Parents spend a lot of time and energy teaching the importance of manners to their children. Parents constantly remind their children to say “please,” “thank you,” and “may I.” They stress the importance of not interrupting someone and sharing things with others. Manners are a big deal to parents.
But Look at all the things children must learn and master over the course of their life:
- Using the bathroom
- Dressing themselves
- Tying their shoes
- Their colors
- Their alphabet
- Riding a bike
- Driving a car
- Picking a college
- Determining a major
- Choosing a career
In light of such things, manners seems like a relatively small thing to worry about.
So why do parents place such importance on manners? It’s because manners are small behaviors that have big impact. Manners make life go better. They help you get along with people. They make you more likable to others. They help you get more things done. They keep you both kind and humble.
Just because we’ve become adults doesn’t mean we should stop minding our manners, especially in marriage. Manners are the small things that can make a big difference in marriage, because they show honor, kindness, and humility.
Think about the last time your spouse did something for you…took out the trash, cooked a meal, mowed the yard, ironed a shirt, ran an errand, cleaned the house, surrendered the remote. Did you tell them thank you? Not just a no-eye-contact-on-your-way-to-somewhere-else-monotone “thanks,” but a stop-and-look-them-in-the-eyes-sincere-words-of-appreciation “thank you.”
Think about the last time you asked your spouse for something…to bring you something, to stop on their way home and pick something up, to watch a show they don’t really like, to bathe the kids, to clean up after dinner, to handle a correspondence. Did you say “please?” Not just a quick-standard-tack-on-to-the-end-of-the-reqeust kind of “please,” but rather a humble-sincere-request-of-reliance type of “please.”
When’s the last time you asked asked your spouse if something would be ok, rather than just assuming it would be ok? When’s the last time you consciously resisted the urge to interrupt your spouse? Do you share thing with your spouse? Do you give them compliments? Do you hold the door for them?
Small things matter in marriage, because they set the tone and course of the relationship. Like a sports team that loses the game because they didn’t do the small things well, a marriage that doesn’t do the small things well can run the risk of losing the bigger game.
Could it be our marriages are not what they could be, partly because we’ve stopped using our manners?
What’s one small way you could mind your manners and thus make a better marriage? Try it out for a month and see what happens. You may be surprised at the difference it will make in your marriage.
Copyright © 2015 Bret Legg