Whether in a berating tone from your significant other at the kitchen sink or cushioned between canned laughter on a classic sitcom, we’ve all heard it; “I don’t want your help, I just want you to want to help.” And even though the desire to help sounds, well… sort of inconsequential, it’s not. You may recall from those sitcoms, the inevitable argument that ensues when the incapable husband mutters something like, “Why would I want to do the dishes?”
Let’s face it–as far as, for example, cleaning the dishes, a couch-planted fiancé’s intangible desire to polish a plate is not going to empty the sink any faster. The request is a bit inane. But maybe it does make a difference, not to the dishes, which we don’t care about, but to our fiancé, who we do. And maybe it’s not too inane to say that our fiancé is putting just a tiny little bit of her or himself into each dish when she or he cleans it. And perhaps that is why they feel like we don’t care about them when we mutter back that we don’t care about the dishes. And maybe that’s ridiculous, so here’s an example reversing our roles;
Fellas, when you’re on a dinner date, the whole time having fully planned to pay for the meal in its entirety, and the check comes, don’t you always feel good when your dinning partner reaches for their wallet too? Even if you know there was no chance their hand would make it all the way to their holster first in this Old Western style credit card shootout. They know it looks good to reach, so they go through the motion. And they do it knowing there’s risk involved in the pump fake because hey- what if you just let them pay? It’s a charade of respectful. And even if we assume our date is paying for us, letting them know we assume so- well, it just makes an ass out of you and me. So they show us that they respect us and our money with a simple, perhaps empty gesture, just to let us know they want to contribute. Because on that date you really are happy to pay, but it makes you even happier to do it when you know it’s being appreciated. So the same way our dates don’t pay for their food with their money, but instead with their presence and overall energy, show at least a vague desire to clean the dishes, because just like with dinner, gratitude goes a long way. *Pro Tip: Everyone is more likely to treat someone again when they know it’s being appreciated.
So what’re the best ways to help during the engagement? Your two greatest tools are questions and your opinion. Nothing gets you participation points like asking questions and offering answers. Asking when you already know the answer, and especially guessing when you definitely don’t. Stay involved by showing interest. We can’t tell you how many high school classes we passed by the skin of our teeth when I deserved to fail strictly by way of participation points. My teachers would ask,
“Who knows what X represents in this equation?”
We’d pitch, “37?”
“No, not even close. …but good work, keep trying.”
And we’d think to ourselves, “That should be enough for this period” as I continued to skate by with false interest and insincere inquisition. So be your significant other’s teachers pet. And try the following:
- If you’re significant other is plugging away at the computer researching things you have no opinion on and you’ve run out of questions to ask, arbitrarily start massaging their shoulders until for at least 5 minutes. That 5 minutes buys you 55 minutes of being disinterested in floral arrangements.
- Her friends are more important than yours. And your friends will understand. If that guest list starts to get tight and you start to imagine who you’d eat first on a deserted island of your circle, eat your friends. Her girlfriends want to go to a wedding way more than your boys, and for every person you cut off your list is another buddy you get to do a posthumous vegas trip with post engagement.
- One conversation with your mom will save you one hundred with your bride to be. (I’m sure for some of you this one might not seem worth it) But if you don’t want to get into which local business the best for flowers, centerpieces, catering, and entertainment? Call mom. She’ll know. Believe me she’ll know, even if she doesn’t live in that town. And she wants to be involved. Then download her opinion like it’s your own. You’ll come off super informed and proactive to your sig-o and mom will have done all the actual work for you.
- Additional Pro Tip: DO NOT under any circumstance let your sig-o know these are your mother’s suggestions. You did your homework, where the answers came from is no one’s business but your own.
- Links, links, links. Thanks to high speed internet it’s never been simpler to make your fiancé feel like you’re involved in the process. Sending a few clickables with the caption, “I found these really nice, I could see us doing one of the first two.” Implies you read and considered everything, when of course you merely took a break from Barstool Sports to halfheartedly skim winery sites.
- Interrupt their regiment by doing a step for them. If your partner is the one who does the dishes and you take out the trash, once a week, when they least expect it, just do both. It’ll take you 15 minutes but we all know that “Who does more?” argument is a game of inches. So, want to want to do the dishes.