In my kitchen I only have a few pet peeves: watching someone use dish soap on a cast iron pan, and watching someone run kitchen knives through the dishwasher. It's sad to say, but many cooks spend large sums of money on great knife sets, but fail to take proper care of them. Here are some good tips on proper knife care.
Use wood or plastic cutting boards. Granite, porcelain, and glass all damage and severely dull blades. You want your cutting surface to be hard, but have a bit of give as well.
Wash, dry, store. Only hand wash kitchen knives. Never leave them in the sink or run them through the dishwasher. A blade can still be rusting even if it's not visible. Store the blades in a dedicated drawer with the blades all facing the same direction, on a specially designed magnetic strip, or in a knife block.
Don't scrape the blade. When using the knife to transfer food from one surface to another, use the back of the blade to prevent dulling.
Sharpen that knife! Not sure if you need to sharpen a blade? Take a sheet of paper and try to run the blade through it. If the blade goes through easily, it's fine. If not, get yourself a sharpening tool, or take it to a store to get the blade professionally cleaned and sharpened. The former will cost about $40-$80, while the latter can cost $5-$20/blade.
Hone the blade. Some knife sets come with this, others will make you buy it separately. I'm talking about a steel rod. It's the long, round, pointy implement. Hold the rod so it's facing away from you. Place the heel of the knife flush against the rod and angled about 20 degrees or so. Slowly glide the knife down and slide the blade up to the tip at the same time. Repeat this ten times for each side of the knife. Finally, take a clean towel and run it along the blade to clean off what you just scraped.
A solid chef's knife is a great ally in the kitchen and can really make some tasks so much easier. With consistent care and cleaning, you'll find your blades lasting much longer.