P = Politeness
I knew weeks ago that I wanted to speak about Politeness and Politeness in marriage. I have found that my husband and I are polite with each other, more than other couples I have witnessed. That doesn’t mean (as you all know by now from reading this blog) that I am not sassy, mouthy, impulsive, talkative and hyperactive. When you put all those traits together, I become a whirlwind some days and tend to just “blurt things” out. And, God bless her, my daughter has taken after me. I remember when she was little (and not so little) saying to her “You can’t just be a bubble gum machine for the rest of your life!” She had a middle school teacher ask her one day what that meant when she said it to another child (she said it politely I was told by the teacher). She responded to the teacher, “My mother says it to me, it means you can’t just let what pops into your head come out of your mouth–like a bubble gum machine.”
I know, I know—it’s a little scary. It’s the only picture I could find. Yikes. Good Morning!!
So back to politeness. We try to not take each other for granted. We say “please” and “thank you.” And, “Hey, would you mind getting a trash bag for me, please? Thank you.” Or, “Are you going downstairs? If so, can you grab me a beer, please?” This topic occurred to me when I brought the dogs back upstairs the other day. Every morning. Every morning since I have known my husband. I get up first and the dogs MUST go downstairs with me when I go. But once they are down there, they want to be back upstairs. So we play this stupid game every morning. They go to the bathroom, drink a little water and then all three of them sit at the gate looking at me so I can bring them back upstairs. And like every other morning, I throw the two chihuahuas back on the bed, saying “Have a good day sweetie. I love you. Here are the dogs.” He responds, the same way everyday. “Oh, thank you Honey. You have a good day too. I love you. Give me a kiss.” Everyday.
When we are at parties and functions out of the house, I always get him a plate first and then go get mine. It isn’t because he can’t or he won’t or he requires it. I like to do it. It drove my mother nuts!! Nuts I tell you!! She was someone who believed a man should get his own stuff–be it food, clothes, water, beer, or whatever. Women were to sit and let a man wait on her. I was trained this way. It was the 60s and 70s–I am woman, hear me roar!! It wasn’t until we were married for about 5 years that my lovely husband said to me one day, with no attitude, self pity or anger, “You know when your mother is around you don’t do things like this for me.” I was taken aback. I just stared at him, “Really?” “Yeah, really. But it’s okay. I mean it’s how your mother wants it. I just thought you would want to know that you act different when she’s around.” It was like a slap to the face. From that day forward, I have waited on my husband regardless of who is around. And he will do the same for me, usually with desserts, just to surprise me. I love that. He will walk up to me with a plate of little cakes, fudge, cookies, brownies, etc. because he knows I won’t go get one on my own.
Politeness and kindness seems to be a dying art. I am amazed how many people have not a clue how to defer to others, think of others first or meet the needs of others before themselves. And the biggest rule I see not followed anymore, don’t give anyone anything expecting something in return. I trained my kids when they were little, if you give someone a cookie or cupcake or juice box–don’t expect them to give you something in return. You give it to them to be kind. If they give you something back, great. But if they don’t, you made someone happy for a little while.
I truly believe that marriage is better when you put the needs of each other first. I want to serve him, it makes me happy to make him happy. I like seeing him smile when I surprise him with his favorite dessert. Or bring him a nice cold beer. And I am sure he feels the same way when he brings me my plate of desserts or empties the dishwasher or throws a load of laundry in the washer. It is always such a nice surprise.
It is so much easier to live life saying, “How would I feel if that happened to me?” “Would I want someone to do this or that to me?” If the answer is “No” or “I wouldn’t like it”–take the high road, the road less traveled and do what is uplifting and kind and polite and respectful.
For today–Try Politeness. Try Kindness.
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