My wife and I have always shared the household chores and, because of that, have rarely had fights over who should do the cleaning. However, one exception to that has always been over who washes the dishes. It’s a chore we both hate and, even though we have a portable dishwasher, it isn’t always the most convenient thing to use.
As a result of this, the dirty dishes were something that often put a strain on our relationship as we argued over who dirtied the most or which of us had more time to do them. Fortunately, since this was something we agreed we needed to settle, we were finally able to come up with some compromises that got the dishes washed and gave us one last thing to fight about.
One of the first things we did was stop letting the dishes pile up. One of the biggest reasons we were both opposed to washing dishes is, with both of us working, they would end up piling up in the sink until we finally got a day off. And, since neither one of us wanted to spend our day off doing dishes, it would create some tension until one of us finally caved.
We still don’t do dishes daily. But, we have started making time to wash them a bit more often, even if it is just a few at a time. That way, they don’t become an all-day project.
Another thing we started doing was splitting the dishes up between us. One of the main reasons why we don’t fight about the rest of the housework is we split up the specific chores between us. For example, I’m in charge of the garbage and yard work while she’s in charge of cleaning the bathroom.
We started doing the same thing with dishes. She’s in charge of washing the plates, glasses and bowls and, in return, I wash the silverware, pots and pans. We both contribute. But, we aren’t stuck in front of the sink all day either.
The last thing we started doing was reducing the number of dishes we dirtied. No, we didn’t start using paper plates or ordering fast food every night. Instead, we found ways, as a family, to reduce the number of dishes that were being used. For example, we made sure our daughters would rinse out and re-use their cups rather than getting a new one every time they wanted a drink. And, when cooking, my wife and I will try to re-use the same pot or pan for as many things as possible. We’ll also try to combine leftovers in the same container.
They were small changes, but they made a big difference and, as a result of them, we can avoid arguments over something so petty and put more time and energy toward keeping our marriage strong.