What exactly does doing the dishes entail? Do you wash and dry? Do you wash and let them air dry? Do you use the dishwasher or just hand wash because you’re washing anyway? Do you throw everything in the dishwasher no matter what it is? Do you fill the sink or a bowl with warm soapy water first? Or do you just let the tap run? Do you only wash what’s within reach? Do the counters also get wiped down or is that not considered a dish?
Ryan and I each have different answers to most of these questions and especially for me it depends on my energy and what else I have to get done. Don’t go trying to figure out who does what. I’m not going to openly admit all of our dish washing offenses. Who wastes the most water, who would rather pile the dishes like the leaning tower of Pisa before drying them or who cleans the entire kitchen but forgets the one pot on the back of the stove. If you really want to know come over for dinner one night but I can almost guarantee you that when people are over the dishes will be left for the next day.
In an ideal world we would always have time after a meal to do dishes together. Our countertops would be high enough that scrubbing dishes wouldn’t cause back pain. We would never wake up in the morning to the sink full and the counters messy. And there would be something called a dish fairy to make sure no dish ever got left with food residue or soap film. Needless to say, we don’t live in an ideal world.
But despite not being ideal, one of my favorite times to talk to Ryan and catch up is at the kitchen sink. Usually he ends up washing and I end up drying and putting away. He’s not quite tall enough to do dishes while on his knees (he’s tried) so I watch as he stands at the sink and his legs get wider and wider apart. Like a giraffe trying to pick something up off the ground, Ryan tries to get closer to the sink and more comfortable. (Seriously, watch a giraffe bend over sometime, it’s the same technique). Anyway, despite the physical challenges, doing dishes side by side is an opportunity to reconnect while being productive.
However, this isn’t the norm. I often do the dishes while he’s headed off to work for the evening. Or I hear the water running and the dishes start to clink as I’m working in the office later. Ryan often dries the dishes that come out of the dishwasher still wet because he knows I don’t like that job. And if i’m doing a lot of cooking during the day, I try to clean up as I go so the pile is the evening isn’t overwhelming.
Doing dishes isn’t glamorous but it’s just one of the ways that we serve each other. A friend of ours told us that she and her husband ‘help’ each other do dishes by wrapping their arms around the person washing. Ryan and I sometimes do this too. It may not get the dishes done any faster and in reality it probably makes the task take longer but it helps us connect and that’s more important.
And that’s how Ryan and I do dishes married:-)