Guys, We Want You to Want to Do the Dishes

One Writer

It's all about initiative and partnership

Image by Julio César Velásquez Mejía from Pixabay

What women really want

One of the most important things women want in a relationship is to feel like their partner is just that — a partner. A team player. An equal.

Few challenges irritate couples into bickering more than housework. For some historical, ingrained, assumed, and vastly over-done reason — housework still falls in the woman’s camp of responsibility.

And I don’t mean that we do more of it — maybe we do — but what I really mean is that we are the initiators. Even if we delegate like crazy it still seems to be a checklist inside our brains just naturally. We really don’t like pestering the entire family to chip in and pick up something, wipe something down, or clean up a mess.

My significant other is no exception. I usually cook from-scratch meals every evening. As soon as he is done eating the recliner goes back and he’s on his phone chilling out within minutes.

And I want him to have all the relaxation time he needs — after all he’s worked all day. (In all fairness, so have I.)

But if he were to ask — just once — is there anything I can do to help, baby? I might actually pass out with joy. He just doesn’t even notice what is happening in the aftermath of a meal. Completely oblivious.

Must be nice! (FYI — he’s practically perfect in every other way — but completely blind to housework.)

It is that we want the initiative.

It is the caring movements in the direction of a clean and orderly home that we want to see. We want you to want to pitch in. We don’t want to tell anyone to wash the dishes after dinner. Jump in. Offer to help. Trust me.We want the team to work. All players pitching in — and high-fives are encouraged.

Take the initiative!

Initiative is the missing ingredient. It says you care. It says we are equals here. It says we are in this together. It says I love you.

Of all of the ways you have thought of communicating with your partner today — sometimes the best way to do it is to just pick up a pair of dirty socks and put them in the hamper. It really is the little things sometimes (and the little things are huge if we feel like we have to ask people to do them.)

Here's how you can even the scales in your home and impress your partner

A home should be comfortable and reasonably clean. It does not get that way all by itself. Someone must clean the floors and scrub the toilets. Are you using those things in your home? Then you should be helping to clean and maintain those things. If you work outside the home and your partner does not, it is fair to expect they will do a larger portion of the housework and cleaning, but not at all fair to expect them to do everything alone or complain when they don't.

Here are some things you can do to be a more fair and helpful partner with regards to home maintenance and cleaning.

Ask how you can help

The simplest way to show that you care about your partner and your home is to ask them how you can be more helpful. Some things they may rather do themselves while other tasks they'd rather have your help. Talk about each of the household chores and discuss with your partner your combined expectations. Then, meet in the middle. Decide who will do what and when, then stick to it. Cleaning home can actually be a wonderful way to bond and have a little fun. Once you take out the complaining, the miscommunication, and the underlying frustration that can develop between partners, and get on with the business of getting things done--you may find your relationship strengthening in the process.

Turn on a little music and make it a fun time in your home. If your partner is just "over it" having been home all week, offer to give them some personal time while you do a few things around the house. It's a great way to say "I love you."

Pick up your own mess

Nothing irritates a partner more than having to pick up your mess like you are a child. Really, nothing.

Pick up your own laundry. Clean your hairs out of the sink. When an area is nice and clean, don't go plop your things right down in the middle of it or create a big mess. Yes, it is your home, but it is a respectful and kind thing to be a good housemate for those who live with you. This goes for all the family members, of course.

Pitch in at meals

Expectations matter also when it comes to meals. Who does meal prep? Who cooks? Who cleans up after meals? Who does the grocery shopping? If all of this falls on one partner, it's best to make sure those expectations are shared and agreed upon. You may not realize the underlying resentment that can develop when one person is expected to do all these things and the other never offers to help.

Discuss your expectations with your partner. Again, meet in the middle and compromise. This should be a respectful conversation where two adults decide who does what and then makes a plan to get it all done. Where your partner expresses a need, offer your help to meet that need. Perhaps you can handle cooking one night a week or do the dishes after dinner to let your partner get a break. Maybe you both find it's a lot more fun to do it together (not to mention quicker, freeing up time for other things).

Mealtime can be busy and hectic. Ask how you can help. Even if all you do is peel the carrots and put a fresh bag in the trash can; you are there, you are noticing, you are willing to help.

Let your partner know you want to share the load

When you approach your partner and let them know you care about your home, about them, and you want to do your share, it really makes them feel like you value them and their time. Let them know you are there for them on all the little things.

Learn how to do things properly

I do not mean this condescending in any way--but if you do not have a clue how to iron, start the washer, or mop the floor (with the right cleaner!), then by all means, ask! There are certain cleaners or cleaning rags to use depending on what surfaces you are cleaning. Do the best you can but don't hesitate to say--I am not really sure how to do that, can you show me how you do it?

Your partner will certainly be willing to show you. How the cleaning is done IS important, to some people more than others. Perhaps you don't see eye to eye on how a certain task is to be done. Work towards compromise.

Thank your partner

Cleaning home is a job for every single person who lives in the home, regardless of work hours, how much money a partner contributes to the finances, or what sex the persons are. If you live in the home, you should be helping. If the housework needs to fall more on one person than the other for reasons you've both discussed, thank your partner for the work they do in your home. Thank them for the little (and big) things they do to keep your home efficient, clean, and comfortable for all. Just, thank them. It shows you are paying attention and that you care.

Above all, make things fair and treat each other with respect. And, for the love of all things holy, pick up your own dirty socks.

Thanks for reading. What little tasks around the home do YOU hate doing? In what ways do you try to help out? How do you wish your partner would help more? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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