In this day and age of technology and smart phones, Emily Post is sure to be turning over in her grave! While I am a fan of the more relaxed environment of today, I do hope that we don’t lose the importance of common courtesies. Look at some of the happiest and most enduring relationships between couples and in families and what often stands out is the respect and courtesy with which they treat each other. They say “please” and “thank you” and they don’t expect their partners or family members to behave in a certain way or to do certain things. What they do is treat their loved ones in the same way that they would treat their friends.
When we live alongside our spouse and children and when our lives become closely entwined with our relatives, we tend to take these people for granted and forget that some of the things we ask of them are not things they are obliged to do. We lose sight of the fact that although we might be married, our husbands and wives are individuals in their own right and that they are not there merely to be at our beck and call. We come to expect and demand instead of asking, as we would of a friend.
Recall these feelings when you are tempted to pull out your phone “just to check really quick” rather than focus on the person you are with. I think that giving someone our undivided attention is the greatest courtesy of all,and a terrific relationship developing tool.
Our relationships are precious, but they can only endure if we treat those closest to us with the same degree of respect and courtesy that we would show to others, or what others to show to us! We all need to feel valued and appreciated for the things that we do, and the principle of “do as you would be done by” is not a bad one to live by.
These simple acts of courtesy will go a long way in making others feel valued and appreciated.
What are some courtesies that your family members have shown you? What are some of your “pet peeve “ often overlooked acts of courtesy. Me? When younger people don’t defer to older people either holding the door, or offering their seat out of respect.
How do you teach these simple lessons to your kids in this very casual and overfamiliar era? What is one question you would ask me about marriage and family issues. I will cover any questions you submit in future blog posts.