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The Real Reason My Wife Divorced Me

By Matthew Fray

It’s about way more than just the dirty cereal bowl.

My wife divorced me because sometimes I leave dishes by the sink. It seems so unreasonable when you put it that way. It makes her seem ridiculous and makes me seem like a victim of unfair expectations.

We like to point fingers at other things to explain why something went wrong, like when Biff Tannen crashed George McFly’s car and spilled beer on his clothes, but it was all George’s fault for not telling him the car had a blind spot.

This bad thing happened because of this, that, and the other thing — not because of anything I did.

Sometimes I leave used drinking glasses by the kitchen sink, just inches away from the dishwasher. It isn’t a big deal to me now. It wasn’t a big deal to me when I was married. But it WAS a big deal to her.

Every time she’d walk into the kitchen and find a drinking glass by the sink, she moved incrementally closer to moving out and ending our marriage. I just didn’t know it yet. But even if I had, I fear I wouldn’t have worked as hard to change my behavior as I would have stubbornly tried to get her to see things my way.

The idiom “to cut off your nose to spite your face” was created for such occasions.

Men are not children, even though we behave like them.

Feeling respected by others is important to men.

Feeling respected by one’s wife is essential to living a purposeful and meaningful life. Maybe I thought my wife should respect me simply because I exchanged vows with her. It wouldn’t be the first time I acted entitled. One thing I know for sure is that I never connected putting a dish in the dishwasher with earning my wife’s respect.

Yesterday, I responded to a comment in which someone suggested things wives and mothers can do to help men as an olive branch instead of blaming men for every marital breakdown. But I remember my wife often saying how exhausting it was for her to have to tell me what to do all the time.

It’s why the sexiest thing a man can say to his partner is, “I got this,” and then take care of whatever needs taken care of.

I always reasoned: “If you just tell me what you want me to do, I’ll gladly do it.”

But she didn’t want to be my mother; she wanted to be my partner, and she wanted me to apply all of my intelligence and learning capabilities to the logistics of managing our lives and household.

She wanted me to figure out all the things that needed to be done, and devise my own method of task management.

I wish I could remember what seemed so unreasonable to me about that at the time.

Men can do things.

Men invented heavy machines that can fly in the air reliably and safely. Men proved the heliocentric model of the solar system, establishing that the Earth orbits the Sun. Men design and build skyscrapers, and take hearts and other human organs from dead people and replace the corresponding failing organs inside of living people, and then those people stay alive afterward. Which is insane.

Men are totally good at stuff.

Men are perfectly capable of doing a lot of these things our wives complain about. What we aren’t good at is being psychic, or accurately predicting how our wives might feel about any given thing, because male and female emotional responses tend to differ pretty dramatically.

“Hey, Matt! Why would you leave a glass by the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher?”

Several reasons:

  • I may want to use it again.
  • I don’t care if a glass is sitting by the sink unless guests are coming over.
  • I will never care about a glass sitting by the sink. Ever. It’s impossible. It’s like asking me to make myself interested in crocheting or to enjoy yard work. I don’t want to crochet things. And it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario in which doing a bunch of work in my yard sounds more appealing than ANY of several thousand less sucky things which could be done.

There’s only ONE reason I will ever stop leaving that glass by the sink; a lesson I learned much too late: Because I love and respect my partner, and it REALLY matters to her. I understand that when I leave that glass there, it hurts her — literally causes her pain — because it feels to her like I just said, “Hey. I don’t respect you or value your thoughts and opinions. Not taking four seconds to put my glass in the dishwasher is more important to me than you are.”

All of a sudden, it’s not about something as benign and meaningless as a (quasi) dirty dish.

Now, it’s a meaningful act of love and sacrifice, and really? Four seconds? That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing too big to do for the person who sacrifices daily for me.

I don’t have to understand WHY she cares so much about that stupid glass; I just have to understand and respect that she DOES.

Chick-fil-A Summer Skills Camp Stirs Up Controversy With People Calling it “Child Labor”

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