In the first months or even the first couple of years of marriage, one tends to be on relatively good behavior. The new couple is kind to one another, considerate, and polite. Soon the newness wears off and minor irritations grow. Please, Thank You, and I'm Sorry (if they were ever present) soon disappear, or make a lot fewer stops along the way. Consideration for the needs and desires of the other begin to diminish. There are wars over Remote Control, who changes the roll of toilet paper, who gets the bigger slice of pizza (chicken, steak, brownie, cake, etc.). ME! takes over.
I was speaking with a good friend a couple years ago. She and her husband have been married for just over thirty years. Being a new and young wife, I asked her how she and her husband managed to get along so well after so many years. She told me that they both worked at maintaining good manners. They are polite to one another. They are by no means polite in the frosty way that some may imagine politeness in a long standing marriage. They care about one another. Rather than stifling the affection and tenderness and creating resentment that is typified in ego-centric relationships, there is peace.
Everything starts at home and with our closest friends and family. "Please pass the salt." "Thank you." "Would you mind putting the toilet seat back down when you are finished in the bathroom?" "I'm sorry." "May I use your I-Pad, please?" It is these little things that make for more friendly terms. And do not forget the tone. Snotty, snooty, and sarcastic are sure fire ways to start a fight. A little consideration, please. Let's make life a little more peaceful and gracious.
Copyright October 2010