I wash. You dry.

Something strange just happened.

I was washing dishes by hand. I was about halfway through the load and the drainer was full. This isn’t unusual for me. I use too many prep dishes when I cook because I’m learning to cook from watching YouTube videos and they split everything out into little cups before mixing it together.

I have a system. I wash until the drainer is full, then dry and put away. It works.

But, tonight, as I transitioned from washing to drying, a thought occurred.

It would be nice to have someone to dry.

The thought caught me off guard. I’ve lived alone for years. I value my solitude and enjoy owning my personal space. I guard it.

For the first time in a long time, I had a pleasant thought about sharing my life with another person.

Before my walls of self-sufficiency and bravado could be damaged too much, my mind interjected another thought.

Is there a correlation between dishwashers and divorce rates?

Two thoughts followed:

  1. I should send this idea to Freakenomics
  2. Would my marriage have been more successful if we had washed and dried dishes by hand?

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there is much correlation. But, my brain was determined to make this leap. It knows me well enough to create a parable. So, I explored it a little farther.

My mind gets plenty of time to explore these ideas when I wash dishes.

There is an important lesson I failed to learn before getting married. A marriage isn’t just love and desire. It’s a partnership. A successful marriage involves sharing every aspect of your life with your spouse.

I’ve never been good at sharing.

Every relationship I’ve been in has been killed by an inability to communicate. I know from conversations with my ex-wife, we both felt like we were being taken advantage of in different ways. And, we were both right.

Could something as simple as, “I’ll wash, you dry,” created a better dialogue?

I take ten minutes to wash and dry the dishes. Working in tandem with someone, it would only take five. But, it is five minutes of working side-by-side, sharing in a common duty.

By the end of my marriage, five minutes was more time than we spent together in the same room.

Maybe washing dishes by hand would’ve saved us. Maybe not. We had a lot of problems to work through. But, it might have been a catalyst.

It’s too late to say now. The damage is done. Life moves forward.

But, if I do ever share my life with someone again, I might consider washing dishes by hand. It might be the five minutes I need to make sure I’m communicating.

But, for now, I’m content to have my dishes washed, dried, and put away. My emotional wounds are healing, but the scars aren’t faded yet.