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  • ilselarsoncoaching

Airing Our Dirty Dishes

My husband (who, for the record, is a truly fabulous human being, father, and husband) has one glaring flaw.

He does not put his dirty dishes into the dishwasher.

Instead, he fairly regularly leaves them on the kitchen counter. This is despite 14 years of being married to me - during which time I’ve lead by example (nearly always rinsing and placing MY dishes appropriately into the dishwasher), asked kindly, banged angrily around the kitchen while taking care of his dishes, and at times, yelled.

His inability to “properly” address the dishes situation befuddles me – he is a tidy person who does not like clutter, he is a willing and proactive contributor to other household tasks, and he loves me and wants me to be happy. Yet, he continues to leave his dirty dishes on the counter.

It took me quite some time to really nail down the reason that my husband’s dishes-behavior bothers me so much. And here it is – each time I see his dirty dish somewhere other than inside the dishwasher, I hear a quiet, sneaky little thought inside my brain: “He doesn’t respect me." And that thought makes me furious, defensive, sad.

The most remarkable thing about this thought is how far from the truth it is.

I know, deeply and truly, that my husband respects me. He values me. He loves me. He shows me this through his actions and he tells me this – both with words and sometimes just with a glance.

Yet this untrue thought has caused me (and him!) quite a bit of pain.

So, here’s what I’ve decided:

Dirty dish ≠ disrespect

A dirty dish on the counter is just a dirty dish on the counter. Nothing more. I get to decide what I make it mean. Dirty dish ≠ disrespect.

What thought (dishes-related or otherwise!) are you ready to leave behind?

Schedule a call with me today; I’ll help you decide what you want to make it mean.


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