Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dishwasher Debacle

Morning snuggles are so wonderful.
David has been wanting to start hand washing our dishes for a while now and he has finally gotten his wish. Our dishwasher had been sounding like it was dying a slow, miserable death for a few weeks and a couple of nights ago it finally bit the dust.

Whenever David would toss around the hand washing idea I would always say, "As long as you were the main dishwasher. I have better things I'd rather do with my time..." We don't run the dishwasher unless it's full and every now and then we'll go two days without running it. The night our dishwasher finally died was one of those nights so it was obviously full and then we had a full sink as well so we started out our hand washing journey a bit behind. We haven't had every single dish clean for a few days now and that wears on me. I take pride in a nice, clean kitchen and waking up to one is a wonderful way to start the day. Today I spent the ENTIRE morning washing dishes and they still weren't all clean. Hand washing by myself in our house, where we make every meal and snack from scratch, is no task I am interested in taking on long-term. My time is so precious and I just have better things to do than to spend an entire morning with my hands in the sink.

At the height of my frustration with it all, I texted David and expressed my distaste for what I was having to do and it got us going back and forth about how working towards sustainability and simplicity is becoming more and more of a passion for him and how he really needs my support and companionship while we move in that direction. He expressed concern for my giving up on something so easily and how that didn't bode well for our future farm plans. (He also said to leave the dishes for him to take care of tonight but I had things to do/make today that required the counter space. I have a hard time working in a cluttered kitchen).

In the moment, and in the midst of my not so great dishwashing attitude, I took offense and replied back simply, "Is that how I am with everything?" to which he replied, "Just the things that are not important to you. Obviously not the ones that are important to you: blog, cloth diapering and attachment parenting" and went on to remind me of how supportive he has been with all of those (and he is right, he has been).

At this point I decided to call him because this was a conversation that needed to be talked out. Our relationship motto: communication is the key to maintaining ANY healthy relationship. We had a conversation about our texts.

My points:
- I am not fully supportive of this yet because we aren't in it together yet. When we are on the farm we will be together but for now it falls on me and as I keep saying, I have better things to do with my precious time.
- a broken dishwasher is not a good selling point for a house on the market.
His points:
- we had just purchased this dishwasher a couple of years ago and it has already given out. We could get an estimate on a repair but we had replaced the last one because repairs cost more than a new one. This cycle was not conducive of the life style that we are trying to live (and that we are encouraging others to live as well).
-we can get a used one from Craigslist

We got off the phone and as I felt, as I do after any argument, disconnected and down. This is where you have to remove yourself and your feelings and assess the situation for what it is. What was making me act this way over something as trivial as washing dishes?? There are people all over the world who don't even have dishes to wash or worse still, water to even drink let alone wash anything with. After reflecting for a bit I texted David back and said, "It takes me longer to get comfortable with change than you (still eating brown rice bread and oats [while switching to Paleo] for example) but I usually come around. I love the idea of it all, I just need time to become comfortable with the actual changes when they are made. And that's okay. No one should be expected to make drastic changes and not feel some "inexplicable" discomfort or resistance. ". (All of the quotes above we're copy and pasted from our conversation) I'll include a screen capture of the rest of the text:

I suppose the reason that I wanted to share this is because I want everyone to know that David and I argue. We have different wants and priorities. Being married does not mean that you have to be the same person. In fact, I'm pretty sure most marriages would not work out if both people were exactly alike. Having a successful marriage is about communicating, LISTENING, reflecting, compromising, affirming and... did I mention COMMUNICATING?? It is a constant effort that needs to be put forth equally. And if one doesn't have the energy on a particular day, it is the others job to give a little leeway and refrain from adding anymore fuel to the fire.

The greatest gift you can give your child is to love your spouse and keep them as your number one. In our experience, the love we have for Ayden is a completely different kind of love than what we have for each other. When it comes to Ayden we are hard wired to love him and we couldn't stop or change that love if we tried. But what about our love for one another ? We wake up everyday and CHOOSE to love each other. When something is a choice it makes it that much more meaningful and powerful and also with that choice comes the need to nurture it and keep it growing strong over the years.

Even the most "perfect" couple will fight. Whether the fight be big or small we are human. We have emotions, hormones, weaknesses and exhaustion. What matters is how we handle the fight. Take a breather and go back and talk it out. Make it right. Apologize and mean it. Choose kindness and positivity over anything else and, just like the famous cliche tells us, "Love like there is no tomorrow" because who knows what tomorrow might bring. All I know is that we can tell that Ayden knows when we argue and he smiles when he sees us kiss. He knows that he is loved but better still, we can tell that he knows we love each other.

As for the great dishwasher debacle, I told David that I'd give the handwashing thing a week and declared that we could not take a "night off" because I would not wake up to a kitchen like that regularly. He agreed and said he'd take care of it and also that we'd find a used dishwasher on Craigslist so that we'd be selling a house with a working dishwasher. Waste not, want not; it is a compromise that shall make everyone happy. I really am excited about our farm plans. Here is the rest of our text conversation from earlier:

Making these big changes is a little scary and out of my comfort zone but also extremely thrilling. What an amazing adventure it will be! As I have said before, my life goal was to be a mother. I am living it and can continue to live it under any circumstances. I will have moments where I lose sight of what is truly important and meaningful in our lives but my David is here by my side to remind me and hold my hand the whole way.

The shirt says it all :)
What is your advice for making up and keeping your relationship strong?



  1. What a fantastic post! I would have to say so many things here make me feel better... knowing that all couples have disagreements, that working through them doesn't have to be like pulling teeth, and that communication is a relationship's best friend... Also that its ok to not enjoy tasks like washing dishes by hand :) But working together and compromise is what builds strong relationships. Thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into your very real, every day life with us!

  2. I like what you said about CHOOSING to love your partner & to nurture the relationship. I have been reading your blog for a while now and a lot of the things you write about really strike at home for myself and my family. As a stay-at-home mom who's partner travels away a lot of work, it can be very difficult at times being alone. Some days I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be home, and other days I am so angry and think that he does not understand the hard work it can be.

    That's why breaks can be nice! Totally agree with the communication part.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I think I've read that the dishwasher actually uses less water than hand washing each dish. I could be wrong. One way to save electricity while using the dishwasher is not usin the dry feature and slightly opening it at night to air dry (although I know my 8 month old would love to find an open dishwasher, haha)

  4. Sorry to reply so late but I find that completely listening to my hubbys view on whatever the issue is and take my feelings or thoughts out completely help me to focus on situation through his eyes...Love this blog...Marriage is a working progress and it is a tough but amazing gift!!!! Thanks for sharing this!!! Its nice to know that there are other marriages with hardships!!!