Ask Laskas: “My Husband Wastes Water!”

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

Laskas September
Istvan 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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112 thoughts on “Ask Laskas: “My Husband Wastes Water!”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Smack some sense into him by showing him the water bill: if hurting the environment doesn’t get his attention, the price will.

  11. Leave the room.
    Also, get some giant tweezers for that plank in your eye.

  12. Sounds like a difference between ‘good’ and ‘best’. Water can be wasted in many ways–washing loads of dishes or laundry that could have been avoided, shorter showers, less water in the tub, xeriscaping your yard, fewer house plants, etc. It is good to conserve water but it is better to preserve relationships. Don’t confuse life’s priorities!

  13. My honey does the exact same thing, and he leaves lights on too. Before I say anything to him, I ask myself “what is more important?” Him or a gallon of water, or him and an additional ten dollars on the light bill. He wins, and I smile and walk away.

  14. You say you’ve “asked” him to stop, but I wonder if, perhaps, your relationship is such that you are “constantly” pressuring him to conform to your standards of behavior.
    If so, this may be simply a small act of rebellion against what he sees as your “oppressive” treatment of him.
    Maybe it’s time to discuss your relationship openly with your husband before you find yourself in divorce court.

  15. First try catching the wasted water in a gallon tub placed under the faucet to show him what he’s wasting and the cost per gallon calculated out for a year. If that doesn’t work, install auto on/off faucets throughout the house. You can set the timer and this will auto save the water, then thank him for lending a helping hand.

    1. As soon as I would hear the water running in the bathroom, I would go in the basement shutoff the main valve and leave a note. I love you too much to let you throw your money down the drain.

  16. I used to have the same problem but my husband died 2 years ago from cancer. I would give anything to still have that problem. Try to think of it not as water wasted, but keeping the pipes flowing easily. Plumbers are expensive!

  17. Take an empty gallon container, such as a water or milk jug. With a watch, time exactly how long it takes to fill it in your husband’s water tap. Then when your husband doesn’t notice it, time how long he leaves the water running. This will tell you how many gallons he wastes. That may impress him, but back it up by checking your water bill to see how much a gallon costs. If you can’t figure it out call your water company and ask them.

  18. Changing behavior often requires motivation and your husband doesn’t value the saved water enough to change his. Consider providing him with a personal incentive beyond making you less crazy. Put next to the sink a jar of quarters and/or chocolate kisses and/or coupons for real kisses or whatever small token you think might motivate him. Tell him that he can withdraw a reward (1 or 2 depending on what you put in the jar) every time he turns off the water when brushing or shaving or washing the dishes. At the end of a month, see if either the accumulation of rewards, or the heightened consciousness of the value process you’ve now imposed, or the reprogramming of his behavior to naturally turn off the water, may have done the trick. Either way, you both might find this a fun way to try to get him on your eco-friendly team.

  19. Dear Eco-friendly Emma, put the plug in as he starts shaving or brushing his teeth and don’t allow him to pull it out until he has finished his usual routine even when the water spills on the floor. I can’t imagine he would want the experience repeated too many times… As far as the dishes are concerned, I also run the water so I can rinse…consider yourself lucky he DOES wash the dishes…

  20. This is the kind of problem that will solve itself. Keep on nagging your spouse about insignificant things that don’t matter at all, and pretty soon he’ll be shaving, brushing his teeth, and washing dishes in some other woman’s house. Your problems will be over, your sanity will be restored, and you’ll have nothing to complain about.

  21. Time with our husbands is too precious and life is too short and uncertain to worry about such things as this. I suggest you leave the bathroom when he is shaving and/or brushing his teeth, likewise when he does the dishes – or else do the dishes yourself.

  22. I had spent a big part of the last decade complaining to my husband about trivial things such as this. If your husband has been told repeatedly about it and continues to do it anyway, find other ways to save on the water and other resources in the home.
    My husband and I are now separated and have been for over two years and he is no longer standing in my bathroom letting all of the water run down the drain. Although we are good friends, his absence stings.
    I think you need to focus on the bigger picture. He washes dishes?? Thank him!
    If you spend all of your time worrying about trivial stuff that ends up driving a wedge between the two of you, you will be kicking yourself and feeling terrible if one day you find yourself divorced or even widowed.
    Enjoy the now . . .

  23. Does he pay the water bill? Be thankful he is clean and helps with the chores! Most men will stop helping out once they’re told how to do ordinary things around the house. Since being eco-friendly is your priority and not his (it’s ok to be different), get a dishpan to collect the excess and use it for plants, washing the car, etc.

  24. Boy oh boy, people have nothing better to whine about? If this was my wife I would divorce her faster than she could take her next breath. What a whiny brat. I waste water.. remember that.. for every ounce you save, I flush twice, I leave a faucet running, I spill water down the drain just to tick off enviro-whackjobs like you.

  25. Dear Eco-friendly,

    Life is full of trade-offs and compromises. You need to determine if water conservation is more important than personal grooming and the sharing of household chores. Your marriage and the local ecology cannot both benefit if you press this issue. Count your blessings and find another earth-friendly way to offset your husband’s habits.

  26. My sweet wife did the same thing. It’s just another small irritation that I regret fussing at her about after cancer took her away. You have little to complain about, especially if he’s helping with the dishes. Choose your battles.

  27. Dear Eco-friendly,How about
    you take a 7 minute daily shower, versus a 20-30 minute one while
    shaving your legs and underarms, that would save you 40 gallons of
    water. I think you are blessed to have a clean shaven husband with fresh
    breath and clean teeth who also does the dishes for you; but if you
    still are annoyed then why don’t you do the dishes?

  28. My question to you: “Do you want a marriage that is based on mutual respect for one’s personal choices and preferences or a marriage based on parent-child interactions–where your husband pleases you when you are present and rebels when you are absent?”

  29. Chill out. Your husband is “wasting” a dollar’s worth of water a month at most. Not a big deal. Be thankful that he shaves, brushes his teeth and does the dishes.

  30. Sounds like your typical all-controlling female. Believe me, once this issue is “resolved”, there will be plenty more that she’ll find to complain about.

  31. He should probably stop doing the dishes and let you do them . . . . to save water of course.

  32. If your husband is at all concerned about money, post the water bill on the mirror in the bathroom. That will show him the hard facts of how much it’s costing $$ him to run the water. He can always fill the sink with water to shave and shut it on and off during brushing. As for the dishes, a two sink system is fill one side of the sink for with water for washing and the other side for rinsing. If one large sink, get a dish tub fill it and only run the water to rinse the dishes. If you pay for any part of the water bill you can tell him you won’t pay until he stops wasting water / money and or if he pays, then pick your battles and let him waste his money / pay the bill. Maybe finding out exactly how much money he is wasting, that it could be used for something else he really wants, may help too. You know you save and maybe that’s all that matters.

  33. Dear Eco-friendly Emma, I was guilty of doing the same thing.Ask him to plug the sink while he using it. He’ll see just how much water he is using, or maybe I should say he’s wasting, It worked for me…


  34. After being married for most of my adult life, I would say,”Leave the room”. Pick your battles. This isn’t one worth fighting, even if it irritates you

  35. The only person you can change is yourself. Be grateful that he does dishes for you.

  36. you have a husband that actually does the dishes? I think this is one battle worth losing.

  37. I see where you’re coming from. You see all that water pouring down the drain, completely wasted when there are children on the other side of the world who’d to anything for a just a sip of that water. I get it. So don’t think I’m insensitive when I say, it doesn’t matter. Whether you use that water, or some other American family does, it’s not doing any difference. Whether that faucet’s off or on, those children aren’t seeing what you’ve ‘saved.’ Someone else in our country is using it. If you really want to help those children, try sponsoring through organizations like World Vision, who are actually helping them get clean water, not turning off a faucet! Please consider this. Now, if your husband is still driving you nuts with his wasteful habit, think of trying this. Instead of trying to get him not waste water, convince him to not waste money. If you’re willing to do a little work for this, look into it, and find out how much money it can save off you’re water bill if you turn the water off every day for a month while you brush your teeth, shave, etc. Since the amount won’t be that much, because water bills aren’t that expensive, use that information with your total water bill for the last month. Find the percent of what you could save to make it sound more expensive. If you tell him that 40% or even just 15% percent off on the water bill, he’ll start to really care. Of the few things guys care about, money is definitely one of them. He’ll want to change if money is going down the drain. Make it so when he sees wasted water, he instantly sees dollar signs!

  38. Emma is hen-pecking her husband. Her water bill is probably the least expensive of her utilities and the amount of water that he runs is a drop in the oceans of the world. Just how much water runs and is ‘wasted’ when she is lathering up her hair to shampoo in the shower?

  39. When you hear the water running, smile and say, “I’m glad for a husband that…” and you fill in the blank! A lot of wives wish their husbands would shave or do dishes…and even some wish they’d brush their teeth! Try to make your gratefulness outweigh your eco-friendliness.

  40. is this your husbands worst fault? do you think eco-friendly is the be-all, end-all of a good relationship? Ann Landers once let another reader reply to a woman complaining about her husband’s snoring: “at least you still have a husband,” – hers had died – doesn’t that really put things in perspective?

  41. Emma, are you familiar with the water cycle? If not, I suggest you learn about it. Unless you live on a boat or in a motor home, or in a desert or some other location where water truly is in short supply, you should probably seek counseling to learn why you are obsessing over something so trivial.

  42. “waste not – want not” Imagine being in a desert and your car has problems. You call for service on your cell phone. The repair garage says it will be at least 2 hours before they can come. Most cars whiz by the ones that stop are out of water. And you are extremely THIRSTY. Now you think of all that water you wasted.

  43. You’re kidding. If this is his only fault count your blessings. Many women would love to take him off your hands and pay to extra dollar a month increase on the water bill; besides, cities recycle the water he is “wasting” in your town to save water? Be thankful. If he has more faults, the two of you need to make a list of things you would like each other to change and play “let’s make a deal” and live happily ever after.

    1. Send him to me, I’ll gladly build him a giant faucet to turn on any old time he has a hankering to do some dishes…

  44. I don’t like wasting precious resources, but if that’s y’alls biggest problem, you are truly blessed. Stick a bowl in the sink and reuse his water for watering plants and such!


  46. Get a device that keeps track of how many gallons of water are being used each day. Then,try this: Have him do his thing as usual and record the number of gallons used at the end of the day. Tomorow, tell him to not leave the water running while he shaves, does the dishes,ect. and record the number of gallons used at the end of that day. The number should be drastically decreased! Good Luck!

    1. Yep. And that device will SURELY cost less than all those fractions of pennies being wasted on water.
      You ought to break even in only three or four decades.

  47. Eco-friendly Emma

    You seem to feel that you have a righteous demand of your husband and you want to know how to make him to obey that demand. That’s never going to happen however pursuing it has the potential to damage your relationship.

    Since you have already let him know your concern use humor to remind him like “Don’t forget the thirsty children in China”. Make it a joke, keep it very light, and don’t do it every time he lets the water run. Eventually he will probably get better
    at it.

    Unless you would welcome your husband’s critique of your personal habits (you don’t want that) you really need to lighten up on this one. His habit of letting the water run is not a good habit but if you feel this is a substantial problem then
    there are other issues at hand that might be in your relationship or your need
    to be in control.

  48. Dear Eco-friendly,
    Time to pick your battles! The water going down the drain is not going to save planet earth, so stop your harping and save your marriage before it goes down the drain. Sounds like you have a great husband; one who cares about his personal hygiene and does the dishes. Lighten up; life is too short and so are too many marriages.

  49. My Dear Emma: Take a late evening, tepid bubble bath, along with scented candles burning around the bath room to get even with hubby for wasting water. Then invite him to join you. You probably will forget about the high water bill.

  50. well sometimes when a person realizes the dirty consequences of his acts, he truly becomes aware of the problem, so maybe the best way to solve that is telling him wasting water damages our nature. it is said that a person must never waste water even if he was beside a river, do absolutely it’s beneficial to talk about the awful effects of his actions. Try to remind him how much will the water cost in the future if he wastes it right now.
    Simply if your financial status is good, you could buy these sensors where the water will be emitted only when needed.

  51. You can get a small device that fits on your faucet with a little lever that lets you keep the faucet on but stops the water from flowing through when you flip the lever up. This way a person does not have to keep turning the faucet handle off and on. Just flip the lever and stop the water until you need it again. When you are through shaving, brushing teeth etc., just shut off the faucet as usual.
    We have one of these on each faucet in our house and they really work.

  52. Emma, this is a multifaceted issue! Firstly, your living arrangments dictate a lot: Are you running city tap, or on well water? Do you have an electric pump, or a gravity-fed system? How is your usage billed, if at all? What is your financial condition? At the end of the day, is the concern that your husband is wasting WATER or MONEY?

    As you may know, the water cycle keeps the vast majority of our planetary H2O in circulation– ergo it is virtually impossible to “waste” water, from an environmental standpoint, although increased use on an electric pump might arguably increase one’s carbon footprint. Thus, if you’re concerned only from an enviromental standpoint, there are modifications you can make to your home (versus your husband) that can remedy the problem. If you cannt presently afford those options– chances are your concern is more about the fiscal impact your hubby’s “waste” is causing. In that case, there are probably bigger fish to fry, like auto payments or entertainment budgets– check out Dave Ramsey’s advice column for that.

    But if, when all is said and done, the problem is simply that it annoys you to death, smile, bear it in goodwill, and remember that your husband is at heart a good guy who most likely tolerates your quirks (such as vocalizing your marital trifles to national magazines) in good humor as well. Besides, he even does the dishes!

  53. I just attended the funeral for my co-worker’s husband. Enough said.

  54. This is not worth arguing about! Install a motion-activated faucet that only dispenses water when an object or hands are below the faucet. Hubby will not be inconvenienced, and you will not get irritated!

  55. Wait. You have a husband that does the dishes? What’s the problem again??

    1. Why is he getting so much credit for washing dishes that HE used as well???

      1. True – but a lot of men don’t do dishes – it’s “women’s work”. And the fact of the matter is, a lot of us do them because a lot of guys don’t do a very good job. In a perfect world, both partners should divvy up the housework in a two paying-job household, but it doesn’t often work out that way. You’ve gotta set up the ground rules BEFORE getting into any shared living situation.

  56. Dear Emma,

    Buy a waterproof mirror and shelf then have them installed in your shower at a comfortable height for him. Add his shaving equipment, toothbrush and paste to the shelf, in no time he will be clean, shaved and minty fresh without a drop of waste. To sweeten the deal shower with him …. he’ll do anything you say.
    About the other issue. What are you, crazy? He’s DOING the dishes!

    Maureen, Quincy, MI

  57. Agreed, conservation is a valid concern nowadays. You did not mention how long you have been married, but if this is the worst thing he does that bothers you, consider this: he has good grooming habits AND HE WASHES THE DISHES!! Be grateful for the little things and leave the room when he does these things. I suspect if you really look at the whole picture you will find you have reason to be grateful for a good relationship!

  58. My husband would always wash his hands in the kitchen sink which always drove me crazy. I felt you needed to go to the bathroom to wash your hands.
    January 11, 2011 he dropped dead with a sudden massive heart attack!
    Don’t I wish he could wash his hands in my kitchen?

    1. I hear you. However, my husband washes his yard shoes in the kitchen sink! I’d have been grateful for “just hands.”

  59. Is he a good man? Does he treat you well, work hard and love you? Then count your blessings, lighten up on the water, and treat him like an adult. If that’s how he uses the water, it’s his choice, and he doesn’t need you treating him treating him like a child.

  60. Most Home Improvement stores now carry motion sensor bathroom sink faucets.
    These faucets only turn on when a person actually needs the water. Obviously wasting water is not a new problem but there now is a sensible new solution.

  61. I would let my husband use the garden hose if he’d actually wash our dishes, but I guess that is besides the point. He obviously doesn’t care about wasting water, so do a quick estimate based on your water rates and tell him how much money he’s wasting instead.

  62. Dear Eco-Emma,

    At least your husband shaves, brushes his teeth, and is willing to help with the dishes. If allowing the water to run as he performs these tasks is his worst fault, then you have it made, sister. Although you probably aren’t willing to admit it, I’m sure you have some aggravating habits that nag at his nerves as well but, apparently, he has chosen to ignore them rather than to call attention to your negative actions. I suggest you do the same. Appreciate his good qualities instead of looking for unimportant things to complain about–you’ll both feel happier!

  63. I think you need to ignore the way he is doing things and let him do it his way. Learn to live & let live.

  64. make a paper note ” you can’t live with out water ” and paste it above the tap.

    1. Such an idea may work in your household. But if my wife left a message like that for me, I would put a message on top of if saying “You are welcome to live without my paycheck”, and include directions to the nearest bus stop where she can catch a ride to some place she finds more suitable.

  65. You must be kidding. If this is your biggest problem, consider yourself lucky.

  66. That’s just his way of telling you to do the dishes.. If you complain then be ready to do it instead. For brushing his teeth with running water, I was also guilty of it when I was a kid (just turn the water off again and again until he learns to do it himself-my mom’s way) ..I think it goes with shaving as well..

  67. Gadgets can not change the mind set, they can help up to some extent. Make him to know about your sense of responsibility. Show him some short movies on Water scarcity, people’s sufferings at some parts of world. Load his computer, tablet, mobile with some ppts showing the value of water. Finally your magic should work on him, be more loving and behave more sensible while making him en-lighted over this issue.
    After all he is your husband and more important than water saving, share the same love you feel about water, to him also. You can do it, winning his change and saving water too…..

  68. My husband and I have been married 12 years (together for 15). I have the same type of problem. My husband will run the shower, without being in it, for a good 3 to 5 minutes before getting in. It has been my discovery that if I want him to do something a certain way, he needs a reason as to why I want it done that certain way. It doesn’t have to make sense to him, but if it does to me, he will comply. Maybe he needs more than the eco- freindly reason. Like, for example, we have to pay for our water, it takes electricity to run the pump, etc. He still runs the water before getting in, but he doesn’t run it as long. It’s an improvement. Sometimes it takes baby steps.

  69. While we all want to conserve our natural resources, I think in this case I would advise Eco-Friendly Emma to be thankful for the moments in the morning that she can watch her husband shave and brush his teeth. Be thankful for a husband who does the dishes. Be thankful for every moment that he is with you. At the end of your life will you be grateful for those precious moments with him, or the fact that you saved a few gallons of water?

  70. My ex-wife used to constantly complain that I used too much toilet paper. She never missed an opportunity to remind me what an awful person I was for not seeing things her way, and how my failure to obey her “drove her crazy”. That’s why she’s my ex wife now. Suggest you find a way to show some appreciation for your spouse, and stop letting insignificant little things drive you crazy.

  71. I don’t see the problem. Seems to me the writer is a environmental extremist. He should find someone he is more compatible with!

  72. Put a fun twist on it! As is true with most relationships, there is likely something you do that drives him crazy as well. Have him pick the behavior that drives him most crazy about you and of course, it sounds like you’ve already picked your pet peeve regarding his behavior. Keep separate tallies for every time either one of you gets caught, and cash those in as ‘massage minutes!’ For every article of clothing my husband catches me leaving on the bathroom floor, I owe him that many minutes worth of a massage. And, for every dish he leaves in the sink, he owes me! It puts a fun twist on it– and surprisingly, you’ll be excited to find him leaving the water running at times! :-)

  73. Sometimes it’s good to know when you should drop the subject for certain things. If you’ve already asked him several times and he hasn’t complied, it’s best to drop the subject and move on.

  74. Your husband might not realize how much water he is wasting. Try showing him the water bill and explain how all the water adds up. It might be a better way for him to realize how much he really is using.

  75. What is your priority? Saving the planet, or saving your marriage? Being a nag about saving a few cents on the water bill is not going to convince your husband to turn off the water. It is simply going to convince him that you are a nag. If leaving the water running when he shaves is you spouse’s biggest fault, you’ve got yourself a good spouse. Lighten up.

  76. Buy him an electric razor, a waterpic, and do the dishes yourself. Is it worth messing up aa relationship over your sensitivity to his clean habits.

  77. Tell your husband you will stop doing something that drives him crazy if he’ll conserve water.

  78. You should ask yourself why you need to control your husband. In every relationship there are little annoyances that are best ignored; this is one of them. If you can practice the Buddhist principle of surrendering the need to control things you will be more at peace with your husband and with yourself.

  79. Water isn’t being wasted because it is recycled as it goes through your water treatment facility. The question would be: Are you concerned about the cost and environmental impact of your water treatment facility running a little bit more from those few minutes of running water or is it that he does something you don’t do? Choose your battles wisely.

  80. I suggest Emma replaces her free flowing faucet with “metering slow close lavatory faucet.” However, they often shut off before I have finished rinsing my hands of soap. In public areas these faucets do save water usage.

  81. Go to “World Vision” internet site and request information about wells construction and how to sponsor one. Share your new interest to your husband and try (joyfully) to involve him in it. I bet soon he will get it! you will do something good and fulfilling together. If he do not get it,,,wellllllll at least you will feel better about it doing your part. Good luck! And thank you!

  82. 1. Agree with Adelina’s post > install a motion sensor device.
    2. Put a bowl under the running water and use the left over run-off to water plants or to even flush the toilet.
    3. Do #1 and #2 and keep track of water cost/savings and then take him out on a date with the savings and thank him for helping with the dishes.

  83. Men are visual beings so to help him understand close the drain so he can see how much water he is wasting. So Don’t pull the plug, this might be all he needs to cross over to the Eco-friendly side.

  84. Even though the little things add up over time, you can ask yourself, Is it more annoying for the water to run while you husband washes the dishes or is it more annoying for you to be stuck doing the dishes. Focus on showing appreciation for your husband’s contributions. This could change his attitude and then possibly give more thought to your reasonable requests.

  85. This issue is important to you, but is not to your husband. So offer a trade. You may have a habit that while, not a big deal to you, is for some reason, an issue to him; that he wishes you would change. Offer your changing that habit as a trade for him turning the water off.

  86. Installing a motion sensor device in your faucet would solve the problem. You can get these devices at a very reasonable price and will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

    1. Ever try shaving in a motion controlled sink? Some of those sensors are infrared/ heat detectors anyway, so the razor/ toothbrush/ dish wouldn’t even activate it.

      1. Yah, but your hand would and it’s right there, so wouldn’t be a big deal to move it a couple of inches. I think this is a great idea – especially if you have children!

  87. Every relationship has its asking price. Once I realized that, I am much happier with my bride — and am very grateful that she is still here with me after all these years.

  88. Appreciate the fresh breath, soft cheeks and clean dishes.

    My bleakest perspective on an excessive enjoyment of indoor plumbing is that it’s just quirky. Be sensitive to the things you do that seem ‘quirky’ to him,
    stuff he’d never do, like snitching about leaving the water
    running to Readers Digest.

    Love isn’t petty, nobody’s perfect.

  89. What? I think you are missing the bigger picture here. Your husband helps with the dishes?? Thank him profusely for actually lending a hand and you say he shaves and brushes his teeth too? sounds like a winner. Instead of seeing what he is doing “wrong” try to open those all seeing eyes to see what he is doing “right”. Shauna

    1. Big deal. He’s washing the dishes. He used them as well so why wouldn’t he wash the dishes??? That doesn’t excuse him from discussing the issue and working something out with his wife.

  90. Karma to the rescue. Tell him the water he would save today may help his grandchildren as water sources are depleting every day. On a long drive the next time, hide the water bottle from him and don’t stop for water. Or cook with less water to the point he comments how dry the food is. He’ll probably take the hint.

    1. God I hate like this.. this is the main reason I never had children.. cant use the child weapon on me!

  91. As far as the purported eco-friendly aspect to it, just as you have the right to practice what you consider eco-friendly behavior he has the right to decline it in favor of greater convenience.

    It’s not like he’s dumping toxic waste in the woods or even throwing recyclable cans in the garbage. Water is a renewable resource. There are no permanent effects to his behavior.

    Who’s paying the water bill? If he is you don’t really have anything to say. You can try to quantify how much he would save by shutting the water off but he may not care. I suspect the financial impact is minimal anyhow (or non-existent if you live in a unit that has water included). There are people who run the water in the sink while going number two in order to mask the sounds; if he doesn’t do that you should be happy.

    While you may choose to shut off the water while you do these things he chooses to leave it on. You and he are both adults. You have no more right to compel him to do things a certain way than he does you. Stop trying to micromanage him.

    1. Water is only technically a renewable resource. Yes, the hydrological cycle allows for water that has evaporated to rain down again, but rain only replenishes between 1% and 3% of the water used each year. Much water is lost to contamination and pollution. And let’s not forget droughts which interfere with this cycle.

      Depending on where a person lives, water is very far from being a renewable resource. Some utility companies in western American actually monitor their customers’ usage and phone them when there are excessive consumption amounts. This is because groundwater levels are dropping and water reserves are being used faster than they are being replenished.

      Maybe you live in a part of the country that has no water issues. I am actually lucky enough to live near the largest freshwater lake in America, so for me, water is something of a renewable resource. But this is not universally true, and wasting a resource that is both valuable and disappearing is not something that should ever be encouraged for convenience.

      There are plenty of things in this world that are convenient but not advisable. I don’t think attempting to point out the damaging side-effects of a particular course of action is micromanaging, and I think more people would do well to think globally (literally and figuratively) like the asker does. We cannot add anymore water to our planet, and we are displacing and polluting a lot of what we have. Simple things like turning off a faucet while brushing our teeth can really go a long way.

  92. We used to have a faucet that dripped constantly. After repeatedly asking my husband to fix it, I put a large bowl under the faucet. After one day the bowl was full. I showed it to my husband and told him it was how much water was being wasted and that we were paying for wasting water. The faucet was fixed the next day. I used the water in the bowl to water my plants and even had enough to put in my dog’s water bowl.

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