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I Love Me Some You, Original

I Want You To Want To Do The Dishes

I’m just going to start this by saying that I have never seen the movie “The Breakup”.  From what I have heard it is a hilarious movie starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Anniston.  What little I know about the movie can be summed up in the movie quote that I’m using as a title.  I’ve seen the scene on YouTube but I don’t know the whole context, so those of you who have seen it would know better than me.  The scene is essentially a couple in their home after dinner.  She comes into the livingroom after having prepared dinner for a dinner party at their house.  I would have to assume that all the guests have finally left and he takes the opportunity to sit on the couch and play a video game.  She is visibly upset and asks him to do the dishes with her.  He says he’s exhausted (though he continues his game) and “will get to it later”.  She’s still mad.  He relents and comes with her to “do the damn dishes.”  She tells him that’s not what she wants. What she really wants is (see title above).  He responds “why would I want to do dishes?”

“Why Would I Want To Do The Dishes” video clip

As I’m sure you can imagine this probably goes on for some time.  Now there is plenty of movie before then and plenty of movie after then but this statement, right here, is essentially the core of a romantic relationship.  If you have made it to the point of having an intimate relationship, this is the essence of what will keep romance in your relationship or kick it to the curb.  There are just two things missing in this sentence to make this statement true and clear.  Take the title phrase and add the words “for me” at the end.

Guys, contrary to what you may be thinking and what Vaughn’s character expressed, she wasn’t “acting crazy”.  She was expressing a deep belief, albeit an incomplete one, that nearly all people share.  The test and sign of someone really loving you is not that they do the things they enjoy for you, but that they will do the things they hate to do for you.  If you hate doing dishes, doing dishes “for your lover” is a sign of love for them.  If you hate going to the mall, carrying her purse “for her” outside of changing rooms in multiple stores is a way of showing your love.  If you dislike doing pretty much anything, doing it…”for the person you love”…is a sign of love.  If you do it when asked…good lovin’.  If you do it before they have to ask you…me love you long time!

Now ladies, don’t think I forgot about you.  As bad as guys are about “being considerate”, which we usually refer to as taking one for the team, you can be every bit as bad.  There is a pervasive school of thought around women in the Western world that says “Taking care of the household is women’s work.  We live in a society of liberated women.  So, if I’m liberated from being required to take care of the household but I take care of the household anyway, I’m doing you a favor and you better appreciate it.”  Please understand, I’m not saying that I agree with any part of this train of thought.  In fact, I disagree with all of it.  Taking care of the household belongs to both people in a relationship or neither one.  If you find yourself in a relationship with someone and you’re constantly picking up after them, cleaning up after them, and reminding them where their stuff “should” go…you’re not doing anyone any favors but yourself.  You are making the world right for you, not for him.  If he doesn’t take an active interest in cleaning, it’s just not important to him and your doing it doesn’t make it any more important to him.

The central piece to the “I Want You To Want To” clause is “for me”.  If you don’t value the “for me” above all other aspects, chances are that you missed the point entirely.  If you clean “for a person who” clearly doesn’t value cleanliness, your efforts will be unappreciated.  If you clean “for yourself”, then there is value and appreciation for your efforts.  If you change the oil in the car “for a person who” couldn’t care less about keeping their car well maintained, your efforts will be unappreciated. You don’t get to count something you are ultimately doing for yourself as a gift/benefit/favor to someone else.  It doesn’t work that way.  Any effort you make “for a person who” doesn’t care about the end result will go unappreciated, as well it should be.  That sounds harsh, but let me give you an example to show you what I mean.

 Interest:

  • If you bake cookies “for a person who” enjoys cookies, it will generally be appreciated.
  • If you bake cookies “for a person who” you know does not enjoy cookies, your efforts won’t be appreciated.

Interest + Context:

  • If you bake cookies “for a person who” is very hungry and likes cookies, your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
  • If you bake cookies “for a person who” is very full and you know doesn’t enjoy cookies, your efforts won’t be appreciated and your motivation and/or your attention will be called into question.
  • If you bake cookies simply because you enjoy baking, like cookies and you really don’t care whether anyone else likes it, well sometimes a cookie is its own reward.

With regard to interest and context, if you have both from “the person who” you are doing something for, it will be appreciated.  If you don’t, it won’t.  If you clearly don’t have interest or context on their part for whatever you are doing then I would advise you do one of two things:

  1. Seriously ask yourself who you are doing this for and make sure THAT PERSON appreciates what you do.
  2. Stop doing it!

The three special steps to kindling and re-kindling active romance:

  1. Find out what your partner wants you to want to do (that they know you don’t want to do).
  2. Let your partner know what you want them to want to do (that you know they don’t want to do).
  3. (Both of you) Do it again & again when there is interest and proper context.

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About carpebootium

I am a modern-day pirate. I travel the world and trade in today's currency, information. I sail through opportunity, comedy, history and strategy to turn turbulent into tournament, chaotic into cathartic, and embarrassing into emboldening. There are none who should fear me save two: Those who have what I want and those who get in my way. Are you done sailing your calm waters with strong undertow? Have you your fill of empty treasure and oasis destinations? Well good...come and join my crew! We're a lively lot from all over the world but be forewarned...anyone attempting to drop anchor will be thrown overboard, shot, harpooned and then marooned on an isle of cannibals. We move on! If you are ready...welcome aboard the Carpe Bootium!

Discussion

7 thoughts on “I Want You To Want To Do The Dishes

  1. Good article. Thank you. I’ll be forwarding it to appreciative parties.
    Please note: it’s “couldn’t care less” as in could not care any less than one does.

    Posted by Kit | March 23, 2013, 5:49 AM
  2. Be present doing the dishes and you may find joy in it 😀

    Posted by Bradley | June 22, 2013, 11:10 PM
    • I have no doubt about the wisdom of your comment, but it is damned hard to be present in the midst of a task you despise doing. THIS is where the paradigm shift has to happen. It’s the prejudice against “helpful tasks” that will pull a person away from being present and taking in all that they could experience.

      Posted by carpebootium | June 23, 2013, 2:01 AM
  3. I like reading comments, and I found the link to this post on the TED site, the Esther Perel talk. Really liked her talk (and it applies to my relationship).. And your post is also very interesting.
    I’m finding out more and more that I’ve been SO focused my partner (which can be very, very annoying I found out recently..), that I totally lost track of my own wants and needs (being depressed doesn’t help either).. But what you write here, makes perfect sense, and are questions I can ask myself, and my partner. Thanks 🙂

    Posted by Tash | January 28, 2014, 12:20 PM
    • Thank you for your comment Tash. Yeah, I went through a lot of that myself in my own marriage. It can be brutal (to you) to get completely lost in another person at the expense of yourself. I wish you and your relationship well. Feel free to join the crew and take the rest of the journey with us.

      Posted by carpebootium | January 28, 2014, 1:10 PM

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