Let’s be clear – this isn’t just about the dirty dishes, it’s about much, much more.
I was divorced by my wife because I forget to do the dishes when it’s my turn – but it sounds really bad when I say it that way. It looks like I’m playing the victim, or worse, that my wife is just a crazy neat-freak. We don’t like to take responsibility for things we’ve done wrong.
I used to go into the kitchen and dump a bunch of dishes just inches from the sink where I could wash them up, but I never thought of it as a big deal – I still don’t. The thing is, it was a big deal to HER. The saying “cutting off your nose to spite your face” is just a perfect fit.
Respect is important to men. Having the respect of your wife is very important, and allows for a fulfilled and good life. If there’s one thing I could tell you, it’s that I would never have thought that the dishes had anything to do with earning my wife’s respect. The other day I was listening to suggestions about how best wives could manage and help their husbands, but I just think about how often my wife would say that it’s exhausting to have to tell me what to do all the time.
That’s why it’s the most flirty thing for a man to say “I got this,” to his woman, and then actually go out and handle business. My thinking was always something like: “Just tell me what to do, I’ll do it.” But my wife didn’t want to act like some kind of mother to her own husband, she wanted me to take responsibility and have an equal share in managing our relationship. I can’t even guess why that seemed so unreasonable to me back then. Men can do things for their wives.
We could easily be really good at doing the things our wives ask us to. What we can’t do, however, is read their minds. Being able to tell what my wife was thinking is a power I don’t have, and that’s an important lesson to learn.
“Why would you leave the dishes next to the sink instead of washing them up?”
Well, for reasons:
Maybe I want to use them again.
If nobody is coming over, I’m okay with them being there.
There’s no way I can ever care about dirty dishes sitting next to the sink – no way.
This is mostly beside the point, because there is only 1 reason I would start caring about the dishes next to the sink: because it matters to my partner, and she is the one I respect. I get that it makes her really upset, even physically, because it’s like someone has said to her, “You know what? I don’t care that I upset you when I do this, even though I could clearly just help you out”.
This little act of sacrifice, even those 5 seconds, are not too much for me to show my wife that I do respect her. I just have to know that those dirty dishes matter to her, and that alone should make them matter to me. Washing up those dirty dishes = caring for her. Caring about her is equal to all of those tiny things which make up our daily routine, and yes – it really is that simple.
My wife didn’t want to divorce me because I leave used dishes lying around. She wanted to divorce me because she felt like I didn’t respect her, which suggested that I didn’t love her. That’s why she chose to leave and find a better, safer space.
It’s very difficult to get a man to understand something that doesn’t make sense to him. I don’t think leaving dishes lying around is something to be upset about, so I thought my wife was wrong. It felt unfair, in a way.
But after everything was done, I saw that this situation really wasn’t about the dishes. Once I knew that it’s about love, respect, and paying attention to your wife, everything changed, forever.