Of Course It Was About More Than Dirty Dishes

Comments 233
But that ain't the truth. The truth is, you are the ignorant. And I am the tyranny of shitty husbands. But I'm trying real hard, guys. I'm trying real hard to be the shepard. (Image/Miramax)
But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is, you are the ignorant. And I am the tyranny of shitty husbands. But I’m trying real hard, guys. I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd. (Image/Miramax)

I thought it was obvious that my wife didn’t—literally—want a divorce because of some dishes left by the sink.

I assumed no adult could possibly believe that. I was wrong.

Because many people gave the post the TL;DR treatment, or I did a lousy job of writing it, or they lacked the intellectual capacity to understand it, or never bothered to ask themselves the right questions because life is more comfortable when we’re secure in our personal beliefs, a frightening amount of people missed the point entirely.

My post “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink” spent time as one of the most popular things on the internet over the weekend. As of this writing, it has been read more than 2.3 million times.

For context, my previous most popular post had been read about 100,000 times. Over the course of 2 ½ years.

As a writer, you’re like Cool! People are validating my work! But then the comments start rolling in.

“Be a man. Pussy.”

“Your wife was a nagging shrew and you’re better off without her if she would leave you over something petty like a glass by the sink.”

“You’re STILL missing the point if you think she left you because of dishes!”

“You’re a sackless fag.”

“You’re sexist because you wrote that ‘Men are capable of things’ as if women couldn’t do those things, too!”

“You’re sexist because you write about how horrible men are, but never talk about how women can be the problem too!”

My personal favorite was the Canadian high school girl who tweeted that my wife left because I write like “a whiny teenage girl.”

That was discouraging.

Things the Post Wasn’t About

It wasn’t about me.

It wasn’t about Men Vs. Women.

It wasn’t about encouraging men to be subservient husbands.

It wasn’t about propping up wives as the all-knowing and wise queens of how to structure relationships.

It wasn’t about complaints suggesting my wife nagged me over inconsequential things.

And for Pete’s freaking sake, IT WAS NOT ABOUT THE DAMN DISHES.

The “dishes” post has a thousand comments to the contrary, and each time I approved one of them I wanted to set myself on fire just a little bit more, because THAT—along with reading another new asshole call me a “mangina”—would feel infinitely less frustrating than all the people screaming on the internet while the entire point sailed a thousand miles over their heads.

Things the Post Was About

Understand something, please. Until five seconds ago, a thousand people AT MOST, were reading my posts. This “dishes” one? It was read 236 times the day it was published. And all of them “know” me, in that they’ve read dozens, maybe hundreds, of my posts, so they recognized the metaphor immediately.

Here’s my entire thing: I’m a child of divorce, and a few years ago I got divorced myself. I think divorce is very, very bad.

While I was trying and failing to save my marriage, I began a journey of introspection and self-discovery. I wanted to understand what I had done to help break the marriage, and discover tools to repair it OR at the very least, to make sure I wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes in a future relationship.

I read books. I read articles. I spoke with married people. I spoke with divorced people. And I started writing down ideas and publishing them.

More and more and more, people were saying: “Yes, this! You GET it!”

And if you read through the comments in the “dishes” post, you’ll see that the vast majority are echoing that.

I’m no smarter than anyone else. I’ve simply heard the same divorce stories so many times now that, combined with my not-too-distant memories of my marriage, I’ve been able to identify terrifyingly common behaviors by husbands and boyfriends that mirror my own that I now understand to be marriage and relationship killers.

As someone passionately against divorce, I feel compelled to share these ideas.

I am NOT a “Get Married” advocate. It’s clear most people are doing a terrible job in the partner-evaluation process, and overestimating their abilities to function as marriage partners, which mostly has to do with how we can’t know what we don’t know when we’re young.

And the adults shelter us from the ugly truth.

Mom and dad don’t tell you how they fantasize about running away, or sleeping with someone else who makes them feel desired and respected, or just how much more sad they feel today than they did when they were young. It’s because they want to preserve our innocence.

Our education system, shamefully, avoids the topic altogether.

But I am a “Stay Married” advocate. Unless we’re going to ban marriage or eliminate long-term monogamous relationships altogether, I think it behooves us to improve an institution that affects 95 percent of people AND fails more than half the time.

People thought the “dishes” post was about me and wanted to critique my marriage based on a headline they misinterpreted.

The “dishes” post is about trying to help husbands get from oblivious to enlightened RE: Why Their Wives Seem to Care About “Little” Things We Don’t Care About. Men don’t understand how a stupid glass by the sink could actually hurt. That sounds insane to him. Until he figures out how to believe it’s happening anyway, and then care about the glass BECAUSE he cares about his wife, these totally cliché and annoying Man Vs. Woman, But That’s Not Fair!!! whine festivals will continue.

People accused me of sexism.

I only write for husbands and about being a husband because that’s what I know. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, wife or mother. I’m going to leave the role-reversal writing on these topics to the people who do know what it’s like.

And OF COURSE sometimes wives are the dish-leaving culprits in a marriage! But that’s just not relevant to me writing for guys like me.

Husbands who are frustrated with their wives’ cleanliness habits are not likely to identify with my marriage whatsoever.

People accused me of preaching submission.


I’m the most stubborn mule I know. It’s a damn shame you can’t hear my high-and-mighty Piss off, you’re not the boss of me! voice. That was my ex-wife’s favorite. (Not.)

The most important lesson I’ve learned post-divorce is how critical it is for human beings to have well-communicated, strongly enforced boundaries. Boundaries which are ideally discussed and mutually respected during the dating process and long before anyone agrees to marry.

No, men. Your wives should never be domineering tyrants. But there can be no question that if you’re married to one of those, it’s because you allowed it to happen AND failed to demonstrate competence—either in the life areas which she now must control, or in the preservation of your self-respect or enforcement of your boundaries.

Wives are not better than husbands. Women are not better than men. (Nor the other way around.)

But I see a hell of a lot of men getting marriage wrong, and this is my way of trying to help.

All the evidence in the world that men are getting marriage wrong lives in the comments section of the “dishes” post.

The “dishes” post that wasn’t really about dishes at all.


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233 thoughts on “Of Course It Was About More Than Dirty Dishes”

  1. I totally ‘Got it’and agreed with everything you wrote. It’s about respect for her feelings not the dishes.

  2. It was about so much more than dishes! I appreciated the thoughts you put into words, words I have been searching for to try to explain to my husband why I fly off the deep end over something that seems so trivial to him.

  3. Welcome to the world of haters. You just did what most aspire to — get real, get honest, say something important, and get slammed for it. Don’t lose hope. I shared your article on dishes everywhere. Everyone I know got it, loved it, and shared. I just released a book from the woman’s perspective (though my guy is in it, too) and we managed to save our marriage. Thanks again for your honesty, introspection, and courage.

  4. Your initial post inspired me. In my own marriage I’ve been the one leaving dishes at the sink for the same reasons you described. I am in the middle of writing a response post about how your post has made me a more considerate spouse. My husband mentioned he saw the difference the other day and it has brought us closer. Thought you should know. I plan on posting my response post this week. Thank you for your transparency and humor. Now, where’s the book? Your blog is going to be a NYT best seller. I’m never wrong about these things.

  5. Hello!

    I thought your original post was fantastic. As a woman who has been in a serious relationship for 5 years, and also a child of divorce, I appreciate your blog and understood your point about the dishes. I shared that post with my boyfriend and he really appreciated it, as well. We recently moved in together (this is the first time either of us have lived with someone else) and we have been bickering A LOT and it’s taken a toll on our relationship for the past few months. Reading your post put a lot of things into perspective and gave us an opportunity to really talk. We also shared with each other a list of all the little things that drives each of us nuts so that we can start being more aware.

    Thanks a lot!


  6. kirstencronlund

    Matt – please don’t be so discouraged by the people who don’t get what you’re trying to say that you lose sight of all the people who DO get what you’re trying to say and whose lives are enhanced by your authenticity. You’d have to be a sociopath or a narcissist or something to have people’s misunderstandings not affect you at all, but don’t put too much weight on them. Your message needs to be out in the world.

  7. I did read the original post and really connected with it. My version of the same story is that Urban Dare (a scavenger hunt around town) caused my divorce. I know the real truth, though. It was my lack of understanding and always being so vehement about being “me” that I never really took much time to figure out how to be “us”. It was me, never working with him. The race was just the final thing that made it concrete for us both. I enjoyed, comprehended, and shared your post because I know firsthand that it’s easy to pooh-pooh something so trivial as dishes in the sink or a scavenger hunt, but it’s so important not to do that. It’s the little bits of understanding and compromise that we give that show how much we love someone.

  8. i loved that “dishes” post. i was about to comment “YES!” but then saw that there were 1,000+ comments ahead of me and thought you probably didn’t need my little pat on the back. but since you had to take so much shit, i’ll give it to you now. so here ya go. *pat pat pat* well done. xo

  9. Another point that people are often missing with introspective posts like this – Learning from experiences and mistakes is a journey, and you will not learn it all at once. There will be stops and starts. For many of us, that is what makes a blog interesting. It can be an intimate way to experience someone’s writing. But not everyone is up for it. Not everyone is willing to sit quietly by and allow someone to grow at their own pace.

  10. Keep up the great writing! In your style and your perspective. You do “get it!” Us followers and readers know ❤️

  11. I read your post and thought it was 100% perfect. It was amazingly well-written and summed up so much about my first (and only) marriage. So much of it spoke to me and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything written by any man, anywhere, at any time that was as spot on as your post.
    Please disregard all the idiots who don’t understand. I’m so sorry. You must be incredibly frustrated.

  12. For the record, I started following your blog the same day I read “The Dishes” post b/c I got how it’s not about the dishes…

  13. The post actually hit really close to home for me and I shared it with my husband, which was a bit awkward. However, I think it helped him understand that I’m not actually upset about the vacuuming. Granted it has only been a few days but I have started to see some positive changes – you have to start somewhere, right? So thank you!!

  14. People commented on my FB page about it that admitted they didn’t even read it soooooo….thank you for writing it to start with…it is spot on!

  15. Anyone who didn’t get that your post wasn’t about dishes lacks reading comprehension or doesn’t want to examine their own selves. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with maintaining their own sense of self-righteousness. Congratulations on hitting a nerve with so many people! Strong responses, good or bad, mean you’re writing something important.

  16. I loved the dirty dishes post and I knew it wasn’t just about that. However, I’m female and currently with my second husband trying to work through all the things that come along with marriage. In reading some of the comments on the post, I knew some people probably didn’t read very much if even past the title; they are blind to what is going on in their own household; they refuse to see what’s going on in their household, or they haven’t even been married (or in a relationship) long enough to get to the “dirty dishes” point of their relationship.

    After being divorced once and now remarried, I realized EVERYONE has dirty dishes – EVERYONE. Anyone who tries to pretend otherwise is just wearing a mask.

    It takes a humble human being to admit their wrongdoing. Trying to explain yourself to those who aren’t willing to understand because of whatever their reason is, is probably useless. Some people will live their entire lives and never get it (or even want to get it). That’s doesn’t make it your problem or cause for long explanation.

  17. I loved the original post. I wish my husband would be as introspective about how his actions affect me. Instead, he does exactly what you mentioned – get defensive and pissed off, and invalidates my feelings and thoughts, which tells me I’m not valid or important to him. I especially feel like parents with newborns in the house can majorly fall victim to this – after weeks (WEEKS!) of little to no sleep because I was up all night and day, every night and day, feeding our newborn son (our second child), I snapped. I literally couldn’t do it anymore. I yelled. I cried. I asked for support. He said “I support this family by working.” Yeah, you do. And I get that. But I should NOT be in this alone. I can handle a lot of shit, but repeated and ongoing lack of sleep combined with post partum hormones = step it up, brutha!

    I bet of those millions of views, many, many, many of us believed and respected EVERYTHING you said and wished upon wish that our re-posting/sharing of your post would result in our own better halves reading and understanding and taking action. I bet that proportionally, there was much more agreement. I bet the majority (if not all) of the “mangina” responses were cavemen who couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag in this thing we call relationships/marriage.

  18. I continue to be amazed at how media is evolving and this is a great example. Your article was probably shared by your loyals because of all the insight perceived and then the re-shares based on the sensational headline. I think the comments are telling of one of the following groups of people: those who didn’t read the whole article, those who read the article with prejudice and who read the article with an open mind.
    The net result, I’m sure in spite of many negative comments, is that more are reading it, discussing it and benefiting from the discussion.

    2.3 million readers – # of mindless detractors that couldn’t buy a clue = LOTS of WIN.

  19. I just read your blog circulating facebook, and while I do get what you are saying quite succinctly, I do have a serious problem with your take on the issue: Yes, she was absolutely right to feel that the glass by the sink was disrespectful, but it was HER CHOICE to make the leap that she was in fact unloved. Meanwhile, the glass by the sink is the distraction she was looking for in order to dismiss the thousand other ways which you DID show your love and respect and appreciation. It was her entitlement that allowed the marriage to become so frail, you never put your marriage on the line because of something she did to make you feel disrespected, instead you express your feeling, ask for a certain change and then decide if you can live with the result or not. And now, because she swiftly made the choice that she was superior and will not settle for a man with any sort of flaw, your marriage is over, your family is forever split and you will still have to communicate with this person that showed you the ultimate disrespect of not putting faith or trust in you, in order to raise your children.

    I appreciate the journey you are going through, and can tell you are holding yourself accountable for your own actions, but just feel it necessary to point out that you are not accountable for HER choice to invent facts (that you did not love or cherish her, ALL THE TIME continuously and without falter). Your divorce is simply her unilateral decision to believe she deserves better. Entitlement and faithlessness cost your marriage, not disrespect on your part.

    (and yes, I’m obviously projecting my own experience onto your story)

  20. I read your previous post. I agree with a previous commenter I also felt that with so many comments on it that you would not miss my “I got it”. Well I totally got it. And I started following your blog today after I read that post and now this post.
    I wish my ex husband had also “got it”
    And I’d like to add a point, that it’s not just “the glass” it’s often the breaking point after years of various “little” things.
    Anyways uh.. There was my little nugget. I look forward to reading more from you.

  21. Matt, what you’ve learnt (the hard way) and been able to articulate in man-speak is pure gold. Every man with a female partner should read your blog. Especially the bits about waffles vs spaghetti. So much of what you describe could be all of my first marriage (and a small part of my current !). All the guys calling you a pussy are doomed to divorce. And they’ll deserve it.

  22. I thought and think that it was a great post! One that started a great conversation between my husband and I about respecting each other more, which is hard in good times and feels impossible the rest!! The naysayers don’t want to understand the deeper issues which also probably why their marriages are failing and they want to drag everyone down to their level.

  23. 2.3 MILLION?!?

    Pretty sure I was one of the original 63 readers. When did it go up – Thursday, right? Saturday morning I’m going thru my blogfeed and as I’m scrolling past yours, 714 “Likes” catches my eye. That can’t be right…cuz normally there’d be like 30? 40? But no, there are hundreds of comments too! Wtf! I followed along all weekend, Matt! Craziness!

    I hope you’re recovered from your extra busy weekend 🙂

  24. I thought the original post was spot on . don’t let the haters and the ignorant get to you .

  25. It is truely sad when all the positive comments about your article “dirty dishes” are from women – and you were spot on, we really do equate those little things with being treated with consideration and respect and most men just don’t get it. Probably why I never got married, none of the guys I dated or lived with ever truely “got it” and I refuse to settle for anything less.

    You are on the right track, keep it up and treat the next woman in your life like a queen and you will reap the benefits in a long and happy marriage.

  26. So many ppl just do not understand metaphors, or understand it at all. They are quick to throw criticism without even understanding the topic. I totally understood it, and thought it was great! Men and women can operate on different wavelengths and without great communication, sometimes we do not understand each other at all and it goes both ways! As a woman, I know being irritated about something else and not talking about it I can end up blowing up about something as trivial as dishes by the sink. I think everyone who understands could learn something from your post.

  27. I read some of the comments on the original post and when my despair over the intelligence level of the human race started to get overwhelming I had to stop. I LOVED your post. The best part was that it was an “aha” moment for me. Even being a woman I had no idea why the little things bugged me so much. You expressed it so well. I don’t comment on blogs often but I wanted to say thank you for that and I hope someday the oblivious ones will get it. Keep up the good work and I wish you the best for your future.

  28. I am one of your new readers. I am recently divorced. What you’re saying is so true. I read some of your past articles and subscribed to your blog. I find your writing compelling, and your message is spot on. Thank you!

  29. Hey Matt! I read your original “dishes” post this morning. I am now following your blog. I don’t follow blogs… Or at least until now. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for sharing! I am already looking forward to the next post!

  30. I got the message loud and clear (and posted it on my Facebook Wall for as many interested eyes as I could put it in front of) because I went through the exact same situation a month ago and, thank heavens, was able to arrive at the same introspective conclusions and self-discoveries you have, mercifully a hair’s breadth before my wife took her final exit, stage left, from all my tomorrows. The last four weeks of my life, and our marriage, have been wholly and holistically renewed and reinvigorated. My wife and I are as magnetically bonded as we were in our earliest weeks and months with each other, and for nothing more complicated than the fact that a) I realized the damage I was causing, b) I took responsibility for the (totally unintentional, but that’s irrelevant) hurt and disrespect I’d left in my selfish wake, and c) I took ownership for consistently and vigilantly doing everything I knew I could to right my wrongs without asking a single concession from her in return. By my example, if there were behavior patterns she also needed to adjust to fortify our union, I trusted that my self-improvements would, in turn, inspire hers (as they have). Keep fighting the good fight, sir, because you’ve uncovered, as far as I’m concerned, the essential Truth of a healthy, happy, productive marriage and no matter how many blinded men there are out there quipping that you’re somehow a lesser man for your philosophy, there are some of us out here open, willing and desperate to have that light of reason and reality shine our way.

    1. Hey Travis! You’ve learned a “secret” that the majority of men will never figure out… That your wife will respond 10 fold to your changes without having to be asked. It’s amazing what happens when you can set ego aside for the good of the relationship! Bravo to you!

  31. some people are going to read what you write because it’s exactly what they want to hear, some people are going to read what you write so they can disagree because they like to argue. As long as you enjoy what you’re writing, everybody wins…I hope you focus on that instead of the name callers. Honestly though, I’m curious, a sackless fag means what exactly? I read a study once that showed that castration would stop testosterone production and could cure male pattern baldness…so is he saying that you are gay, or that you have great hair?

  32. I agree and see the value in this and the original post. Where insight is there will always be those who question it. No matter what happens in a marriage it’s useless to point fingers. All you are doing is owning your own mistakes. That’s all we can do. Own them, learn from them, and be better so we can move on.

  33. The post was great and really resonated with me. Those that didn’t understand it, don’t want to understand it. They think they’re infallible. Life is learning. If you don’t learn from your failures – and divorce to me is a failure – then how do you evolve?

    However much criticism you received, the post hit home with many and caused people to think or debate it. Well done on that. Let the haters hate. Your supporters and those who want to be better got it. 🙂

  34. I have to tell you that I saw your “Dishes” post on Facebook, and followed the link to read it. I found your blog post to be extremely insightful. It truly resonated with me and issues within my own failed marriage. It really spoke to the disregard I felt so very often in my marriage. As I was reading, it comforted me to know that someone gets it, and I admire you for the way you can reflect on your experiences. Thanks so much for your article. As a result, I have subscribed to your blog. Please don’t allow any closed minded person make you feel insulted by thier lack of experience or empathy. All the best to you, and looking forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Please take care!

  35. All I have to say is THANKYOU!!! As i was reading your blog all i kept thinking was THANKYOU and FINALLY a male who gets it!!! This is seriously my relationship like a hammer to a nail… it is very nice to know that there are males out there striving to hopefully open the eyes of fellow males. So again, THANKYOU!!!

  36. I personally loved the ‘dishes’ post, and thought it was spot-on. (I also just went back to that post and read some of the hate-comments, thanks for the LOL). I do think that many people on the internet take things way too personal and too literal. The worst is that they will only read the title of your post + the first paragraph or so only to form an opinion straight away (often voiced with a lot of exclamation points and capital letters).

    I do see the value in this post, some people only hear what they want to hear and this is a great way of explaining yourself without coming off terribly defensive.

  37. People, readers even, come with baggage. Don’t take it as your own. You’re doing great. (Or Greeaaat! as Tony the Tiger would say. ) 🙂

  38. Matt! Deep breaths!

    First, congratulations on the huge, epic-ness of your post! And, believe me, it didn’t get viewed that many times because people thought you were a pussy or because people didn’t get it. It got viewed (and shared) that many times because its content was so valid that it awakened peoples’ minds and souls. It was THAT big a deal. Seriously.

    So, people started sharing it because it was like, “Shit…this guy COULD BE LIVING IN MY HOUSE, he just described my life so accurately…and, while I felt hopeless before I read it, I now feel like I can see a glimmer of hope. Or at least I feel understood. Like I can breathe. Like it’s possible I am NOT insane.”

    And then, probably, other people who didn’t need to understand its meaning and, as such, could never have comprehended your intention anyway, people who aren’t in a place where a dirty dish could literally start a week of not speaking to their spouse, like AT ALL, started reading a couple of lines and making up their minds about its content and commenting and hating and being general dicks without giving it the depth of thought it deserved.

    But, you don’t have to give a shit about those people. And, also, probably no matter how much you explain what you did mean, there will be even bigger dicks who comment and hate because it’s like a sport on the internet.

    So, just take heart that for every mean-spirited comment or misinterpretation, there were thousands of people whose lives you just may have changed a little bit. Or a lot. So, good on you.

  39. I discovered your post and page over the weekend, and I immediately realized how much I had taken for granted and ignored in my relationship with my wife. Unfortunately the reason i found your page is because we are going through a trial separation right now. The dish by the sink article really hit home for me…and as you stated, you really have to be this headed to not understand the meaning behind the article, and Im about as thick headed and selfish as they come. Thank you for your insight and knowledge, I pray that the knowledge I gain from reading your posts will help me in this time of pain, and I hope that maybe one day I can resurrect my marriage.

  40. Congratulations on all those readers! I knew the headline was good! I think it’s was blatantly obvious what the dish represented and am confused people took it so literally, especially amongst a group of ‘writers’. I think instead of getting too upset about the negative reactions, just celebrate the reach of your work and leverage off all your new readers that grow and expand your writing career! Go you good thing!

  41. I spent yesterday reading a number of your posts. I found them enlightening to the point I felt a bit tired by the end. In a really good way, if that makes sense.

    Do you know if your ex-wife reads your blog at all? I know hindsight has its limitations but I guess… Actually, I don’t know what I guess. I just couldn’t stop wondering if she does read it. I hope you don’t mind me asking, in the knowledge that it’s none of my business.

  42. Congrats on the volume of reads. Wow! I’m sorry people didn’t get it. I saw your post tagged on Facebook by a friend, and I loved it. Now I am following your blog. I am definitely guilt of ignoring my husband’s requests. I love how simply you explained how that makes him feel. I think you have a lot of good things to say for men and women (even though I know you’re just targeting men). Keep the advice coming. Don’t worry about the negative comments. Not everyone wants to be enlightened.

  43. I remember finding your blog awhile back, and loving it then. I was so happy when one of your posts popped up in my Facebook feed over the weekend. I finally got a chance to read it today and I think you hit the nail on the head. I love your blog – so much. You are getting it so right. Thank you for speaking up about the hard parts of marriage. Thank you for making space for others to speak openly and honestly about the things we all would rather ignore. Thanks for being brave and being willing to be misunderstood. Keep writing, friend.

  44. Remember the days when I could take the time to read all the comments?….wow! are those days over…but based on a cursory view…it looks like most of us got the original point. Rejoicing with you, friend, over this well-earned, well-deserved jump in readers. Please! Don’t forget us little people. :)…..dishes….PSH!

  45. It really makes me sad that apparently so many people missed the point of your post. For the record, I got it. I thought how you wrote it was beautiful, thoughtful, and complete. The bitch about putting our writing on the Internet is just that; you’re putting it on the Internet. And the Internet is full of people who are rude, who pass judgement AND COMMENT on an article without even reading it, and who are incredibly judgemental. It’s a shame we can’t be more open and loving when we disagree. I however understood and agreed with your post. I can’t imagine the overwhelming feeling all those views and comments must’ve caused you but please know that some of us understand and appreciate your work. It was amazing. You can’t please everyone though and that’s just the facts. You are not a mangina or a pussy. If more man realized what you did, there would be less divorced. Keep up the amazing work!

  46. Dude don’t listen to the haters. Your blog was spot on and I started following your blog because you get it. This will be a useful tool in helping my husband and I rebuild our marriage. You see he left me over a year ago because of another woman among other things and just came home.

  47. No article should be aimed at men doing everything or women doing everything. This is not a men issue or a wife issue. The best advice I ever heard is that marriage is like two horses, if the horses don’t pull together one of them is going to get tired. This may not be the horse that’s doing the most work. I also heard stead of men could learn to treat their wives like they do their daughters they would see a lot more results. See her as the broken hurting little girl that just needs her daddy. In women could see their husbands as a little boy. Someone who needs encouragement and appreciation an unconditional love from their mommy.

    1. Omg ewwww! And noooooo! Pretty sure that is not how most people feel or want to be treated by their partner.

      1. He meant well, sometimes men don’t have a handle of their words until their outside their mouths. I think what he said (badly) was that he means if you cannot understand or communicate with your spouse that you need to look at them with different eyes. Instead of ‘daddy’ I would say “look at her with the compassionate eyes of someone who is *really* trying to make her life easier and safer; because you love her.”
        And instead of ‘mommy’ read his words as “look at your husband and realize he needs and wants to be cheered on and respected and thanked for his hard work”.

  48. Re: “She left me …dirty dishes…” article and subsequent comments. Great, insightful article. Those negative comments were clearly from people with little or no capacity for reading comprehension. I think most men could learn a thing or two from your words.

  49. As a female I totally understood the article and I even used the line “what one thing can I take off your plate” this past weekend! Your writings resonated with me and I crash coursed so much of your work. I ended my marriage for the same reasons, with one addition, I became the codependent one since he handled it all. Less than a year later, we are working on reconnecting. That one line meant a world of difference in making him feel appreciated. Thank tou for writing from the male perspective that lies hidden beneath all the macho bravado of being the care taker and provider. Thank you!

  50. Stephanie Cauley

    People are fucking idiots lol. Those guys posting those kinds of comments are the EXACT guys you’re talking to but are too stupid to realize it. But I know you know that. The post was spot on.

  51. I actually saw links and quotes from that post in two different places on social media and I knew I’d read it before realizing it came from your blog. It’s frustrating that so many commenters are responding to the headline or a random quote and didn’t take the time to understand the nuance of what you were trying to say.

  52. The ‘Dishes’ post was well written, and totally spot on! I’ve been married for 37 years, and that is exactly what I’ve tried to get across to my husband. I don’t speak as well as I write, so he didn’t get it, until he read your post. He laughed, hugged me, and we had a wonderful talk. Thank you!!!

  53. I think your blog is pretty spot on. It isn’t about who gets to tell who to do housework, it is about making the person you want to spend your life with feel loved and appreciated and if that means putting a glass away then put a glass away!

  54. A Facebook friend shared your post, and it caught my eye in the newsfeed. “Dishes” was the first post of yours I read, and I had a brief moment where I just knew without a doubt my ex was trying his hand at writing. 😉 Major battles were fought over the dishes or socks left on the floor, and I have long since realized these were just the petty symptoms of a mutually disrespectful and unhappy relationship with much deeper problems. Your metaphor was not lost on me, or many people based on the responses I see to this post. Clearly it was about respect and communication, and I found it to be very reflective and meaningful. It makes me sad that people can be so mean and negative. I appreciated your message, and it gives me hope that there are more people out there who can recover from some bad situations and move forward with the determination not to make the same mistakes again.

  55. I thought it was obvious, too. I understood and appreciated your words. The slow, painful breakdown within relationships is not about the actual dishes, the vacuuming, the laundry, the yard work- it is about the heart with ehich we do or do not do those tasks.

  56. Matt: I had never heard of your blog before that. A friend shared it on Facebook. I thought it was spot on and I signed up to follow your blog. Read 2.3 million times?! Congrats. To the haters who missed the point, screw them. Everything’s not for everybody. This isn’t a blog for people who hate women or who want to point the finger at everyone else for their problems. I’m divorced. My husband cheated on me multiple times. I hated him for a while but then realized it’s rarely every one-sided. I had to take responsibility for my part. It took a while but my ex and I are friends and I wish him all the best…I can’t wait for your next post.

  57. I LOVE this and I loved the “dishes post”! I, of course, will be sharing because my husband came right to me and said, “…see, people get divorced over small things, the smallest things that don’t matter! Did you read this?!”
    *Head is still banging on the wall*

    Thanks again Matt. Some of got it, and we appreciate it!

  58. Yeah, see – the idiots you refer to who badmouthed you in the comments are the same guys that need to understand the most what you’re saying here. And if they don’t get that it’s not about where you leave your dishes, they won’t ever get it and heaven help the women they pair up with.

    This was your first post I ever read. Someone shared it and I read it, understood it totally and thought it had major value and started to follow you. Because I don’t want to miss anymore of your worthwhile posts. I could have written your post from the female perspective, but perhaps not so eloquently. Thanks and keep reading and ignore the noisy idiots.

  59. You crack me up Matt. I pissed myself on this one. Holy shit, what the F*** is wrong with people anyway? Yeah! Any leavin a god damned dish or two in the foooken sink ain’t gonna kill a marriage for f****s sake people. I hope everyone reading this understands that some things are just frickin annoying as hell and over time, unless the annoyances are addressed, it just adds to the pile of annoyances and eventually the pile gets high, mighty and heavy until someone takes the steps clean up and unload the pile. It doesn’t mean it gets better but it sure as hell makes for a cleaner slate. It takes both partners to make it happen. If the other partner thinks their shit isn’t part of the pile, they can shove it, because the truth is, YES it is mofo’ers! I’min a foul mood tonight and pardon the load of shit i just dumped here.

  60. Matt,

    I think they get that it isn’t about the dishes, it is just that these comments were left by all of the men whose wives read your blog and love what you have to say. They have already heard the “dishes argument” in their own homes and they (like you used to) stubbornly refuse to give in. Also, your blog titles tend to appeal to women, and I know I only found your blog originally because I searched “shitty husband.” Now that you have placed “dishes” and “divorce” in the same sentence, you have opened yourself up to the world of American marriages: everybody is getting divorced because of dishes.

    In my opinion, a bunch of assholes did a google search looking for ways to prove their wives and girlfriends wrong because that is their sole measure of manhood (besides having testicles). Then, they found your blog, which not only tells them they are basically wrong but also is followed by comment after comment made by women who love you. Selfish assholes who hate change are going to view you as the enemy, and that is why they are selfish assholes.

    The guy who calls you “sackless” is just jealous because what he really read in your blog is that women propose to you because you tell men to do the dishes. They are idiots for not realizing they could get laid all the time by writing a blog titled “Men: Do the dishes.”

    Basically, you are right and a bunch of dicks would rather call you a “fag” than treat a woman right. One day, one of them will have a lightbulb moment and realize that you were right all along. He won’t tell you, or maybe he will, but your writing will be worth it.

    Keep writing, because for every idiot who put you down or did not understand the purpose of your writing, there were 10 more who DID get it but didn’t say anything.

  61. As a woman/wife, when I read the Dishes article, I thought, “WOW! THIS GUY GETS IT!” It’s not at all about the damn drinking glass. And no respectable woman wants a blindly subservient husband, it’s not about that either. You are so on point. Don’t worry about the haters! YOU ARE WONDERFUL!

  62. Your “dishes” blog was the first I’ve ever read – and I loved it! As I read it, I hungrily read faster and faster, amazed that someone could put into words what I have been feeling.

    I’m sorry that people are saying ignorant and mean things. It’s really unfortunate that so many people feel the need to hurt others in order to feel better about themselves. It takes a bigger man/woman to build someone up than to tear them down. When people resort to calling names, it shows exactly WHO they are.

  63. I understood the meaning of your post and loved it. I have not been married, but I recently ended my engagement for these very issues. I originally did not comment on it as it was shared on Facebook and I saw my ex leave a message with some very distinct “him” commentary on the original post. I am now remedying that- you get it and I hope that you are not discouraged. You encouraged me that much more to blog my own life experiences, but I am using a pen name for anonymity.
    Not only was my relationship suffering the neglect, however unintentional it may have been, but his family is enabling and seemingly encouraging his behavior. So, I am sorry I did not comment before due to my own insecurities. It was the first post of yours I have read and I could not get enough! I read all the letters and probably back four months the same day. It illuminated much into the male psyche as well as helped me identify what I do and don’t want to have present. I tried and gave and gave but it just became exhausting on me and I was a husk. It broke me to do it- I didn’t want to end things, but I had to for my own health.
    Kudos to you and keep up the good work!

  64. Of course it wasn’t about the damn dishes!! What you wrote was good enough that I know of at least 10 times it was shared off of my share. I also subscribed to your site to read more about what you have to say. I was impressed with the need for increased communication after my failed marriage. Anything that seems like an intelligent resource on how to do so is now flagged by me as potential reading. Hooray for the new readers!! Now get over the sore spot from those that misinterpreted the point and write some more good stuff. Us fledgling ink smear-ers need inspiration on communication and how you keep going when the ignorant can’t understand.

  65. The funny thing is that if a woman was to post her side of the story, say perhaps your ex wife, I highly doubt that any man would read it and those who would read it would not comprehend it or would dismiss it as just another emotional nagging wife

  66. Congratulations on so many reads and repost. Good or bad comments at least now there is a chance to save some marriages because that’s exactly what you’re doing!

  67. Some reasons are just lame

    The father of my children left me “because you are sarcastic and untidy”…
    One day he may tell the truth however until that day comes this is all I have….
    I ‘got’ your post though. Aretha sang it best and taught us all how to spell!

  68. artemisinshadows

    I’d be willing to bet that most -if not all- of those who didn’t get the deeper meaning are the same ones who read a headline and suddenly just have to reply because they think they know the story. It’s sad because they are probably the ones who are the epitome of what is described in some of the writings on your blog.

  69. Matt, may I just pour praise and encouragement all over you? That post was awesome and struck a chord in so many. Dozens of women were so grateful to be heard, to be known and listened to, by a man who actually gets it. That post was a work of art and you nailed it. That’s why you got so many views.

    Ignore your critics and don’t take them personally. They come with the territory. A harsh and critical comment is a emotional response. It means that what you said resonated. It had an impact. It mattered. I’m laughing here, but every writer should memorize this saying, “hatred is not the opposite of love, indifference is.”

  70. I am very anxious to see if I get a response on this. I’m not here to cause trouble or be ugly. Just get a perspective from a guy who made a valid point. The message feels enduring, and seems heart felt, almost like an apology.. My question I am hoping you can answer is what if it’s the glass one day, and the dog sleeping in the bed another day, and wanting to set a date for the wedding next week. From there it’s enjoying a hobby that gets a few hours of your time each week? At what point does it go from a simple request to a never ending shuffle of miscellaneous requests? At what point does a mans character, being a good father, religious leader in the home, and a supportive partner weigh in? Does it stop with just the glass or does the analogy carry forward? And at any point does the point you made lose it’s merit and a true problem become identified? I mean if all the major pillars of a good relationship are in tact, does this discussion end at the glass example or does it also carry forward to other items you may not understand? Surely there is some kind of barometer that gauges when this principal is applied and at what point it becomes invalid or overused? I ask this in a sincere manner. I guess my humble upbringings taught me that truly loving your partner, and supporting your partner, and being faithful to your partner, and being a good father to your children, and being a good friend were the foundations on what good relationships are built on. However, none of that is mentioned so I am only seeking clarity. Not sarcasm, and not rudeness. Just your honest answer?

    1. I think all of what you mentioned is so important, however, if you are BOTH having the mindset of, “How can I make my spouse feel appreciated?” then you won’t have to worry about the never ending requests. Ultimately, if you and your wife have a relationship with our Heavenly Father, then you both know the importance of love, kindness, and communication. This blog just might help to remind us that putting others first can make for a happy life and marriage.

  71. Hey man, I just wanted to let you know that that article changed the way I see things. I’m more attentive to her needs, and more likely to see when she feels like a mom. I proposed to her yesterday and finally felt 100% like I understood her because of your blog. Regardless of what anyone says you helped a lot of guys like you out. Everything here made it all make sense, I am bound to have a wonderful marriage because of your insight. I hope husbands everywhere read this and aren’t morons. I hope people continue to use this as a bridge to understand their spouse and stop over reaching for a reason not to be better. The world needs to be a little more understanding and a lot less offended. You helped me man, and I have followed this blog ever sense. Thanks!

  72. Please don’t defend or explain yourself. Your writing is sensitive, self aware and more masculine than any of the dipshits criticizing you. Hopefully that’s important to you on your journey. Teach to the smart kids.

  73. Hey, wait a minute… I thought you got divorced because you didn’t put your cup in the dishwasher. You mean that wasn’t the point of your blog? Dang, I guess I should tell my husband I don’t want a divorce now.

  74. May I just say one more thing? Men who take responsibility, men who genuinely hear their wives, men who just “get it,” are the epitome of masculinity. That really is something that is very attractive to women. Often we lack the words to describe it properly, we speak of “confidence,” of men “just getting it,” but what “it” really is, is something more akin to genuine masculinity, this rather mysterious quality that draws women to men in the first place.

    I think I’ve said it before on this blog, but I wasn’t a very good wife. My husband simply led, he stepped up to the plate, he took responsibility, and I just eventually began to follow, for some 30 years now. Had he pointed fingers, blamed me, refused to acknowledge my feelings, I don’t think we’d still be married.

  75. You are a brave & courageous man for taking the responsibility for self reflection & sharing your journey of growth with the entire world…. The people who didn’t ‘get’ your post aren’t ready to understand & perhaps even after several more failed relationships they still won’t have the eyes to see & that is ok… sad, but each to their own. Those of us who have the capacity to see the meaning in your work say Thank You for not shrinking yourself to fit in an attempt to escape judgement. Thank You for putting yourself out there in order to shine a light on the sacredness of intimate partnerships & the affect they have on the precious children they produce.

  76. Painful that so many people missed the point. Pearls to piggies and all that. Sad to have to write an article to explain your excellently written and beautifully heartfelt article.
    On the other hand, reading the comments could be viewed as an opportunity to practice enjoyment of the absurd.

  77. I say never feel the need to explain or justify yourself or your words. Clarify when necessary but never the former. What your doing for yourself and others is a great thing. The billion morons in this world who can’t get it? Fuck em. They can’t be helped.

  78. I, for one, agree with you Matt. It isn’t about the dishes. It isn’t even about who’s wrong or right in my opinion. It is about treating your partner with dignity and respect. Respect to recognize how I impact our relationship as a husband and a partner. A husband and partner that sometimes, possibly most of the time fails to show my wife that I truly do care. That I don’t mean to take her for granted , but sometimes do. My wife and I struggle to communicate and it usually ends up with her blowing up at me and my usual “M.O” of shutting down. I recognize these faults in myself and your article really struck a cord with me. My wife is actually the person who turned me on to your blog. So, to you sir, I say thank you. It is something I want to change in myself and it is something I know I can change and I still have time.

  79. I really appreciate both this post and the ‘dishes’ post. As a woman who is once divorced and just recently reconciling with my second husband after a short separation, the posts really hit home with me. I completely identified with the pain you described. But at this point in my life I am really trying to embrace what it means to be a woman and to allow my husband to be a man. I am no longer going to buy into this feminist agenda that’s brainwashed our women for decades. I believe that my husband and I will both fair better in our marriage when we take on gender specific, aka, traditional, roles. I hope to learn something about how men think by reading your posts. And although you say they are meant for men, they really should be read by women as well. Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your work!

  80. I smell a midlife crisis on your wife’s behalf. Look it up. That’s a textbook reason for them to want to divorce.

    1. Yeah, a mid life crisis caused by YEARS of compounded resentment over the ‘little things’ (as Matt eloquently describes in many of his posts) years of doing the ‘thinking’ and most of the doing. Years of being alone in the marriage and showing up every day and prioritising the home and family whilst the husband leaves his crap all over the house she lovingly pays attention to and cares about, plays golf, video games, goes out with his mates and basically puts the things she puts first way down his list of priorities. It is no wonder that she has a ‘midlife crisis’ as you so disrespectfully put it (demonstrating an arrogant belief that the wife is somehow a bit stupid or a crazy person and could not have any other possible reason for wanting to be far away from someone who treats her and their child like that than hormones or age). This is a typical comment from a shitty husband and father and all you have done with this comment is prove it.

  81. I think your writing is brilliant, and I admire the fact that you not only learn from your mistakes, but share them with others. Furthermore, it’s very brave-so don’t be a prisoner to others insecurities. Let the haters hate. KEEP WRITING! It’s most def what you are meant to be doing!

  82. Everything you said was so extremely accurate it felt like you were in my head and you in fact described my husband perfectly. Everything you thought is exactly how he thinks and trust me i got your post. It was perfect. Beautifully written. If the ignorant key board warriors can’t understand then that is their loss. You don’t need to explain. Your points were perfect.

  83. Gosh how could anyone who read the entire thing not understand what you were saying. My husband and i are coming up on our 5 year wedding anniversary next week – we got engaged as young stupid kids with our heads in the clouds 5 months after we met – we are both children of divorce so appreciate any help or tips we can learn from! We have 2 kids 2 years and 3 years old and failure just isn’t an option! I will keep checking back for new advice 🙂
    Thank you.

  84. Yes, most of us did GET it. It was actually somewhat validating to read and understand that this was more than a personality trait but truly a societal norm. For those that didn’t understand, forget them. It was incredibly insightful and put into words what many of us think but can’t find the words to communicate. Keep writing. We appreciate you. Forget about the Aholes.

  85. The original “Dishes” post was the first of yours I had ever read (discovered last Friday), and it was perfect in my eyes! It was exactly what I needed to figure out what it was that was “not going right” in my marriage, and exactly what my husband needed to “get it.” I was another of those wives that was sobbing because FINALLY someone got it! And it was written in such a way that now my husband could get it (and not hear the advice directly from me for once-he doesn’t respond well to that). I shared the post, and your blog, with him that day, and he immediately implemented your suggestions. And they worked! He’s been good about doing those types of things in the past, just not consistently. Before, he didn’t understand why it was important to do so, therefore it wasn’t important enough to him to put the effort into keeping up with it. He gets it now. So now he understands that I’m important enough to him to just go ahead and “put the dirty glass in the dishwasher” simply because it’s important to me, even if the basic action doesn’t make sense to him fundamentally. 🙂

    Of course, the title is what caught my attention after another friend posted it to FB. But the message was clear to me. It wasn’t about the dirty dishes, because in my marriage he hates when I leave them in the sink to soak, and I hate it when he doesn’t rinse them at all no matter where they end up. It’s not the detail, what matters is what we do with and how we react to those details particular to our marriage.

    I’m not surprised that most people didn’t get past the dirty water glass. Most people only see the surface of issues, so they will never grow or mature until they do. There’s more than meets the eye. 😉

    So this is my long, “Thank you!” for posting. Please keep it up! It has definitely been the spark that will continue to positively effect my marriage.

  86. I want to Thank You for your “dishes” post. And apologize for the many short sighted, probably very self centered people who simply don’t get it. I am going through an awful time in my marriage. Just awful. My husband, definitely hasn’t gotten it for the last 15 years, although I am not giving up hope. Mainly because irregardless of our separate relationship with each other, we are a great family of 5. That and I am pretty far from perfect myself. That in and of itself is worth some extra effort. Anyway, your article is just right. It isn’t about the little things on the surface that seem so petty. It’s much deeper. I shared the “dishes” article in the hopes that my husband will read it and maybe get just a tiny bit closer to “getting it.”

  87. Please repost with a more appropriate title. The current title can be misleading and many who need to read this will pass it by for being light hearted and silly.

    The critical commenters are most likely “pre-divorce YOU” I like the post-divorce YOU! Thanks for the best article I have ever read on the chemistry of men and women.

    Katherine Smith

  88. There’s a scene from ‘The Break-up’ where the couple fights over the dishes. Jen says “I want you to WANT to do the dishes” and the Vince retorts with “but no one ever WANTS to do the dishes”.

    In the end he figures it out that its not about *dishes* and I love that both that movie and your post previous to this come to the same conclusion.

    I say it all the time to my husband, “I want you to WANT to do the dishes” — fortunately, he gets it and we use it as a light-hearted joke – or maybe even a reminder that the real issue is never the actual dishes.

  89. Saw this article on Huffpost and now I will be regularly reading your blog. Such a thoughtful commentary on something that many men don’t get (and women for that matter, it works both ways). I am lucky enough to have a husband that “gets it,” even though this is a second time around for both of us as we were previously married to people who didn’t. Thank you for sharing your perspective so eloquently!

  90. If you gender reversed the dirty dishes article the man would be labeled a controlling emotionally abusive narcissist for criticizing his wife over every little thing — like leaving a glass in the sink — making her feel like she was constantly walking on egg shells at home…

    The real problem is marriage does not make people family anymore. It’s just a state of transition with legal and financial consequences. Men should recognize the risks and avoid it.

    1. Honestly the reason that you are getting flak for your article is because it’s one dimensional and kind of dishonest.

      Even though you insincerely acknowledge that you only write from a husbands perspective, you’re still taking about marriage which is intrinsically a two person deal. But you take a “this is what guys do wrong” position, but you and your wife BOTH failed at marriage.

      Yes the dishes represent her feelings but that’s how she chooses to feel. Because some women will see a dirty dish and not care. There is a certain amount of responsibility she needs to take for choosing to react to dishes in that way.

      But yes as a thoughtful husband you try to do what she wants because you care. But as a wife you should also try to gain some perspective and realize it not personal and not make it out to be some personal attack. Because it’s not.

      Every time you left the dishes out were you thinking “heh heh heh fuck her and her feelings”? No because you’re not insane.

      However in the same vain you’re saying it’s ok to think “omg he left the dish out this is such a clear sign of disrespect and he clearly doesn’t appreciate me.”

      You acknowledge each others feelings yes but that doesn’t mean you should validate them in every single instance

      Your thesis by way of excluding any kind of responsibility on the wife seems to be “all us shitty husbands need to just do whatever we can to make our wives feel good no matter what circumstances and for whatever reasoning because they feel some type of way about it.” which is bullshit and I think you know it.

      In fact I think you knew your reader base would most likely be female so you condescended to them with a kind of vapid viewpoint that would make them swoon and shout “he get’s it!” Which would also explain the extremely clickbaity title.

      1. Good guess, Eugene! That makes total sense.

        I purposefully write intellectually dishonest posts, even though I’m so incredibly talented and prescient about blog post headlines, that I knew 3 million people would click on it, without worrying about my reputation as a dishonest fraud.

        Sorry Eugene. You’re off-base. But I hope you had fun writing that.

      2. Yea but that’s how your article made me FEEL. Therefore you need to just asquiesce, because if you value your relationship with your readers at all you won’t dismiss how I FEEL and just do what I want you to do. And if you don’t it’s because you just don’t “get it”.

        I know your self righteous sense of entitlement was so offended that you couldn’t even address my viewpoints and the viewpoint of many others, which simply is trying to advocate a balanced and moderate view as if there are *gasp* TWO people involved in marriage and divorce. Basically just saying – hey your divorce was probably not only your fault, but you don’t want to be told that I guess? You get more pats on the back when you go “ugh men amirite?!”

        Please don’t sit there and deny that you weren’t trying to be intentionally provocative by titling your article “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By the Sink” then spending the entire article talking about how it isn’t really about the dishes.

      3. I courteously do not agree. He is getting flack because people know what they are doing is wrong and it strikes a chord, Now, on a scale of crisis and emergency, it is so very minor and unimportant, but still causes problems.

        I may be making a sweeping generalization, but unless you were raised very wealthy or very neglected, most people were nagged on as children to clean up after themselves, to pick up your toys, clean your room, make your bed, put the cap back on the toothpaste, flush the toilet, etc. These are basic rules of etiquette – there’s more, but these are the ones that come to mind.

        I do things as a single in my house I wouldn’t do if I was married or living with someone. It is winter here, cold and snowy. I don’t hang up my coat. I’m in and out a dozen times a day with my dog. My coat is slung over the chair at my dining area table. The table and entire kitchen area are currently clean and picked up, except for that coat.

        And if I had a husband, or even a roommate, I’d put the coat away every single time, even though I know I’d need it in a hour again. Why? Because it models the behavior I’d expect from them. Don’t leave your coat in an otherwise clean area. Don’t clutter up an area. There’s a place for your coat and it isn’t on the back of a chair.

        As an adult, nobody likes to be told, “no” or managed. It’s a free country and we can do what we want in our own house as long as it isn’t illegal. I think deep down people know they should pick up after themselves and put the dish in the dishwasher. They just don’t want to. They spend all day at a job being told to do what to do. Monetary limitations keep them from buying this widget or that widget. Society has expectations and now a spouse at home is making you clean up when you don’t want to.

      4. *sigh* The biggest issue is not the fact that the “dish” upsets her…it’s the fact that you don’t acknowledge that it does. That you dismiss her feelings because it doesn’t make sense to you.

      5. My problem is not with acknowledging someones feelings. You can acknowledge how someone feels about something without having to validate their feelings as appropriate every single time.

        Listen, I get it I hate dishes being left out it bugs me too. My problem is that his whole philosophy on is based on some very troubling premises

        A) Women are so incapable of being rational that the only appropriate response to emotion is only to acquiesce. Basically saying “Men you can and must change, but women just can’t help how they feel. He’s basically infantilizing grown women.

        B) Feelings are the great equalizer and is the end of the discussion. All roads end at someone’s hurt feelings.

        “We must allow others to have their own individual human experiences, and accept that they’re real even when they react to something differently than we do, or describe a conflicting feeling.”

        This much is true. I can agree with this.

        But this:

        “Two people can experience the same thing at the same time, but feel very differently without either of them being wrong.

        and this,

        “One is not rational while the other is irrational.” One is not logical while the other is illogical. It’s simply two separate people experiencing the SAME thing two DIFFERENT ways. It’s not right or wrong. It just IS.”

        100% Horse shit. Sometimes nobody is wrong. Sometimes one person is 100% wrong. Sometimes its 75% wrong 25% right. Sometimes it’s all over the place. That’s reality

        For example lets take what he says and apply a hypothetical situation

        “That person over there was hurt by something I did.”
        (I didn’t let my toddler drink a fifth of whiskey and he’s/she’s throwing a tantrum)

        Even though that same thing would never hurt me, it’s still true that it happened.
        (I’m an adult and can decide how much I can and can’t drink…but my kid seems pretty upset)

        If I care about that person,
        (Of course I care he/she is my kid!)

        I need to make sure I never do that again.”
        (Oh….ok….bottoms up baby.)

        That’s not fair you say, that’s a child! They cant control themselves! They don’t understand, they don’t have the capacity to understand!

        Oh but grown women should still be treated that way cuz feelings.

        In the way that he frames it. The “dishes” analogy is infinitely variable the only constant he ever requires is that you just feel upset enough about it. And that’s a pretty huge philosophical hole to have. To not even allow that each situation is different and that just because you’re upset about something doesn’t mean you’re right to be upset is straight up stupid.

        All I ever advocated in disagreeing with him is that maybe both men and women take responsibility for their own actions.

        Men should strive to be more aware of their wives feelings and try to act accordingly and yes get out of your head and suck it up sometimes and just do what they ask because its important to them.

        Women should also learn to accept that men do try, we don’t get it right away and we don’t think the same as you do but being patient and encouraging and picking your battles goes a long way.

        Eventually if two people really try you’ll meet in the middle.

        Is the dishes issue a big deal and a battle worth fighting? Maybe..it DEPENDS, it DEPENDS on a lot of things.

        But no one likes real talk, no wife/husband who comes on this page is looking for “maybe you both need to work on shit”. They want to hear “it’s all his fault” or “she’s crazy”

        This trite, lazy,feel-good, sexist garbage philosophy is all over the web written by people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

      6. Eugene, you believe Matt makes women into infants. Yet part of your comment has stuck with me and is a contradiction.

        “Women should also learn to accept that men do try, we don’t get it right away and we don’t think the same as you do but being patient and encouraging and picking your battles goes a long way.”

        You’ve just turned men into children. Maybe even toddlers.

        Women should also learn to accept that children do try, they don’t get it right away and they don’t think the same as you do but being patient and encouraging and picking your battles goes a long way.

        If I’m told by my SO one time, “I don’t like you using my tools.” OR “It bothers me when you are late.” I’m going to do everything in my power to correct that behavior.

        Yet, if I tell a man it bothers me when he sprinkles when he tinkles, I’m just supposed to accept the fact that his mommy never taught him to wipe the floor or front of the toilet when he was finished? I’m suppose to be patient even if I have to tell him EVERY time, it is gross to see another adults urine on the floor? If company is over and he goes to the bathroom, do I need to follow behind him and clean up after him? Exactly how many times do you need to tell someone why this is bothersome?

      7. Of course it took two people for the marriage to fail, but at least Matt is trying to see how his disregard for his wife’s feelings lead to the divorce. I’d be interested to know if she is reading this blog, and maybe falling in love with her husband again, as well as seeing some things that she may have done different. Maybe subconsciously he did write a clickworthy blog, not to attract a female audience, but to get his wife back!

      8. m.nicole.r.wildhood

        Wow, nope. You actually do not “choose” feelings. You choose how you act on them. It’s also not super convincing to caricature an argument and then refute it.

      9. It looks to me as if Eugene really gets the point. He simply disagrees with it.
        You know this is possible right?
        The amount of people dismissing critique of the article with “you just don’t get it” really irks me.
        I wish people either argued against their points when bothered to (like matt himself does) or left them be.

      10. Married 20 years

        Very great summary Eugene, and despite his attempt to deflect, having read through his magnum opus of 12 volumes on you’re a shitty husband and the numerous swooing posts by angry wives who feel validated by his tripe, I think you nailed it.

    2. I agree and believe that any adult who shares a house should take responsibility for their own personal mess because they are adults not children and not because their partner demands it.

  91. I think you’d understand why I burst into tears last week when my husband asked me if we should take the shopping bags into the supermarket when we were doing the weekly shop…

    After a week of me pleading with him [yes, in tears] not to ask me any *unimportant* questions…

    After a year of wrangling workmen [gut & start again] as we moved into an uninhabitable house, and I tried to make the house liveable [kitchen coming next week – after a year of only a 1950’s sink + cold water – yay!]…

    With torn rotator cuffs and a back the chiropractor describes as “shot”…

    After 16 years of inane questions…

    It’s not the dirty glass, it never was the dirty glass, and hopefully for you it will never again be the dirty glass!

    I love my husband to bits, but occasionally I see the wisdom in “no good deed goes unpunished” 😉

  92. That Squirrel Again

    > No, men. Your wives should never be domineering tyrants. But there can be no question that if you’re married to one of those, it’s because you allowed it to happen AND failed to demonstrate competence

    I have seen some seriously self-flagellatory victim-blaming in my time…but this one just set off every single you-cannot-seriously-believe-what-you-just-wrote bone in my body.

    1. I’m sorry if you didn’t do a good job choosing a spouse. I wasn’t involved in the process, nor would I have been able to help because I didn’t know when I was 21 what I do now.

      1. That Squirrel Again

        Can you see how your remark would be interpreted were the shoe on the other foot?

        “Your husbands should never be domineering tyrants. But…”

        You’d be roasted, and rightfully so, for excusing away abuse.

        [puts soapbox away]

        Thanks nonetheless. I’m going to keep plugging away at my marriage, no matter how perplexing it may be.

        1. I just insulted your wife I didn’t know existed. I don’t always make the best commenting decisions. I’m still working on that.

          I’ll think about what you’re saying with respect and thoughtfulness, because I’m sure it’s a fair point in the context of fairness in marriage.

          But this has NEVER been about fairness for me.

          Here’s my quick-and-dirty take on marriage:

          Two people get married. I know sometimes they’re super-ignorant and never had a chance. But the kind of people who read crap I write are NOT super-ignorant. I’m not saying that because I think this stuff is particularly high-brow and intellectual. It’s merely the subject matter. Only a fairly intelligent and thoughtful person is going to spend time reading and thinking about the things I write.

          So, two SMART people say: “Let’s get married! I love you, you love me. Let’s do it. I’m confident we are going to love one another forever. I’m thoughful, and not rushing into this because I know what’s at stake. We’re going to make it.”

          And then 5-10 years later, everyone (that’s hyperbole) feels shitty and miserable and wants to divorce or bang other people.

          It’s the most devastatingly predicatable thing ever.

          And I’m just not going to listen to all the Red Pill bullshit. It’s NONSENSE, unless their wives have a serious mental illness, or can demonstrably be proven insane.

          Good man. Good woman. And they drive each other apart by a MILLION little, almost imperceptible pinpricks over the course of those five years.

          And dammit, I’m TELLING you, this is why. This little bullshit dish metaphor IS WHY more than half of all marriages entered into by totally smart and reasonable and competent adults end up divorced even though they NEVER wanted a divorce.

          This is WHY men and women feel so disconnected from their spouses and can emotionally justify having sex with other people.

          IT’S. JUST. WHY.

          And I’m not going to have a lot of tolerance for a bunch of people saying it’s because all men are stupid pigs and all women are needy, controlling, unpleasable, nags.

          That’s what people do who can’t accept responsibility for their lives.

          We are the sum of our choices.

          We are, right now, where we are, because of the choices we made.

          When husbands (and wives! but I focus on husbands because that’s what I know) make better choices, their lives are better.

          And their wives treat them awesome WHILE feeling good themselves.

          And for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it is about that, that sounds so damn horrible to everybody fighting about it.

          Own your shit. Love something greater than yourself.

          Reap the benefits.

          That’s what life is.

      2. I have to disagree. The ‘million little pinpricks’ theory is not really the reason why so many marriages fail. It’s a matter of selfishness (which is an inherent component of human psychology) or evolutionary behaviors, and changes in social taboos which have eroded the concept of permanence and family in marriage.

        Marriage as a life-long bond between two people that should exist until ‘death do us part’ is an invention of religious influences. Prior to the church declaring marriage a sacrament the number of wives or concubines a man could have was only limited by wealth and power.

        Evolutionary behavior constantly pushes people together to make little humans and pulls them apart to ensure greater breeding success through variation. Selfishness is about survival and successful breeding opportunities. This is brain chemistry at work and people fool themselves about how much control they really have over it.

        So no matter how many dishes you clean it’s likely the spouse will find a reason to be disappointed or develop interests in new relationships that diminish the value of the marriage (selfishness). Since the social taboos concerning divorce and infidelity are disappearing there is a lack of consequence or negative reinforcement to regulate behavior — with the notable exceptions of alimony, child support, and division of community property (ie: it’s cheaper to keep her is a legal and financial mechanism designed to reinforce religious influences).

        You cannot ultimately control a spouse’s feelings or actions. All of the suggestions about doing and saying things that are pleasing to the spouse are well and good (a form of emotional manipulation — also evolutionary behavior to increase breeding success). However, none of it guarantees a marriage will be successful long-term as so many divorcing couples prove annually through indulging in selfish behavior.

  93. Your article could also be entitled: “Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts.” Although you wrote it from the wife’s perspective, you merely meant to bring to light the hundreds of ways that married people in general take each other for granted, and disrespect each other. I get it. I’m sorry that some people saw it as a dig on men, because I don’t believe for a second that that was your point. Say “thank you” and “I appreciate you,” and “I’m sorry, I’ll try harder” and mean it — and that goes for both genders.

  94. After reading your blog – which I loved – I realized that I was guilty of this and caused my relationship to end. I am the woman in the relationship. Yup, women can be guilty of this too. I left because of the dirty dish by the sink, only my dirty dish was his daughter. She didn’t want her father to put me first, and so he didn’t. I kept trying to make him see my side and how I felt, right to the bitter end. I could no longer remember when he DID put me first. After all, he did ask me and my son to move in with him. He did let me rearrange and redecorate the house. He did give me the 2nd bay of the garage and the 2nd primo parking spot. All of which “I” had taken away from his then 21 year old daughter. She didn’t take it very well and boy did she let me know it. What I did, was go after him for letting her act that way. It got so clouded that I couldn’t see the good things anymore. We had a great relationship the first three years, but during the fourth year, after his 23 year old daughter stayed living at home after college, it went south. I let her get the best of me and took it out on him. I packed my things and moved out in August….she moved out in September. Now I regret it. I miss him.

      1. Thank you Kristi. Admission here in this blog was easy. The hard part was done in a letter to him (which I appropriately gave to him on New Year’s Eve) admitting to these and other behaviors of mine which most definitely played the biggest part of our breakup. Admitting my – less than nice – behavior was very hard, and maybe I was trying to cleanse myself, but I also needed him to know it wasn’t all him. Showing vulnerability to your spouse/significant other is not necessarily a bad thing.

  95. “Own your shit. Love something greater than yourself.” Put that on a bumper sticker, Matt, I’d buy dozens of them.

    As to abuse and victim blaming, well there are many men and women in the world who have managed to forgive and heal some huge wounds. I wish we were not so quick to equate victim blaming with taking responsibility. A spouse could be totally, completely in the wrong, but still one can take responsibility and move towards healing and reconciliation.I’ve seen it done.

    Physical safety is one thing, if you believe you are in danger, get out, get away, get safe. But emotional, spiritual, psychological discomfort, is another thing entirely. There are even battered women who will tell you, I finally broke the cycle of abuse when I took responsibility for the fact that I had been choosing these kinds of men. That doesn’t make it her fault, it makes her empowered.

  96. just read the huffpo article. just wanted to say, thank you. it took me years to figure out how to explain how i felt to my husband. he finally got it last year. now, we’re both trying harder and our relationship is slowly getting better.

    i forwarded the article to him….and let him know that i appreciate everything he’s done lately and how much i love him (in the form of beer and sandwiches.).

  97. Just found your blog with your last post. I found it well written with a clearly communicated message. Be encouraged and keep writing!

  98. You gave the post a click-bait headline, which no doubt is one of the reasons it got as many hits as it did. However, despite the feigned innocence, you had to have known using such a deliberately provocative title would result in at least some of that kind of feedback.

  99. Again.. Another amazing article! I love getting the male perspective and how you as a male acknowledge that men and women think differently and that communication is key!

    Thank you for sharing your talents!

  100. I’m so sorry I found your blog too late. My husband and I are about to separate for the second time, I’m too damn tired of hand holding and explaining everything over and over only to be blown off, treated as last priority, not defended or stood up for at all (even when the pastor who married us told me – ALONE – that he had feelings for me) and hearing things like “I felt no love for you on our wedding day;” “I don’t care about you when you’re mad at me” and “I would have left if I wasn’t trying to obey Jesus” and all the attending apologies that evidently do not portend changed behavior.

    Thanks for being brave enough to be saying what you’re saying here. You’re totally onto something and I can see that it’s already helpful to others.

  101. HI! I really loved your blog. It sounds as if you might have read books by Terrence Real. “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” a book about men and depression; “how Can I get Through To You” about the soul killing “dance of contempt ” that is the underlying dynamic of the gender wars and a third (can not remember the title) which offers unique and vastly different solutions to torn and battered marriage partners. Terrence is a family therapist who ALWAYS asks the men to go first when determining the course of correction in the job of marriage repair.

  102. Ok. I’ve been digesting your original post for days now. I feel your frustration with the people who can’t grasp the message that you put forth. (To the men that were rude and crass.. your insecurities are showing; stuff them back behind your pathetic veneer of manhood.) It took guts to own your role in your divorce. It’s painfully obvious not a lot of men can look at themselves as honestly as you have. I admire you for that. I instantly knew what you were saying with the title. It’s not about the glass, or the socks, or any tangible thing. It’s about respect for your spouse, no matter the gender. I’m sure this issue happens with gay couples just as well as heterosexuals. When one spends most of their time cleaning up after able-bodied spouses, or is being devalued in some other way, it becomes crystal clear that it’s about respect. When you don’t feel respected or valued as an equal, there’s only so long you can take it. I’ve been married almost 28 years. It wasn’t easy at first, but it’s gotten a lot better. Marriage takes a lot of work.

  103. Well, I got here through Huffpost and read the dishes post. That was also us (although there were never any dishes arguments). The bottom line, I didn’t want to be Mommy to a 40 year-old. For some reason, when I told him that I was exhausted and wanted respect for the work I did, he never seemed to believe me. Soooo…When I finally filed the papers, the change was dramatic. It was like hitting someone over the head with a sledgehammer. And he GOT it. Now, when I come home after a 15 hour day at work and sit down to help my 12 year old with his homework, hubbs no longer whines at me that I forgot to peel the orange I packed in his lunch. Now…he peels his own damned orange.

    1. Sounds familiar…except that my husband ONLY responds when there’s a crisis. Then, it’s back to prioritizing everything and everyone else. Always. Even though he talks it up like he cares “so much” about me. It’s completely crazy-making.

      1. ^^^ Mine was like that too. I realized that I was in for a lifetime of either being his mommy or having to separate or threaten to leave every so often. I opted not to do either, I knew either way it would kill me eventually.

  104. I guessing that a majority of the people who left that kind of negative feedback are either A) Not married B) In Denial or C) They just didn’t quite get what you meant. Hopefully this post clarifies.

    I recently began my own blog on marriage because I am genuinely trying to figure this stuff out as it is truly the little things that we fight over the most – and baffles me. I particularly liked the “Eat shit, wife” bit, that is truly a conversation I have in my head almost daily and I have to fight it back. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I’m already halfway through it before I realize what I’m doing.

    When marriage is about my rights vs. yours, it is doomed for failure.

    1. Just try to be an adult.

      As soon as you’re perfect and mistake-free, I’ll grant you permission to cast more stones on my posts.

      This is not about gender. This is not about Man vs. Woman.

      This is about trying to help people who WANT to be married, stay married.

      You’re just not right about this. Sorry.

      1. Matt,
        I am glad that you are doing something good here. I have been married almost 20 yrs. I can honestly say that my marriage has been tested and yes, there was a time that we had considered ending our marriage, but never did. To me marriage is a commitment between a man and a woman, but it is also a promise between them, and God. When I married my wife it was for better or worse. Richer or poorer. I was making a promise to love my wife regardless of what came our way. When I said those wedding vowels to her, I was making a promise not just to her, but to God as well. We live in a society of divorce and people who advocate that it is okay to divorce when we cannot resolve our problems. There are many things to consider before committing to marriage. Get to know the person you want to marry. Know her likes and dislikes. Learn what her love language is: touch, complimenting, encouraging, etc. I think sometimes as men we forget some of these things. Just some thoughts that I had and wanted to share them.

    2. Happily Married


      Thank you for the link to the HuffPo article. It may be a few years old, but it’s obviously more relevant than anything at this site. Very refreshing.

    3. Yes! This is exactly how things should be. I know my ex felt that it was a competition, that she worked harder. The guy who wrote that article is correct. It’s not a competition.
      Thanks for sharing that.

  105. I don’t know what else to say, but thank you. Your “dishes” article accurately describes the issues I have with my husband who I am considering divorce from. I believe your pieces speak both from experience and heart and I’m glad to have stumbled upon them. Thank You.

  106. Oh man, this opened an enormous can of worms when I posted the link to my Facebook wall. My god, the comments. The willfully ignorant devil’s advocates! Why aren’t you on Facebook? I want to tag you so you can help me out. I can’t take on the trolls alone!

  107. I GOT the article.. I completely understood what you were saying, and the article was one of the most well written things I’ve read in a while. I forwarded it to all my friends, and even asked my boyfriend to read it. He didn’t of course, but I really wish he would have. That article is what got me to subscribe to your blog, and I’m SO glad that I did! I look forward to reading all of your posts, and anyone who had something bad to say is just a tool. You’ll always have those certain people that are going to put you down. Don’t worry about them, I think you are really on to something! Hopefully more “people” will open their eyes and realize what’s really going on in their relationships. I said “people”, because it can be the man or the woman that’s getting their feelings hurt about the “dishes”, or whatever the case may be. My boyfriend doesn’t get it, and unfortunately we probably won’t be together much longer. There are kids involved and that makes it so much harder for me to leave. Anyway, loved the article!!

  108. TheWifeWho'sDone

    I saw the dirty dishes post shared on FB, and read the link. It was the first time I visited your blog. And I spent the next 4 hours there, reading a good bit more. Obviously, I’m back today. And, as a wife who separated from her husband of more than 25 years 2 years ago, I totally got your metaphor. I love metaphors. I use them all the time, much to the dismay and confusion of my literally-minded estranged husband and sons. But my daughters totally get them. And I think you get it. I’ve spent years trying to explain the concept in that blog. I fought the urge to forward the blog to DH, which, if I had indulged myself, I would have captioned: “It’s NEVER about the damn dishes.” After so many tears, emails, discussions, begging, pleading, arguing, nagging, demanding, counseling, praying,and 2 years of separation, I suspect my DH gets it, too, intellectually, at least. But that journey from getting it in your head to your heart in a meaningful way that changes behavior is sometimes just too far for some to sojourn. And in my case, it’s not “just” what you call the “shitty husband” stuff. It’s also the “asshole” abusive stuff, infidelity, porn addiction, and according to the therapist, an addiction to anger and blame, Oh, yeah, and entitlement. What hurts the most is the denial, the utter absence of empathy, lack of acknowledgement, and invalidation. What makes me the angriest are the apologies…..he’s so sorry, only not because of the pain he’s caused our family, but for himself, and the consequences he suffers now, and the pain he’s in. Apparently, it’s not enough pain to motivate him to change his behavior, and I’m not giving any more chances without change. I accept the reality that I can’t change him. I accept that he’s a grown man, and he gets to choose NOT to change. I’ve changed myself, a lot, and I’m still a work in progress, especially the part where I choose how to respond to his latest antics. He still wants to come home, which is odd, because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like the NEW, OLD me: the 2.0 version. At least I got really good at rolling with the rest of life on my own. And that part’s not bad. I’m so grateful for what I have. If I die with nothing more than what I have right now, I will have been richly blessed. Thanks for what you wrote. I feel validated. I hope you get through to some of the Martians who don’t speak Venetian.

    1. I absolutely LOVE what you just said!!! I’m right there with you!! I’m trying to just go on with my life hoping my boyfriend will change, but deep inside I know he never will, which is not my place to try and make him change. Also the reason he’s my boyfriend and NOT my husband. We still live together out of convenience, which is getting pretty miserable. Just wanted to tell you I really enjoyed reading your comment. ?

  109. Ignore the trolls. You wrote your truth, and you wrote mine as well. Thanks for putting it into words that made sense out of the insanity. I am living through this EXACT SITUATION and fantasize about divorce every damn day, for exactly these reasons. I realized yesterday that he is actually so passive aggressive and lazy that he will drive me to do all the work in the breakup, too. Best of luck to you and yours.

  110. I saw a link to your “dishes” post in a tweet. My heart started beating out of my chest as I saw myself in almost every word. Know this: That post will be responsible for saving my marriage and making my wife very happy. Keep doing what you are doing. My deepest thanks.

  111. It has been fascinating for me to read your posts. I’ve now spent several days on your blog. 17 years ago I divorced a man who repeatedly did minor things like leaving the glass on the counter. Only it was magnified. I would cook supper, wash, dry and put away the dishes, clean the kitchen spotless and just when I was about to turn out the light and end my work day, he would come in the kitchen and make a banana split. Which as you can guess involved knife, cutting board, ice cream scoop, different spoons for the sauces, bowl. He would then cheerfully leave his mess and go eat his banana split. 30 minutes later when I would ask (later tell) him to clean the kitchen he would actually whine and ask, “can’t I wait until after this show is over?” Three hours and two shows later I would again be cleaning the kitchen, just so I could have it spotless before bed and not have a mess when I came home from work, school or my internship (we didn’t eat breakfast or drink coffee, so it wouldn’t be messed up in the morning).

    And that was my life. Only it just wasn’t making the kitchen a mess after I cleaned it. It was everything. Not rinsing the sink after he shaved. Not brushing his teeth then wanting to be romantic. Leaving a trail clothes on the way to the bedroom. Not putting wet towels in the plastic container and letting them mold/mildew the carpet. I felt like a shrew and that I was his mommy. We lived together for three months before we married. Trust me, he was NOT like this before the wedding.

    He was lazy in and out of the bedroom. Again – not before the wedding. I’m not exaggerating the following and I am being as tasteful as possible. On our honeymoon he told me that it really disgusted him to touch me below the waist with anything but his penis. Once he said that, there was no taking it back and our sex life was destroyed from that moment.

    What l’ve learned:

    It’s not about the glass. It would be nice if men could see that a spotless kitchen, without a single dirty dish signals the end of the work day. This is assuming the kitchen is not also a drop zone or unofficial home office. Ours wasn’t.

    It’s really hard to have sex with your son. Which was as distasteful to me as my body was to him. I didn’t feel like he was an adult or a partner in the marriage. I felt like I was the grown up who had to solve all the problems.

    This is touched on in another post. That loss of trust, that frequent feeling of being let down it erodes the love a partner has. One glass at a time.

    I’m amazed at the number of men (primarily) who have commented about missing the toilet, being dirty around the house, missing the laundry hamper or not putting a glass in the proper place. They KNOW this will bug their partner. They KNOW it is not the way they should act. Yet they do it anyway.

    Little acts of sabotage do not show love, honor and cherishing.

    Thank you for your writing and allowing me to post. I conclude with two questions for Matt or other readers/posters.

    1. Why do men (and women) intentionally do things that they know will draw negative attention from their partner?

    2. What are different methods to change the behavior? Please note: I didn’t say change the person.

    1. 1. I honestly don’t think it’s intentional, or at least not intentional from the standpoint of actively seeking a negative response. As referenced in Matt’s post (and continuing with his analogy), it’s because we’re just waiting for the light bulb to go off for our wives where they realize we men were right all along–it’s just a stupid dirty dish. Entire galaxies will come into being and smash themselves out of existence in the lifespan of this Universe that’s been built on a foundation of chaos, so how can a stupid dirty dish matter in the grand (or even meager) scheme of things? We’re not seeking a negative response from women; we’re waiting for them to start thinking like men. It is our own little uniquely male version of insanity: practicing the same behaviors/approach over and over again, expecting a different result.

      2. For me, and I can speak for no other, it was that simple realization as highlighted in this article (though I came to the same conclusion about a month before this blog post went live, thank God–had I not, I would have been too late) that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO MATTER TO ME, BUT THE FACT THAT IT MATTERS TO HER HAS TO. I will never give one friggin’ flip about the dishes piling up. I’ll never even notice those little dried pee drops around the rim of the toilet. I’ll never give two squats about that giant pile of tree limbs that fell down over two years ago in an ice storm and have sat there ever since–hell, I don’t live out in the backyard, do I?–and I’ll sure never feel zipadeedoodah about dropping $250 of my hard-earned wages for someone to come haul them all away. But they matter to her. I hate that they do. It seems like such wasted psychological and emotional energy to me that they do. BUT THEY DO. And if I love this woman as much as my wedding vows say I do, then I have to be all right with that. I have to understand that, like physics and advanced mathematics, just because it doesn’t make one whit of sense to me doesn’t mean it isn’t critical. My wife is critical. Her smile (oh, you can’t imagine what her perfect, high-wattage smile does to me), the twinkle in her eyes, her happiness, her contentment, her vitality, her peace of mind and heart are critical, and if they went away forever, none of the physical ease I awarded myself from ignoring dirty dishes, pee stained toilet rims or mountains of dead tree limbs will ever come anywhere remotely near filling the despairing, hellish hole she would have left in my heart and soul in her wake. It’s as simple as knowing that I love myself fully and completely…yet I love her more. I exist to do everything I can to make her life–not mine!–every rewarding thing it can and should be. I have to fully trust that her life’s mission will be reciprocal, but she owns that part of the story. All I own is my responsibility to her. Hand to God, I don’t intend to ever lose sight of my duty to her again.

      P.S. Hey, Matt, there’s a 19-year age gap between me (43) and my wife (24). I read your article on agesim in relationships. And there I was thinking you were all smart and err’thing. Tsk tsk. 😉

  112. Your article was brilliant. It was everything I’ve been trying to explain to my husband for the past 2-1/2 years. He said that he had never seen “it” explained so well and that for the first time he understood what I’ve been trying to explain. Thank you.

  113. I think it is pretty kind of you to even try to refute the teams of responses which invariably pop up to criticize anyone who decides to write about a topic involving the gender divide or marriage, at all. Metaphors and metonymy aren’t the intellectual currency of all the earth’s populace, and the more literal-minded amongst us will seize upon symbolism to attack you if there is something in your overall message they don’t like–such as the suggestion that men should work their hineys off at marriage. Of course they should. It’s not as though you are saying women shouldn’t. Marital equality doesn’t mean every discussion has to talk about each person an equal amount. That’s not feminism; it’s faulty arithmetic. I find your sincerity and desire to help others avoid a situation you’ve already fallen into quite, well, moving and sweet. of course it’s not about the dishes. Nor are those people’s criticisms really about you.

  114. Kudos to you! I rather enjoyed your “dishes” post. Folks will always find something to complain about when you’ve hit a nerve, so I say ‘well done’!

  115. I keep scrolling through these people who keep saying “you’re sexist, you’re offensive, blah blah blah”

    Don’t listen to them. I don’t know you, but I know your blog and it’s doing amazing things. Ignore them and keep pressing forward.

    1. Thank you, Amy.

      I haven’t always been as graceful over the past few days as I should have been.

      I’m still working on being kind even when it’s inconvenient.

      Your support means a lot.

  116. I’m a queer married man, and I got a lot out of what you wrote. My marriage has been in a spot for some time, at least in part due to the very issue you discuss so eloquently and honestly here. And as for those responses from folks who missed the point, oh how I feel for you–the internet is full of people who (intentionally?) ignore context and intent, like it’s their job to misinterpret something daily.

    Even so, a lot of people are clearly picking up on what you’re actually saying here, and it is most certainly applicable to any relationship; your perspective is valuable because it’s specific to your experience, not in spite of it.

    Personally, this was a very important article for me to read, and I am grateful to you for writing it, and glad that it was shared so widely. Trolls and lousy listeners aside, I feel certain that the people who needed to read this got something very real out of it, and that will stay with them. It’s a lesson they will carry from your life into theirs.

  117. Great read. You did a good job. I tweeted it to my husband, not because he isn’t amazing, but because he is, and I though it would give him more insight to the mind of a woman. My dad used to say, ‘you can throw a rock into a pack of dogs but the only one who yelps is the one who got hit. 🙂

  118. I got it when I saw your post this weekend. I was appreciative of your writing and thus shared with my husband. He has yet to comment but I have faith that he got it as well. Those who carried on unnecessarily we undoubtedly those which “lacked the intellectual capacity to understand it.”

  119. I read your dirty dishes in the sink post on Facebook and the woman who shared it had many comments from her friends. When I shared this with my fiance, he asked me how many men commented on my friend’s share and I said none. We had a long discussion and I told him that your post isn’t just about the “little things” men don’t do, as I feel it goes both ways. It was a good, healthy conversation for both of us and it made me conscious of “little things” (from my point of view) that I can work on that are big to him. Since our discussion, my fiance has been putting his dishes in the sink because he knows it’s a big deal to me. He’s been so conscious of this that he put his dirty dishes in a clean dishwasher. We both laughed. Thank you for the great writing. I’m following you now as I feel a relationship is like a job: it constantly needs attention, improvement, room for growth, as well as a genuine love and passion for being where you are at that time. My first marriage broke up after 26 years of being together, 23 married (by the time the divorce was final) and four beautiful sons that will never be the same. I told my oldest son that I don’t regret anything in my first marriage and there are no guarantees in life and it takes two to make any relationship work. What I did tell him is that you can’t be afraid of marriage as I feel like I learned from the mistakes made in the first to carry forward. Your blog is an eye opener from the guy’s point of view and I respect you for writing for all to see. Keep it coming as I will continue to use some of your posts for open discussions with my fiance.

  120. Clearly your original blogpost hit a raw nerve with some people.

    Those who read it and willfully (or stupidly) misunderstood your excellent points, then swarmed your blog/twitter to scream that you are wrong, wrong, wrong or to sling invectives… those people are the very embodiment of the toxic impulses, self-indulgence and egotism that destroy relationships.

    All of them. Parental. Marital. Familial. Collegial. Professional. Physical. Emotional. Intellectual. Spiritual.

    When someone invests all their energies and ego into proving that somebody else is wrong, so that they can shout victory, and thus claim they’re right… I just shake my head and walk away.

    There are people in the world who don’t want, nor need, to crush everyone into the dirt to feel good about themselves.

    There’s more joy and learning in seeking out people who choose to share human connections. People who are not aggressive, aggrieved or argumentative for the sheer misery of winning a fight they started.

    Your original blogpost was a pleasure to read and to learn from; as a student of the work of Marshall Rosenberg I greatly appreciated the power and pragmatism of the metaphor you chose. Your deconstruction of a deleterious dynamic into its basic components was exemplary, as was your explanation of how and why it was destructive. And you illustrated how a cognitive shift was required to repair the harm.

    All my respect, sir.

  121. It is damned pathetic that you had to put this many words into clarifying something that was pretty damned crystalline to anyone with a middle school level of reading comprehension. But, as the comedian once said, “You can’t fix stupid.” :/ Thanks again for your efforts.

  122. One of the things I’ve learned after 20+ years in HR is that people are famously good at hearing what they WANT to hear. (Example: You’re a good employee, but you need to show up to work on time. Fast forward a month to when you fire them for attendance, and they protest, “BUT YOU SAID I WAS A GOOD EMPLOYEE!”)

    So there are two types of naysayers here. Some that this article doesn’t apply to, because they have a healthy relationship and haven’t encountered this type of dysfunction. That group is blessed.

    Then you have the other group that will never, ever understand that the problem is staring at them in the mirror. With that group, you just have to shrug and move on. You can explain things to people, but you can’t understand for them. They have to get there on their own…or live in a world with stacks of failed relationships that were always the other person’s fault….

    1. This was very well said. I’m working very hard today to be grateful for all of the people who understood and appreciated the message, rather than feel frustrated and discouraged by the others.

      Thank you for this comment.

      1. It certainly took off in MY group of friends! Thank you for writing it – my sister really needed that validation. 🙂

        And remember, some people troll just to troll. People kind of suck sometimes….They’re not worth our energy.

  123. I get it. And I thank you. As a woman who lived it I read your posts as therapy. I was left alone in my marriage because why? I tried to understand and I tried to make it work. But I was the only one trying. Then I stopped caring. It was he who suggested divorce but was surprised when I said yes. He’s a good dad but he was a shitty, shitty husband.

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  125. Jennifer Beucher

    I absolutely understood the metaphor (of sorts). I am currently in a relationship with such a husband. I rarely post on social media myself (once per year, maybe), but use it as a way to keep current on sports, read a relevant psychological story, and affirmation crap (yes, crap, but positive crap is what I like). I very much appreciated your man insights. I have my female thoughts and feelings. I really don’t need to read more of that. Just like why “Men’s Health” is my favorite magazine. The reality of the male perspective is priceless (That and if I read one more story about how to exercise on a stupid ball or which make up to wear while exercising, I think I will hurl. Wait, too late). What I’m trying to say in parapgragh form is, thanks for sharing. Thanks for the hope. You got “it”. I’m not going to explain what “it” is to the critics claiming sexist or pansy. Because we all know, you can’t win a rational argument with an irrational person. But, thanks!

  126. Matt don’t let a few question yourself. I have been married for 23 years and the dishes in the sink was spot on. I have been know to put my share in the sink and have had several arguments due to that “little” thing. I actually read it to my wife an agreed with every word.
    Keep your thoughts flowing.

  127. I feel like “they” still aren’t getting it.
    Good for you for realizing it doesn’t matter if it should hurt but that it does hurt (someone’s feelings).

  128. I really enjoyed your article about the dishes. I am one of the millions of people who read it without knowing anything about you. I was struck by your insight. I wish I could communicate that to my husband in a way he would hear! But then I wonder if I’m making the same kind of mistake and just don’t know it?

    I also think this type of misunderstanding is closely related to having boundaries. Sometimes I want to be able to have a different opinion to my husband, and for us to just compromise from there, without having to have an argument about how I’m wrong to value what I value. A sort of “you have your petty thing; I’ll have mine” truce. But my husband is a bit more enamoured with the idea that we should reach agreement about everything through argument. It’s like he wants us to be alike in all our opinions (i.e., not even have boundaries there). I’m not sure it is an issue that can be resolved for us.

  129. Although I haven’t read through every single comment, the many I have read seem to be positive from women and negative from men. Matt, I think everything on this page that I have read so far has been wonderful. I’m not someone who usually reads blogs but once I started, I found it difficult to stop. Your honesty and humility is inspiring. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to be a life coach/mentor. You have made many mistakes, as we all have. But you have learned, changed and matured fromy your mistakes. That’s all you can do sometimes. ANYONE BRAVE ENOUGH TO TELL ANOTHER PERSON THAT THEY ARE WRONG is going to receive criticism. Very few people are willing to humble themselves and examine themselves and admit their faults. I commend you for being able to do so, especially so publicly. Please don’t be discouraged by the hate being spewed at you. We need you to keep writing.

  130. Matt, this was excellent, and it’s wonderful to know that there really are men who get the concept of loving behavior. After reading both articles and all their respective comments, I need to say three things:

    1) True communication is about understanding, NOT about winning. Anyone, whether male or female, who is focused on being “right” to the detriment of being Well is going to tank their relationship. No one should dominate anyone in a marriage, period. If you are so convinced of the rightness of your argument/position that you refuse to hear the other person– or worse, consider the fact that you’ve decided you are correct to be more important than being at peace– then you have already failed. Communicating is not the same as Convincing.

    2) Louis CK put it best when he said, “When someone tells you that you hurt them, YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE THAT YOU DIDN’T.” Feelings are not something that can be controlled, nor should they be labelled “right” or “wrong”. Feelings simply ARE. The only control we have is how we react to those feelings. Punishing someone because you don’t like the way they feel about something is selfish and unloving. No one is saying you should have to walk on eggshells. You simply need to acknowledge their feelings and respect them. Every man I’ve seen on here bitching about these posts has had an emotional reaction, which they then attempt to justify with logic. Feelings are not logical, they aren’t meant to be and they don’t have to be. That’s what critical thinking is for. And from a purely logical perspective, doesn’t it make sense to validate your partner’s feelings and seek a peaceful resolution? They’re happy, so no more nagging, so you’re happy. It’s selfish and unreasonable to expect someone else to stop feeling a certain way just because YOU feel like not dealing with it.

    3) We are not your mothers or your maids. Yes, when my ex husband and I decided that I would stay home with the kids and he would work to support the family, taking care of the home/laundry/meals etc was part of my job. However, that doesn’t excuse anyone from taking personal responsibility for themselves. Cleaning is one thing. Constantly picking up after you is another. It shows a fundamental lack of respect for my hard work and my time. Before I became a stay at home mom he was a generally neat person. As soon as we made the change he became a complete slob and acted horribly put upon when asked to simply BE POLITE and get his garbage in the trash, his dishes in the sink, etc. I don’t come down to your work place and make messes for you to clean up, so don’t do it to me either. And I promise you, the most libido-killing thing you can possibly do is force your partner into the position of caretaker. Who wants to get freaky with someone they resent?

    1. This was nice, thank you.

      I still very much have a problem with trying to “win” sometimes, or at least not maturely and self-confidently accepting criticism. It’s maybe my greatest flaw.

      There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

      I still have plenty to work on.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

    2. artemisinshadows

      My spouse always countered with….I didn’t know I was hurting you. Unfortunately he said it as if it were the equivalent of a get out of jail free card. “Yes you told me I was hurting you, but I didn’t understand or accept it… so all is forgiven whether I apologize or not”

  131. Any adult who shares a house should take responsibility for their own personal mess because they are adults not children and furthermore not pat themselves on the back for some grandiose act their part in bowing down to the wish of whomever they live with. On the other hand leaving your partner over something like this shows that it most likely a marriage that wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

  132. You shouldnt have to defend yourself to those people. Your article was a brilliant eye-opener for me and many of my friends who I shared it with. You put into words many thoughts that I have had for some time. I’ve been married for eleven years now, and have been truly blessed with a husband who understands my ‘dishes by the sink’. During these years I have also learned to mellow out and not attach so much importance and feelings to those ‘dishes’. To me, it all boils down to compromise and love. Even if I can’t understand why something is important to him, I will do it precisely because it is important to him, I love him, and want him to be happy. He does the same for me. With every act, it gets easier and easier, it feeds the love and the relationship.

  133. I feel enlightened in many ways by your blog Matt and I applaud you for writing about a situation that has happened in your life that you needed to make sense of and you have chosen to do so in a platform that others may take heed of and perhaps may find some perspective/insight into within their own relationships.
    I get up everyday very early, whereas my husband loves to sleep in and so by the time he arises I have usually had a few coffees and used all the water in the kettle – I very rarely remember to fill the kettle up for him. My husband HATES that I never leave enough water in the kettle, and he sure loves to get up me about it even now after years of this scenario taking place. I used to get very upset by his having to tell me this was such a problem, after all I clean up the pee on the floor and occasionally on the wall of the bathroom (I feel there’s just no comparison between filling the kettle and peeing on the floor and leaving it to your spouse to clean) but I do so mostly without complaint because to tell the truth he’s been doing it for this long (he’s 40 years old) and unless he somehow grows a new personality he’s probably never going to change. However, when our relationship was relatively new many arguments ensued over these “little” inane eccentricities that we each have and we would both stubbornly stand opposite each other defiantly provoking the other with any number of the thoughtless things we both do as weapons fueling the battle. But in the last few years I just don’t have the energy to do this anymore. We have young children, I study full time and work part time and I just don’t have the time, energy or inclination anymore to give a proverbial “rats ass” over the myriad of things that piss me off about my husband. My husband still makes a point of telling me when ever he feels it’s necessary to remind me of my thoughtlessness regarding the kettle and all the other things I do (and I can assure you I have never done these things on purpose, I have just forgotten the consequences – having to hear him carry on about my “lack of regard for him”). Yes it annoys me that he has to tell me, yes I have mused on many occasions that he’s positively nuts, and that he may have bi polar or at least be OCD about certain things and what the hell am I doing married to a kettle nazi anyway, and when I’m in a less than a forgiving mood I will fire a few select comments regarding the state of the bathroom floor and wall back at him (and on occasion when I feel it’s warranted remind him of “the other” things – which I won’t delve into here but which I find disgusting) but I try hard not to do this because ultimately it serves no purpose (he’s too stubborn to change) and it ends up upsetting all in the household.
    Marriage is oh so very hard, and just like children, there is no handbook that comes with each specific marriage detailing this particular “model” and how to “troubleshoot” the problems that may arise. It is very easy to get married, and it’s even easier to have children but little do most people fathom the life long responsibilities these entail. Perhaps it is another consequence of our “throw away” society that these two fundamental aspects of being human have degraded (and as anonymous -comment on the 26 of January points out that it’s a chemical/biological trait of human evolution). Regardless, it is very special and a privilege to find someone you believe you could spend the rest of your life with (and I don’t just refer to marriage here but all relationships whether you decide to marry or not) just as it is very special and a privilege to have children, we just often don’t realise it until it has been irreparably damaged and removed from us in the case of marriage/relationships or we discover that we cannot easily have children or we can but our child has been born with genetic problems that will either affect them their entire lives and/or shorten their existence. In effect these things remind us of how short life is, how much we take for granted and how we can totally “f*!k” things up being selfish and not stopping to think we are not the only person on earth no matter whether it’s a glass left on the side of a sink, not refilling the kettle or peeing on the floor of the bathroom!
    So try to think very carefully fellow humans as to your actions and your words and seek to discover and value another’s point of view particularly with those that you love no matter how crazy your spouse/partner may appear as they rant and rave over their pet peeve that you do, it may save your whole world from falling apart, which is what I feel Matt is trying to express here.
    Best of luck to you all xxxx

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  135. Very disheartening indeed that you had to put up with not just a bunch of unproductive venom, but unproductive venom from people who didn’t even get the point! I read the original post and loved it, because it was spot on. I made my husband read it, which he knows now he should do even if he finds it silly because it will make me happy (true story!). Although he now understands how this works, he used to be really bad about the “leaving dishes” sort of thing, and I could never explain to him why little things do matter. After reading the “dishes” post he accused me of writing it myself under a false name, or at the very least suspected that you had been spying on the many conversations we used to have about this very issue. But I’m one of the luckiest wives in the world because although I had to explain it a lot, he was willing to listen. And since this has to go both ways, I try to do the same for him for things I may think are inconsequential or silly, because it’s all about respect. Ignore the haters, you’ve had an insight here that means a lot to folks who know better.

  136. Please stop writing the same post everytime. You get divorced. Fine. Just move on instead of making it the center of your life.
    Damned! Shut the fuck up.

    1. Read a lot of my stuff, do you Igor? I’ll try to get some new material for my audience of guys NOT interested in divorce who tell me to shut the fuck up. Thanks for the suggestion!

      1. Ignore him.
        Pathetic soul.
        Though he’s very rude to you….I pity him. Clearly you only want to prevent others from divorces by learning from your mistakes.
        Forget about him…move on to cure our souls….

    2. If you do not like “reading the same posts” then why don’t you hit the unlike button on his page so you dont have to be bothered? No one is forcing you to stay nor read the post. Just a thought.

  137. I thought the original post was very well written and its point was very clear, and so was the fact that the glass was the metaphor for a deeper problem in communication and understanding. (I’m sorry you got so much negative feedback for it, but that seems to be the way of the internet these days.) Your advice is good for anyone who is struggling to do better in a relationship, I think. Thank you.

    1. I am puzzled why some people didn’t understand his message….he’s very clear.
      I found him the second time.
      I first read his article on something else that is so relevant and related to reality a few months ago.
      Yours is well said.

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  139. Matt, my husband read your “dishes” blog three times before he really started to get it. This morning, I found this list written by a pissed off me after a fracas that came out of what happened as we were preparing to have people to dinner a while ago. Husband is the cook, so in no way am I saying he does nothing, if not 50%. . I am trying to illustrate why woman get so angry over a “dish left in the sink”.

    We agree that we want to have a pleasant, not too stressful day getting ready for dinner party. We agree that a fair use of time and energy is that he does everything in the kitchen and feeds and de-poops the cats, while I do all the house cleaning and table setting. He is “done” and on the computer. I say great, I am almost done, too, why don’t you take your shower. I look happily at the clock knowing that we will, once I get in the shower, have that half an hour to sit together and have a glass of wine. Then I walk into the kitchen.

    Here’s the list of things I had to finish;

    Wash, dry, put away: 4 pots, 2 cutting boards, 2 colanders and a bunch of small things
    Make 2 of the 3 components of the appetizer
    Refill the pepper grinder
    Refill the pasta container
    Get the wine
    Wash down all the counters and prep areas
    Straighten out the refrigerator so things don’t topple out when we move one thing to get to another
    Wash out and recycle the cat food cans
    Clean the cat litter
    Refill litter
    Sweep floor
    Remind him to take out the garbage so we would have a clean can for after the party

    Now, no one of these things took much time. The aggregate, however, took the time that would have made this a pleasant experience and made it, excuse me for screaming, A
    F—ING TIME CRUNCH THAT LANDED DIRECTLY ON ME! This, as a constant, which it is, means that I never get to totally give over things. I always have to follow up, by reminding, by checking to make sure it is really done, by finishing it. The problem is not only that it happens so often, but that when it doesn’t, when he does what he says he will, 100%, I still cannot relax because I never know when that time will take place. My head feels like it is going to implode from keeping all that information straight and that makes me, no surprise, cranky.

    My husband is a good guy, but he is pretty oblivious. Reading your blogs, Matt, has really helped.

    To end on a funny note. I handed him a tablecloth and asked him to put it on the garden table. I walked out right before the party and there the cloth was, on the garden table, still folded.

    Oops, something he wants me to add. We rent our home for parties so work with lots of catering servers. He has remarked for years, in wonderment, that the women, in general, do much more work. So I asked him to break it down for me. This is what he said.

    50% of the young men work poorly. 90% of the older (over 40, plenty of time to have been married and divorced) men work hard.

    98% of the young women work hard. 100% of the older women work hard.

    1. This was a really interesting and entertaining comment, Shannon. I wasn’t always sure what the tone of it was, but it sounds like you guys discuss these things, and I get the impression most people don’t.

      It’s awesome that you talk. About stuff that really matters. I hope you always will.

      To many years. Cheers.

    2. I am puzzled why some people didn’t understand his message….he’s very clear.
      I found him the second time.
      I first read his article on something else that is so relevant and related to reality a few months ago.
      Yours is well said.

    3. “To end on a funny note. I handed him a tablecloth and asked him to put it on the garden table. I walked out right before the party and there the cloth was, on the garden table, still folded”

      Did he do this deliberately or because he took what you said literally?
      I remember doing a course on desktop publishing and I was struggling with it, as were my colleagues. To cheer us up, the tutor said that on another course he’d asked the class to move their mouse across the screen. One woman literally did just that. Picked up her mouse and moved it across the screen.

      We felt so much after hearing that.

      I don’t know if this is impertinent, but does your husband have ADHD/Aspergers? Your description of the kitchen just rang a bell with me as well as taking your instructions literally.

      I could be way off base here of course. But I really enjoyed reading your post anyway.

  140. Of course, it was obvious that the original article was not about dishes. It was caring – maybe that is not the best word, but it is the one that hits the spot with me. I am here on Sarah’s Attic because I am a fellow member of Blogger’s World out to get better with some folks I don’t know very well. I’m marking your follow and inviting you to come browse a bit with me also.

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  142. “Boundaries which are ideally discussed and mutually respected during the dating process and long before anyone agrees to marry.” —-ABSOLUTELY!! Communication all throughout the relationship, from day one and on, is essential for knowing how we are feeling about each other and decide together the route to take from there.
    Often times no matter how lovely the dating relationship may seem, it may not lead to a strong marriage in the future so talking about what is important to each party PRIOR to getting married is a MUST!

    1. I suspect, though can’t possibly know for sure, that many people, have really not done ANY self examination. They don’t know themselves, their likes, dislikes, things they are happy to do, if asked, things they would never do unless the person commanding was Hitler himself, and Herman Goering was standing over them, suggesting they take a look at the taks, and with a smile do it, or else they’d be taking a long train ride – east to Dacau, or Buckenveldt (Is that how you spell them?)

      And the young, who spend too much time telling you their opinion, seem to be worst at it… (Reminds me of the old saying… “You were given two eyes, two ears and one mouth… Use them in those proportions.”)


  143. I completely understood your first post!! Sorry for the haters. I was impacted by your first post because it’s totally where I am at right now after 12 years of a lonely marriage. I appreciate the fact that YOU finally got it! I hope and pray that my husband will get it before a divorce happens. Until then, I continue to seek health for my kids and myself, and pray that doesn’t mean divorce.

    1. I love one of his post that I first read. It makes me come back for this dishes post and the sequel of this “it’s not about dirty dishes. ..”

  144. I loved this post, and I too, am sorry for the people who “just didn’t get it.” I bawled like a baby because you were so “spot on.” This is exactly how I have always felt, yet could never get the message across in such a way. I too had my husband read it. What an impact. Thank you. Please don’t ever stop writing, and ignore the ignorant people.

  145. HumanoidMaybe

    Have you written about the husband and farther yet, who makes great dinners and also great speeches to wife & teens about how important it is that everyone takes their own stuff from the table to the dishwasher after dinner? How it makes him feel like his cooking is appreciated if we do?

    And then leaves his breakfast dishes on that same table some 2-3 times per week, and random teacups, beer bottles and sandwich plates somewhere in the house some 4-5 times per week.

  146. Dear new man…I never thought that article has a complimentary sequence.
    You’re right in explaining why you’re wrong!
    If your wife is still single….I pray you prove her you deserve the second vow….
    Both your articles before and this one are true and right.
    I don’t attack you for bring truthful that you were wrong….I only wish you both to reunite again forever…

  147. I have read both articles multiple times. I’d like to say to anyone who thought the article was truly about “dishes” and not about respect could not have read to actually retain the information.

    I personally, as a woman, have struggled with bluntly telling my husband how my needs to be respected so blatantly go unattended.
    Daily i struggle with choosing to stay. I struggle with how much longer I can allow his value of me be so inconsequential.
    It’s not about the “dishes”,the laundry or the number of other undone chores. It’s that no matter how many times i ask, b**ch or cry over my need to be respected he obliviously goes about his day doing what he wants when he wants without even a second thought of how it might effect others. Men and women all need to understand that mutual respect can keep us in our marriages. It’s not about caring if the”dishes” are done for your spouse its about caring that you spouse feels respect, honor and loved from you. It’s about hearing one another’s needs and accomodating to the best of your abilities because you don’t want them to question that you value them as the person they’ve CHOSEN to do life with.

    Before I end this very long rant, which was intended to just be a quick comment, I’d like to add; how many women can honestly say they have ALWAYS shown these same things to their husbands. To get respect and honor we have to reflect those things. How quick are we to throw them into the nightly routine as soon as they walk in the door without considering they might need an unwind moment. How quick are we to give them the “Honey do” list without first considering their choices of activities to do with their time off. I know I’ve been guilty of these things. Marriage takes compromise, communication, respect, and is a constant reevaluation. What I’ve been learning recently is that it boils down to wheredo you find your joy. If It’s in your spouse’s submission to your needs and wants you’ll/they’ll always fall short. Joy can’t be gained in someone elses actions it has to be your choice to be joyful. I feel that for me that’s done by seeking God, by finding joy in my salvation, praying for my spouse and for my relationship. I choose to respect him even when I’m not feeling the same in return, to keep the lines of communication open so that we can work toward a more unified relationship.
    It’s NEVER just about the “dishes”.

    1. Before I got to your last paragraph, I was going to mention Laura Doyle’s “Empowered Wife”, the book and podcast. After reading your last paragraph I think that you’d get a lot out of it. The website and podcast are good places to start.

  148. the dish is a proxy….sometimes its a thousand little cuts that cause a marriage to dissolve. Well written

    1. A thousand little cuts, indeed. I’ve used that same analogy a few times. It’s dangerous because the cuts seem so “minor” that few people realize they can kill you (metaphorically) as the number of them mount.

      People don’t know until they know.

      Sadly, that’s often after it’s too late to save something that once was very good.

  149. I married my husband a year ago. He is a good guy and has a good heart, but he doesn’t care about me.I helped him in tough financial times. I even helped him normalize his immigration status. I feel no appreciation whatsoever. I also have to deal with depression, school and all the household work. Today I had a breakdown, and I have decided to leave him. I have been living by myself since I was 17. I certainly sometimes feel loneliness, and I will feel more lonely after he leaves, but I am not longer willing to be let run over and used by him.

  150. I have asked my husband of over 40 years multiple times to read your articles.
    He did, once upon a time. After nearly divorcing he STILL WON’T READ WHAT I SEND TO HIM.
    Howard…. IF you read this (and I know you won’t as I have specifically asked you to also read the comments as you can usually learn even more than from the article itself…

    THAT matters.

  151. I have been married 20 years. If my wife sends me an article to read, I will not read it. If she tells me to slow down my driving I want to speed up. However, once she said “it would mean a lot to me if you did a thorough job of wiping down the table and rinsing out the sink” I have been doing this ever since. It may be immature, but I have a huge control button when it comes to my wife, and I do not like being told what to do, my instinct is to rebel. However if she says “I would love it if you… It would mean a lot if you…” then I want to comply because I love her dearly. Her pride however does not allow her to ask me this in the way that I need, and my pride will not allow me to share with her that all I need is for her to simply tell me something is important. Needless to say, our marriage is on the rocks and we are struggling. No one knows what it like, to be the bad man, to be the sad man, behind these blue eyes.

    1. Oh wow. I don’t know how well this will go down with your wife, but give her a link to Laura Doyle’s website, podcast and book ‘The Empowered Wife” and check them out yourself.

  152. All good stuff, my brother sent me to your blog. I liked the dishes post, it makes a lot of sense, and I already “get it” although sometimes I just don’t care enough. I’ve been yelled at and shamed and scolded like a dog way too many times to keep waging my tail. I’m exhausted with trying to think like a woman. I do my best and if that isn’t good enough for her, bye! On another note, why aren’t there more blogs like this for women? Because women are completely infallible in relationships and marriage. Thusly they never have to apologize because they are never wrong. It must be true because society blames only men. Maybe that’s why the huge majority of divorces are started by women? They are perfect and their husbands just don’t cut it.

    1. I don’t know about blogs but Laura Doyle’s “Empowered Wife” book and podcast does a similar thing to Matt, but from the worman’s point of view. Her book and podcast are aimed at women,. No doubt there are others, but I suspect that they come from a religious perspective.

      Women do file for the majority of divorces, but it can also be that the marriage has broken down, but men are reluctant to file and do the paperwork, so in the end he woman does it..

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Matt Fray

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