5 Strategies for Getting Your Partner to Wash the Dishes for You

published May 21, 2015
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(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Scenario: You and your partner made dinner, devoured the whole thing, and now there’s a pile of dishes sitting in the sink. You know it’s your turn to tackle the dishes, but you really don’t want to. Not even a little bit. So, how do you convince your sweet, loving, adoring partner to do them for you?

When your household doesn’t follow the Golden Rule of dishwashing, and asking politely won’t quite cut it, turn to these five sneaky strategies to wheedle your partner into a little dishwashing action.

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

1. Turn it into a competition.

Decide that night – preferably before or while you’re eating dinner – that you want to make washing dishes a competition in your relationship. Suggest that whoever does the most dishes that week gets a special prize – maybe they get to decide the movie one night. Fully intend to lose said competition.

2. Suggest you do the dishes together.

If you have a gut feeling your partner definitely won’t do the dishes by himself, suggest you do them together. Attempt the whole “you wash, I dry” strategy. (Everyone knows drying is easier anyway.)

3. Pretend to fall asleep after dinner.

Right after dinner, when the table has been cleared and it’s about time to tackle the dish pile, yawn a couple times and pass out on the couch. If your partner nudges you to see if you’re awake or tries to wake you up to do the dishes, just grunt and roll over.

The only problem with this strategy is you might have to fake sleep for a little while, depending how long it takes for your partner to do the dishes.

4. Withhold dessert or TV.

Do you and your partner watch a TV series together? Or is there a pint of ice cream in the freezer that you planned on splitting? Say you don’t “feel like it” right now, but maybe if she washes some of the dishes you might be in the mood. It’s a small threat – and it might leave you without TV or dessert – but it’s a strong tactic. This one works on me a lot.

5. Promise a five-minute back rub.

If all else fails, promise your partner a five-minute back rub if they’ll do the dishes. If there are lots and lots of dishes to be done, maybe make it 10 minutes. You might not have any dishes to do, but you’ll end up doing a little work in the end. It’s definitely a fair trade.

Do any of these strategies work on your partner? Or — let’s be honest — on you?