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April 2, 2013

Mind Your Manners

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)

Have you ever wondered why manners are so important? Well, for one thing, manners preserve relationships. That’s right. When manners are lacking, people may feel violated and relationships can be threatened.

This is especially true in a marriage relationship. In fact, when the honeymoon phase of a marriage comes to a close, emotions may begin to deteriorate if a couple fails to display basic manners toward one another.

Let me give you several examples. When two people begin dating, they typically display very good manners, right? They show appreciation by saying “thank you”; they show consideration by being sensitive and courteous to each other; the man shows care for the woman by opening doors for her; and so on.

As the relationship progresses, it is often typical for a husband and wife to begin to take each other for granted and stop exercising good manners. He or she may fail to show appreciation by saying “thank you”; they are not as sensitive or courteous to one another; a husband may stop opening doors for his wife; and so on.

Manners, however, are very important —they are indicators of the kind of people we are. The presence of manners means that you are a giver. The lack of manners means that you are a taker. The presence of manners means that you are not self-centered. The absence of manners means you are selfish. The presence of manners means that you value others. The absence of manners means that you don’t.

Remember, manners preserve relationships. They preserve a marriage and promote goodwill between a husband and wife. God’s design is for marriage to get progressively better every year. It is never His intention for a marriage to experience an emotional slump for any significant period of time. A lack of passion and goodwill between a husband and wife indicates something is missing in the relationship—primarily good manners.

Talk It Out | How are your manners? Do you treat your spouse the way you did when you first met? Do you treat strangers better than your spouse? An honest assessment of your marriage manners can help you discover a lot about yourself and the overall health of your marriage relationship.

Walk It Out | Think about ways you may have gotten too comfortable and relaxed around each other. Put forth a little effort to change one thing this week—for example, dressing up and looking nice for each other, actively listening when your spouse is talking, etc.

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