If you are of a particular personality type, as I am, it makes no sense to you that someone would not put their dishes in the dishwasher as they dirty them. This is efficient. This habit keeps the kitchen clean at all times. Why can’t everyone, by everyone I mean my husband Murray, put his dishes in the dishwasher as he dirties them.
As you might guess we had many conversations about this. Murray, unusual for him, got quite testy when I asked him, sweetly and patiently, to please put his dishes in the dishwasher as he got them dirty.
I was being reasonable. He was being unreasonable. I was right. He was wrong.
This is a familiar scenario to many, but Murray and I have learned over the years that this story will not end well. I will be resentful about cleaning up his mess. He will be rebellious at being micromanaged by me. We will both be right and we will both be a little miserable and disconnected. If you get enough of these hairballs in your relationship, you are in big trouble.
Sometimes Murray gets clear first; sometimes I do. This time, I was the hero.
Let me give some context for this little battle: Murray is amazingly productive around the house. He takes out the garbage most of the time, does the recycling, takes care of the car maintenance, and does virtually all of the yard work that we don’t hire out. He is neat and tidy and clean (his office is always more orderly than mine) which is one reason it made no sense to me that he wouldn’t just put his dishes in the dishwasher.
Our Brilliant Solution
I decided I would forever put Murray’s dishes in the dishwasher as a gift of appreciation to him. Instead of muttering to myself when I cleaned up after him, I would send loving, thoughts of gratitude that I am lucky enough to be married to such a peach.
I told him what I was committing to. “Murray, I am not going to nag you about the dishes anymore. You do plenty around here, and I am going to clean up after you from now on and I will do it with love and appreciation every time. So let the dishes lie!”
As you might guess, Murray loved this solution. He does put some of his dishes in the dishwasher and he even empties the dishwasher every now and then because he does not want it to feel like a burden to me. I clean up the kitchen joyfully, often to music, and when the counter sparkles, so does our relationship.
This may seem like a small thing, but it has taken years of therapy and practice to get us to the point where both of us can appreciate the beauty of this solution.
Excerpt from http://lovinginharmony.blogspot.com/