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Marriage Manners Matter

Photo Credit: Thought Catalog
"Fine!" and "Whatever!"  These 2 powerful words have the incredible potential to bring nearly any discussion to a screeching halt.  They send the insensitive message of "I don't care. Discussion over.  Period. Full stop!"   As married couples, we have probably used these or similar words.  And, if we have raised children we have probably employed time out, taken the car keys or other forms of discipline.

Those 2 little words are not  the focus of this blog.

For as much pain as these words inflict, 2 phrases that we teach our 2 year olds  have the power to elevate and affirm.  Too often as husband and wife we neglect their incredible power.  These words are "Please," and Thank you!"

MF:  Tom was helping me tackle some ragweed in the garden yesterday.  I heard him say "Please" as he asked me to get a tool. This simple one-syllable word took me by surprise.  Don't get me wrong; Tom is far more likely to say "Please" and "Thank you" than I, but we expect higher standards of our grandchildren than we set for ourselves in this regard.  (We are not demanding grandparents by any means!)

I assume please and thank you are understood in the tone of my voice so I sometimes eliminate them for the sake of efficiency.  Really!  One and 2 syllables makes me more efficient?  Sometimes I am just plain sloppy.  Ouch!  My surprise in hearing his "Please" was a poignant reminder of the power in sharing our need, desire and gratitude for each other.  Tom knows I need him and am grateful for him, but he needs to hear it.  He enjoys  hearing it.  I was frustrated at the time and Tom's "please" softened my heart as I fetched the requested tool.  I was reminded of the love and grateful for the tenderness and caring I appreciate in our relationship.  That simple one-syllable word had the power to elevate the rest of my day.

Tom:  Little words are important. They convey the attitude of our heart every bit as much as the tone of our voice.  "Please" conveys my need for Mary Frances -- which is a good thing!  Need is not  dependency.  It expresses humility and has the power to elevate her.  This strengthens the bond in our relationship.  It gets rid of any demand in my tone and 'begs' for help.

"Thank you" not only expresses gratitude, it is an opportunity to spontaneously express endearment.  Thank you is so formal.  "Thanks, Hon!" just rolls off my tongue and implies a love that is bubbling up following a request tenderly implored with a "Please."  These words are as powerful as "Fine!" and "Whatever!"  There is a reason we teach our toddlers "Please" and "Thank you."  As husband and wife, may we  never out grow them!

Editors Note:  This post first appeared in April, 2018.  As always we appreciate your feed back.  Tom+MF


  1. Please and thank you - two simple phrases so easily overlooked in the familiarity of our marriage relationship and communication. "Thank you" both for helping us to remember this simple courtesy. May it "please" our spouse to hear use such loving kindness.

  2. After being together for some years, it's a good reminder to treat our spouse with respect by using simple everyday courtesies - please and thank you.

  3. Great information. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have saved as a favorite for later!

  4. Tony & Cathy WitczakJuly 5, 2018 at 6:13 AM

    So true. "Please" and "thanks" have the power to heal relationships when spoken with love and tenderness. Forgetting them contributes to judgments of being taken for granted.

  5. Thanks for the reminder to keep using the simply positive words for our spouse. I try to do much more for others, and sometimes forget the simple kindnesses to my spouse.


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