In the next chapter of our new book, Snap Strategies for Couples: 40 Fast Fixes for Everyday Relationship Pitfalls, Dr. Pepper and I illustrate the importance of basic manners in a relationship. Enjoy another taste!
Manners matter, especially with the people you love. So, please mind your manners. If your partner needs a hand, lend it. When he or she walks into the room, flash a little smile. If you’re saying goodbye, do it with a kiss and a hug. Manners show your partner that you honor him or her and hold him or her in the highest personal regard.
At the beginning of most relationships people are on their best behavior, and that means being courteous, polite, and thoughtful. As times goes by, we relax; we do not monitor ourselves so closely. But an unfortunate outcome of what we think is just a process of becoming more causal and comfortable is often a loss of common but important forms of etiquette. Partners stop treating each other with the care and thoughtfulness that they tried so hard to practice in the beginning. We can tell you for sure that that is a terrible mistake. When you start coasting in your relationship, there is only one way it can go—downhill. You cannot coast uphill.
Many traditional manners are based on kindness and respect, two elements of relationships that always need upkeep. We are not going to turn into Miss Manners here, but we think all couples need to keep saying these things to stay happy: please, thank you, excuse me, and may I help you.
Other manners are less obvious but still important. Here are some of the most despised bad manners: not covering your face when you sneeze or cough, not holding the door, chewing with your mouth open, cussing, or borrowing money and not paying it back promptly. Some interesting surveys have indicated that the breaches in men’s manners that women hate most are bad table manners and body noises. The surveys also suggest that women’s bad habits that annoy men the most are interruptions and assumptions.
These lapses in manners are important because happy relationships require care and thoughtfulness every day. Granted, it may be harder to do than one thinks. Good manners require focus and attention and even some discipline, but if you want a happy relationship, that’s what it takes to let your partner know that you love, honor, and respect him or her.
For the other pages of the chapter and the rest of the book, order here!