Want Your Spouse to Do the Dishes? Avoid These 2 Words, Says a Marriage Counselor

couple doing dishes

You always take out the trash. And your partner never folds the laundry. But, of course, if you were to ask them, they would tell you that they’re always the ones going to the grocery store while you never refill the Brita. Look, even if all that was true, you might want to rethink how you bring this up to your S.O. That’s according to Chanel Dokun, a certified New York City life planner trained in marriage and family therapy. 

But how are you supposed to get your other half to do their fair share of household chores if you don’t point out how little they’re doing?

“The secret to getting your spouse to do what you want is to avoid saying ‘always’ or ‘never,’” says Dokun. Why? “Those words feel generalized and dismissive of any effort the other person has made.”

Just imagine how it would feel if, after a busy afternoon of cleaning the bathroom, doing the laundry, washing the dishes and taking care of the dog, your partner turned to you and said, “You never wash the car.” They may be right, but pointing out what you don’t do totally undervalues all the work that you do put into your home and shared life together.

Instead, adopt Dokun’s favorite word: more. As in, ‘I wish you’d help out more with the dishes.’ “This statement gives your partner the benefit of the doubt while also clearly getting across the desired behavior you’re hoping to see,” she says. 

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...