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It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Patti Hatton

Q/A Communicating with a Quiet Spouse

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Q: My spouse comes from a family that does not share their feelings with each other. He is quiet which makes it difficult to communicate. I come from a family that shares everything. How can we better communicate with each other?

A: Opposites attract, and I can see why you were drawn to one another. If you learn to meet in the middle, a beautiful balance can be obtained. Not knowing the full situation, I will give one word of caution. Sharing “everything” is not the norm for healthy relationships (depending on what you mean by “everything”). Once a word is spoken, it cannot be taken back and there are some things that are sacred between husband and wife that need to be treated as such. When it comes to sharing information about our own life, we can take liberties, but we need to seriously discern if information about our spouse is ours to share. A good test for this is imagine your conversation with a parent or friend is being video-taped. Would you want that videotape being replayed for your spouse? Would he be happy with what you revealed? If not, we need to hold those conversations to ourselves. Otherwise, trust issues will arise between the couple, which causes a quiet spouse to become even more quiet.


Regarding your question in getting a quiet spouse to speak, open-ended questions are a great way to offer a person a platform for conversation. For example, asking a person if they like or do not like something is asking for a yes or no answer. Whereas, asking what a person thinks is an open-ended question. The spouse cannot answer with a yes or no. They will be prompted to share their feelings about the situation. If your spouse is not quick to respond, he may be a slow processor. He needs time to think about your question and formulate his answer. This is when you need to practice reflective listening. Sit quietly while your spouse takes time to answer. When he speaks, repeat back to him what he said. This demonstrates you are actively listening and allows him to clarify his point if there is any misunderstanding. Many times, the talkative spouse will ask an open-ended question but lack the patience to sit quietly while the quiet spouse thinks, contemplates, and formulates his response. If the talker asks a question of her spouse, then proceeds to offer her own thoughts, and answer her own question, then the quiet spouse will sit quietly while the talker just continues to talk. He may even wonder if his opinion or counsel is desired or if the talker just needed a sounding board. Talkers often ask questions, give their opinions, and come up with their own answers, all before the spouse has a chance to answer. Before the husband can speak what he has formulated in his mind, the talker has moved on to another subject. Bringing conversation cards to date night is a fun way to have guided opportunities for connection.


Conversation questions could be things like:

1) What motivates you? What stirs your heart?

2) What does it mean for you to feel nurtured?

3) What is a favorite memory from high school?

4) What would days 1, 2 and 3 of your ideal vacation look like?

When it comes to a quiet spouse verses a talkative spouse, the talker needs to learn to ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with yes and no. The talker also needs to learn patience by sitting quietly after she asks the question, giving her spouse time to answer.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com