Doing what a spouse asks

If your husband told you how to wash the dishes, would you do it his way? Would you load the dishwasher his way? If he told you how to wash the grill utensils and put them back, would you do it? If he wanted the chicken in his pasta cut diagonal rather than cubed, would you do it?

How far does one go? Where is the line? —KCT

Ok, maybe I would cut the chicken his way, but if i’m the one doing the dishes, I’ll do them my way darn it! :yup:

It kind of depends on why he is asking. And how strong I feel about it.

My husband likes the dishwasher loaded a certain way. Because according to him, the dishes end up cleaner. I really don’t care which way it is loaded, so I do it his way.

Other stuff I do my way. If he wants it done his way, for no good reason, he can do it himself.

Ask him to help. He’ll have to do it all himself when you’re in hospital delivering his child(ren). He should get some practical experience.
Doing dishes together can be a very rewarding shared time. Work on it.


I think this is all very situational. Why are you asking? With most things, one spouse or the other (or both) have their preferred ways of doing things. In general, I don’t see anything wrong with a spouse asking the other one to do something “their way.” Obviously it becomes a problem if they are nasty about it or fail to recognize that the other one can disagree, or if there are control issues, etc. So again, I would say it really depends on the situation.

In general, I agree. However, my husband feels strongly about so many things. Sometimes he tells my I’m being difficult if I disagree w/ him :confused: . —KCT

Honestly, if my hubby told me ‘how’ to do something like the dishes, I’d just hand him the sponge and say, “Go ahead, if you’re so much better at it than me, be my guest.” Dishes would then be his responsibility from that point on. Sounds like somebody being a total control freak to me. I have way too big of an independent streak to put up with that. Either let me do it how I do it or shut up and do it yourself. :shrug: But that’s just me and my big mouth.

On an important issue, yeah, I’d listen to what he has to say. But on piddly little things like you mentioned, that’s just being a control freak to me. I don’t put up with that from anyone. Needless to say, I didn’t marry a man who does that sort of thing. :wink:

When my husband starts critisizing the way I do thinks, I just simple tell him “I’m so glad you’re here to show me how to do it. Here, you load the dishes, and I’ll sit here and watch you.” That usually cures that problem for a while.

Sure we do. Both of us have some very odd ways of doing certain things that are quite illogical to the other. We do rather well of accommodating each other’s quirky little ways.

We’ve discovered that doing the odd little behaviors the other one asks for is quite endearing. I’m really picky about her car. (It’s the good one.) I want the doors closed a certain way and want to enter and exit the seat a certain way to minimize wear. I’ve got lots of goofy ways on handling the car. She has lots of oddities about the way the house is cared for. She likes the vacuum run a particular way, the groceries stowed a certain way, and so on. The point is, we both have no shortage of odd little ways. Normally, they are things that the other doesn’t feel strongly about, so there is little harm in just going along. She really feels good when I stow the gear, or do the dishes her ritualistic way and I do too when she handles the car my way. The way I see it, everybody wins.

All of those specific examples you gave…when I was married, yes I did everything exactly the way my husband wanted me to. He did have exacting ways he wanted things like the dishwasher loaded, towels folded, meat cut…and I always went out of my way to do things his way. My kids all knew to do it his way too. For example, I had to use one particular laundry basket for bringing dirty clothes to the washer and another particular basket for taking clean clothes out, otherwise they might get contaminated. When we first separated and I stopped doing everything his way, they got all bent out of shape that I was doing it wrong. Then they eventually realized a lot of these little rules were basically meaningless.

Now, pretty naturally, I am an accommodating person. If I know that somebody has a preference or wants something a certain way, well that’s the way I like to do it for them then. What I learned though is that really isn’t a good thing to be so accommodating all the time, because you end up feeding this little monster that gets so self-centered and out of control, that it ends up getting really scary. That’s not a good situation for anyone. We all need our boundaries. Your husband needs to respect that you are a human being and not an occupied territory where he has installed himself as dictator. There is a balance, and it is pretty important to find it before things get too out of control.

Sounds like OCD on the part of your ex to me.

I would have either handed him the dish sponge or the knife, and said, “I’ll be waiting for you to finish that.”

Since you said “Ex” I’m guessing you are talking to me. Yes, my counselor does say he likely has OCD as well as some other disorders.

I do suspect some OCD (his brother is OCD - door locking, rituals he can’t deviate from etc), though I have not mentioned it to him. Not looking forward to his reaction - he also over reacts to things!

I have 4 brothers and none are like dh. After we got married, I just assumed that my brothers were laid back and not particular about things. I didn’t really see dh’s behavior as out of the ordinary. Sadly, it’s taken a long time to realize and admit that it probably is. And that I have gone along with it all these years under the guise of keeping the peace. Now I realize how foolish that was. —KCT

I say that you have to “pick your battles” at this point. Does it really matter “how” the dishes get done? How the dishwasher is loaded? Does one way wash them better than the next? Does the chicken taste different when cut different?

I can understand that you mentioned OCD, but seriously.

Agree that you are doing the dishes do them your way. Is he standing over you grading you on how they are done?

I do not mean to make light of the situation as I know it is serious for you, I am just on the outside looking in and am just as guilty as the next husband for nit-picking little things.

Just my :twocents: maybe a little extra, but keep the change :thumbsup:

And here I was thinking my husband was the only one with requests like that.:rolleyes: I make his sandwich for lunch every day and he likes the meat, bacon, and cheese placed in a specific order on the bread, and yes, he does notice if I don’t do it that way.

Of course, I also have my preferred way of doing things. For the most part my husband and I compromise on how to do a task unless it’s one we feel very strongly about.

For example, he hates the way I clean the shower, so he does it himself. I hate the way he folds clothes, so I do that myself.

I am a pretty lousy cook, so he does most of the cooking. In turn, I make his sandwich the way he wants it.

If my husband wanted me to do everything his way and refused to do anything my way that would be a problem.

If my husband’s requests were regarding something I didn’t have strong feelings for either way (like if I honestly didn’t care how to load the dishwasher or how the chicken was cut), then I’d probably accommodate to his wishes…
But if I was doing the work, and I had strong feelings for how it was done (I DO like my dishwasher loaded in a particular way, actually!), then I would do it my way… and if HE were doing the work then he could do it his own way…

It all has to take into account who is actually doing the work… and how that person feels about the subject…

I would say it depends on the details of the situation.

If your husband is in any way involved in these household chores then he has some claim in the way they are done.

If, for example, your husband also loads and unloads the dishwasher then how you load it affects his helping out. If, on the other hand, the only involvement with the dishes he has is to make them dirty, then all he should care about is that they are clean when he begins using them. How they got clean shouldn’t matter to him.

I occasionally accuse my wife of wanting things “done for her, AND done her way.” Just my way of pointing out how she’s a bit of a controller. Sometimes I tolerate it, sometimes I poke fun of it, and sometimes I blow up.

If God wanted me to put up with all my wife’s quirks and faults He would give me infinite patience. As it is, I’ve come to realize that my inability to put up with her sometimes may very well be God’s way of telling her to grow up a little. Life is much better now that I quit trying to be the heroic husband.

I think it’s like some of the other posters said…If he has a reason, I concede (my husband is also one who has a specific way for doing lots of things), my husband generally has reasons behind his requests. I find I am generally overly underparticular. For example he may remind me to wash the cheese off the grater before putting it into the dishwasher (the cheese bakes on and it takes an hour to soak and scrub off). Sometimes its a preference for loading so dishes/silverware get cleaner, as I really don’t care and it takes the same amount of time either way, I do it his way. I think it’s partially a result of his upbringing (his mother is a super house cleaner, and all his sibs are just like this -->my mom was much less of a neat freak and so I consequently tended to be lax in cleaning). I remind myself that his particularness is one of the things I admire about him and what makes him so good at what he does. So, if it’s a small matter and he asks respectfully (which he always does) I do it his way for the most part. This has been good for my stubbornness, I’ve noticed, as my tendency would initially always be the opposite on principle, even if he was 100% right… :stuck_out_tongue: (and this is not something I want to pass on to my children). If the issue was a moral disagreement, or had no merit, I would do what I felt best (and he generally agrees with me when I have cause … it’s a two way street).

I think a real consideration in all of this is whether or not your husband is “normal” or does he suffer from any type of OCD or have serious control issues. Advice that might be good for a “normal” husband might not be good for one who has some serious issues. Even though all of these things I did to do things my husband’s way were small in and of themselves and should have been no big deal, the cumulative effect of having to spend so much time worrying about doing things in an exact way and worrying about his response if it wasn’t done just so, was just huge. It became completely exhausting. I can’t tell you how freeing it has been to not have to worry about following all of these “rules” for how I do everyday tasks.

I thought my DH was the only one who had a certain way he wanted the dishes done! Wow - to know I am not the only one! To the posters who think he may have OCD…think again. He’s retired military and has certain things that are important to him; i.e., dishes done a certain way, bed made a certain way, cars kept a certain way. Other than that stuff (sometimes the laundry has to be done a certain way) he is fine. And he’s never really grouchy about it - I just know he likes things a certain way so I do it that way IF I do these tasks.
I may add that he does as much housework as I do. Also, that there are some things I like done a special way and he does them like that (can’t think of anything right now but I know there’s something.)
He’s the greatest husband ever so I couldn’t care less if he’s picky on some things!:smiley:

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