In an interview with Simply Her, acclaimed etiquette author Peter Post and great grand-son of American etiquette consultant, Emily Post, said that couple etiquette is "about enhancing your relationship by ensuring you always treat each other with consideration, respect and honesty."
So, thinking before you act, improving communication, consistently choosing that thoughtful word or action to resolve a situation will help to build up a relationship, not tear it down.
The author shares these relationship-building tips with couples:
1) Say "I love you"
The phrase was key to preserving a loving relationship, according to regular Emily Post Institute surveys.
Here's how you can use it:
- Before leaving for work
- In a quick call to your spouse at work
- Before ending a call
- When your spouse does something thoughtful for you
- Mouthing it to him/her across a crowded room at a social event
- On a note
- Squeezing his hand briefly while he's driving
- Reaching out to hold her hand
Do it daily as a sign of affection and affirmation. There are different types to convey different messages.
- Good morning/night kiss to greet each other before you begin the day and after the day is done.
- Surreptitious kiss: Blow a kiss at your spouse in public
- Forehead kiss: When you say goodbye
- Quick kiss: A peck to say "I'm happy with you"
- Big, loud kiss: To show how much you adore him/her
- After-glow kiss: In appreciation after a night of passion or romance
3) Bedroom woes
Your bedroom is you and your partner's sanctuary, and respecting each other's need for rest is important.
Here's how not to annoy each other.
- Snoring: It's not because s/he wants to, so agree to tell/nudge him or her gently the next time it happens. But if the snoring gets too tough to bear, it's time to see a doctor.
- Sharing bed covers: Just buy larger ones if your partner steals the comforter one time too many. Or, opt for individual blankets.
-Watching telly or working on the laptop: Having the TV or reading light on can be disturbing for the partner who sleeps first. Compromise by moving the set out of the room, or use a booklight if reading is a must.
4) Disciplining the children
It is important that neither partner should override the other's authority.
- Not in front of the kids: Back each other up. Never argue about discipline problems in front of the children, or they will learn to play one parent off the other.
- Stick with the rules: When children know their boundaries and what types of behaviour are frowned on by the parents, they will not usually cross the line.
5) Dividing household chores
You may feel burdened by it, but don't let the bad feelings take over. Instead, work on a realistic solution.
- Make a list: Write down the tasks your partner can help you with, so you can also appreciate his efforts.
6) Those annoying friends
In the event that you do not like each other's friends, compromise.
- Mingle in large groups: A large group means you do not have to interact too much with the friends you don't like.
- Make a quick exit: If you need to attend an event where those problematic friends will be present, agree on an excuse ahead of time and set up a secret signal, eg. a few winks, to tell your partner you want to
Flirting can mean different things to different people. It can be as harmless as a friendly raising of the eyebrow, or it can be as damaging as entering a conversation with a person with the intent of starting an intimate relationship.
- Consider: If you are not sure what is accepted, ask yourself if your partner would be embarrassed if s/he hears about it, and you will need to explain your actions? If so, back off.
- Know each other's limits: Get your partner to express what are his or her limits when it comes to flirting. If either of you get jealous easily, make it clear in the first place.
8) Conversational blunders
You may know your basic manners, but insensitive remarks abound too.
Here are some things that may annoy the other party.
- Putdowns: When comments become hurtful, it's time to know when to stop. If you notice an extreme reaction to your remark, stop and say something nice.
- Interruptions: It can be demeaning to constantly interrupt when the other is talking, especially if there is company.
- Ignoring each other: When you're with friends, be sure to engage your spouse in the group conversation, so that he or she will not feel left out.
- Failing to introduce your spouse: Of course this matters. You would want your partner to do the same for you, right?