Friday, March 17, 2017

Marital and Family Etiquette

Though words may seem little things, and slight attentions almost valueless, yet, depend upon it, they keep the flame bright, especially if they are natural. The children grow up in a better moral atmosphere, and learn to respect their parents, as they see them respecting each other.


Married to Politeness

There is as much of truth, as well as of that kind of philosophy which comes into every-day requisition, helping to strengthen and brighten the ties of social affection, in the subjoined brief article: 

"Will you?" asked a pleasant voice. And the husband answered, "Yes, my dear, with pleasure." It is quietly but heartily said; the tone, the manner, the look, were perfectly natural and very affectionate. We thought, how pleasant that courteous reply; how gratifying it must be to the wife. Many husbands of ten years experience are ready enough with the courtesies of politeness to the young ladies of their acquaintance, while they speak, with abruptness to the wife, and do many rude little things without considering them worth an apology.

The stranger whom they may have seen but yesterday, is listened to with deference, and although the subject may not be of the most pleasant nature, with a ready smile, while the poor wife, if she relates a domestic grievance, is snubbed, or listened to with ill-concealed impatience. Oh, how wrong this is — all wrong. Does she urge some request? "Oh, don't bother me!" cries her gracious lord and master. Does she ask for necessary funds for Susy's shoes or Tommy's hat? "Seems to me you are always wanting money is the handsome retort. Is any little extra demanded by his masculine appetite, it is ordered, not requested. "Look here, I want you to do so and so; just see that it's done;" and off marches Mr. Boor, with a bow and a smile of gentlemanly polish and friendly sweetness for even casual acquaintance he may chance to recognize. When we meet with such thoughtlessness and coarseness, our thoughts revert to the kind voice and gentle manner of the friend who said, "Yes, my dear, with pleasure."

I beg your pardon, comes as readily to his lips, when by any little awkwardness he has disconcerted her, as it would in the presence of the most fashionable stickler for etiquette. This is because he is a thorough gentleman, who thinks his wife in all things entitled to precedence. He loves her best; why should he hesitate to show it, not in sickly, and maudlin attentions, but in preferring her pleasure, and honoring her in public as well as private. He knows her worth, why should he hesitate to attest it? 'And her husband he praised her,' saith holy writ; not by fulsome adulation, not by pushing her charms into notice, but by speaking, as opportunity occurs, in a manly way, of her virtues. Though words may seem little things, and slight attentions almost valueless, yet, depend upon it, they keep the flame bright, especially if they are natural. The children grow up in a better moral atmosphere, and learn to respect their parents, as they see them respecting each other.

Many a boy takes advantage of a mother he loves, because he sees often the rudeness of his father. Insensibly he gathers to his bosom the same habits, and the thoughts and feelings they engender, and in his turn becomes the petty tyrant. Only his mother, why should he thank her? Father never does. Thus the home becomes the seat of unhappiness and disorder. Only for strangers are kind words expressed, and hypocrites go out from the hearth-stone fully prepared to render justice, benevolence, and politeness to any one and every one, but those who have the most just claims. "Ah! give me the kind glance, the happy homestead, the wiling wife and courteous children of the friend who said so pleasantly, 'Yes, my dear, with pleasure." –– The Daily Alta, 1857

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia