Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Parable of the Dishwasher (and Other Meaningless Metaphors)

We have been married for almost fourteen years, and for nearly all of those years, not to mention all the years before we got married, Ren has refused to use a dishwasher. In Japan, of course, this isn't such a big deal since most people don't have dishwashers and when they do they look strikingly similar to microwaves, or maybe even bread boxes.

We never had one of these contraptions because they are too small, take up too much counter space, and cost more than I like to spend on something so inefficient. Plus, they are not terribly environmentally friendly.

So, it made perfect sense that we never used a dish washer when we lived in Japan. But then we moved to the US and the dishwasher wars began in earnest. No matter how persuasively I argued, Ren remained convinced that using a dishwasher was too expensive and didn't really sanitize plates any better than washing them by hand. After a couple of years of meaningless debate, I finally resigned myself to the nightly duty of washing/helping to wash the dishes while our dishwasher sat full of dried goods and the pots and pans we never used. In case you're wondering, the standard dishwasher provides generous storage space and can even double as a mini pantry should you ever find yourself in need.

Do you know the key to success in an international marriage: it's being willing to wash dishes by hand even when you have a perfectly good dishwasher sitting right in front of you. For the better part of ten years, I hand washed dishes as the underutilized and underperforming dishwasher sat mocking me from across the various American kitchens we've had.

And then, one day, all these many years later, Ren changed his mind.

After this last move, he started using the dishwasher. I didn't ask him to. He just did. And, he saw value in it, so he kept using it. But, do you know what? Not once did I say "I told you so." Not once did he make it seem like he was caving in or pandering to my needs. He just wanted to try something new, and I knew enough to let him do it without adding my two cents.

Because, here's the other thing about international marriage--well, any marriage, really--people grow. People change, and every once in a while, they try something new. Sometimes all you have to do is be patient.*****

OH, AND UPDATE: The giveaway ends tomorrow, Friday, September 13th at 5 p.m. ET, so if you haven't voted, now's the time. Click here for details.

*****Disclaimer: And sometimes they don't. But, you should know not to take marriage or child rearing advice from me. Seriously, you've been reading this blog, right?

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emjay said...

You earn brownie points for not saying I told you so! Granted I've only been married 3 years but I would have made a huge song and dance about it!

Mom on the Edge said...

If it can't be a metaphor about perseverance and acceptance, it ends up being proof that I'm losing my feistiness. I choose to believe in the metaphor.