house. Divide up the responsibilities in ways that seem fair and require equal amounts of time. Most spouses recognize that they have to be responsible for certain things around the house and they’re willing to put in their time and effort to get them done.
Most of the time, though, when a partner comes in complaining that their spouse doesn’t do the dishes there’s usually something more going on than just the dishes. Usually, the dishes are just one example of a more significant pattern of behavior, and the partner doing the dishes is feeling slighted.
For example, doing the dishes could be an example of one partner feeling like the relationship is lopsided and they have to take on the bulk of the housework. Or the partner doing the dishes isn’t feeling a connection from their partner so doing the dishes makes them feel more like a maid than a spouse.
In these cases, it’s important to recognize if it really is about the dishes or if it’s about something deeper. Ask yourself why the dishes are so important to you. If it’s about the dishes talk about it and come up with a way to divide the labor so it seems fairer. If it’s really not about the dishes, though, then stop arguing about the dishes! Talk instead about the bigger problem.
People rarely divorce because of dishes. But they do divorce because of deeper problems in their marriage.
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Helping others has a dual benefit. Not only does it provide support to those on the receiving end, it makes you, the helper, feel better too. Everyone loves help when they don’t have to ask. Step up and help your spouse with something this week!
This week: It isn’t about the dishes, or maybe it is…..Find something that you can help your partner with. It can be helping them with one of their chores, getting coffee in the morning, or packing a lunch to take to work. And if you feel like you need help, don’t be afraid to ask!