Ask Laskas: “My Husband Wastes Water!”

Now it's your turn to help solve our readers' problems!

from Reader's Digest | September 2013
Laskas SeptemberIstvan Banyai for Reader’s Digest

My husband leaves the water running the entire time he shaves, brushes his teeth, and does the dishes. It drives me crazy seeing water being wasted like that! I’ve tried asking him to stop, but that gets me nowhere. Please help!

- Eco-friendly Emma

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  • Your Comments

    • guest speaker

      You cannot force someone to think and feel the way you do. Your environmental responsibility ended the minute you told your husband why you don’t like to waste water. After that, all is up to him. I had the same problem with my significant other (although I do not run the water while I brush my teeth or anything like that – his complaint was that the pressure was too high while I was rinsing the dishes) and I got extremely upset (he actually shut off the water while I was rinsing). While I understand his point of view, I also will not sacrifice my own sanity over this – we have 2 small kids, things need to get done every day and they need to get done fast. If I start fearing his reaction every time I run the faucet on top of everything I have to do, I might as well just leave now.

    • Jaye

      Your husband is taking the time to practice personal hygiene and do the dishes, you are nagging him. Stop it. what is more important, a happy marriage or $30 in your pocket.

    • Noah

      Your husband doesn’t think it’s such a big deal because water is really cheap and in America the water goes back into the river cleaner than it came out.

      You need to change this from a “wasting water” issue to a “relationship” issue.

      Explain that although you know that he may not consider it a big deal, this is an issue which is important to you and you FEEL that when he casually lets the water run, you FEEL that he doesn’t value your priorities – it makes you FEEL that he doesn’t care what you think. Tell him that by making the effort to turn the water off he is actually making you FEEL loved and valued.

      As a husband and life long male- I can promise you that he would much rather shut the water off than deal with the consequences of a “relationship” issue.

    • Shanna Johnson

      Plug the sink while he is running the faucet so he can see how much he is using. Once he sees how fast the sink fills, gently mention how much it bothers you to see all that water and money go down the drain. If it really doesn’t bother him then you need to let it go as just another minor imperfection in an otherwise perfect spouse, after all he does do the dishes.

    • Sharon Burns

      First, congratulate him on helping with the dishes! Then ask yourself how much water you waste while taking a shower and washing your hair. My advice is to get on with your life and save your anger for the bigger things that are important in keeping your relationship alive. How about taking a shower together to save water?

    • Jason

      Emma, I would say if that’s the extent of your marital issues, I’m jealous! There are teen-agers taking 45 minute showers, people dumping many gallons of water every summer on their lawns just so it will look pretty, corporations wasting ridiculous amounts of water and electricity. While it is admirable that conservation of our natural resources is important to you, understand what a small issue it is and try to let it go. You have a man that is well groomed and does the dishes! Would you rather a sloven couch potato who doesn’t help with chores, but limits water usage? What if he was the conservative-minded one concerning water and he told you to cut down your shower time by 5 minutes or no more taking baths? Try to pick your battles and appreciate what you have.

    • Long married

      OMG! My husband does not do dishes and does not like to brush his teeth! Appreciate what you have!

    • Viki Short

      This “problem” reminded me of my former boss. I went by her house one night to drop off some paperwork and found her flushed and irritated. I asked if everything was ok. Seems she was annoyed at her husband. He ate his dinner on a tv tray all Spring and Summer so he could watch his baseball games. She was sick and tired of him and his baseball. He had a fatal heart attack two weeks later. I went by her house to check on her. She was sitting in front of the tv, eating dinner on a tv tray, watching baseball and crying. I learned an important lesson from this. I hope Eco-Friendly Emma will as well.

    • blue

      Leave the poor guy alone. Be grateful he does the things he does. Sounds like you’ve got a good man there. Don’t run him off. I’m sure there are plenty of things you do that drive him crazy as well.