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Marriage Etiquette 101
Use these 7 simple tips to fine tune your marriage.

Many hurt feelings can be avoided if you follow these simple etiquette rules.

Never discredit or ridicule your spouse to your colleagues, your neighbors or anyone who is not in a position to help make your relationship stronger.”
Considering the time we spend talking with clients, catching up with our best friends, hanging out with our children and making small talk with neighbors, interactions with our husband or wife should be, at least as polite and considerate as those with our dog groomer or local grocer.

The following are some married life 101 etiquette tips:

1. Praise, don't complain. Never discredit or ridicule your spouse to your colleagues, your neighbors or anyone who is not in a position to help make your relationship stronger. If you feel the need to talk to someone about a marital problem, select a person that you trust and who has no "agenda;" definitely someone who has a vested interest in the success of your relationship.

2. Lend an ear. Make time to listen to what your spouse is saying and share your feedback on the subject. When you are consistently "too busy," you are clearly making the choice to allow other things to be more important than your spouse.

3. Share decisions. Marriage is an equally yoked union and when important decisions must be made it is important to make a mutual judgment on how to proceed.

4. Make events special. Forgetting a birthday or anniversary is a forgivable sin unless it is done several years in a row. When deciding on a gift, it is not necessary to break the bank. A simple card or a heartfelt note is as important as a sweater or new pair of socks.

5. Communicate. Rather than brooding or giving your spouse the cold shoulder, verbalize your hurt or disappointment in a calm, non-threatening tone of voice. Let your partner know how you are feeling without accusation, resentment or vicious remarks. Throwing a tantrum does little to repair a relationship that has already been bruised.

6. Tell the truth. If you want your spouse to trust you then tell the truth. Period.

7. Lower your expectations. Rather than comparing your spouse to your friend's or neighbors (and he or she always comes out short), accept a few thorns with the rose. No one is perfect and the old adage "The grass is always greener" really is true. It is much easier to work on loving your spouse by showing respect, courtesy, affection and attention than it is to battle with your spouse over insignificant details that won't matter tomorrow.

Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.protocolschooloftexas.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @: www.twitter.com/DianeGottsman.

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