ask nicely, or to choose between options, you first need to ASK.
Mr. E doesn't like to be told or hinted or passive-aggressively left to-do lists. Doing these things removes him from the conversation- like he's not a part of the decision making process. This leaves ME as the decision maker and all of a sudden we're not treating each other as equals or partners. Instead we're ordering and pulling authority that neither of us has, raising expectations neither of us can reach.
In short we have building volcanoes. All it takes is a pair of shoes left in the wrong place (the computer desk) at the wrong time (when I'm sitting down to write).
To circumvent the out pour of molten stress and misplaced aggression- we encourage each other in meaningful dialogue. Asking my husband to do the dishes (instead of telling him they need to be done) establishes a clear-cut task that will make me happy. No guess work. No extra steps. It includes him in the maze that can be my brain and gives him the option to let me know if this is a) enough or b) too much.
By asking I validate that his goals and tasks for the day are important, too, so no one is feeling diminished or taken for granted. It only gets better from there.