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A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition. Toasting to someone’s health or honor goes back to biblical times and can be found in most cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians.

We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

  • Lisa Lou

Good Manners in Marriage




We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave. With most marriages, the comfort we feel with each other can lead to laziness if we are not careful. Below are 15 tips that will help all of us become a better mate.

1. Say please and thank you. It shows respect and appreciation.


2. Pick up after yourself. We are adults, and unless physical help is needed, take responsibility for your own mess.


3. Show the same courtesies to your spouse that you would to others. They are the most important person in your life. Why would we not treat them as well as we do those around us? If you have children, it is important to model to them how a husband and wife create a healthy marriage.


4. If you opened the door for each other when you dated, do not stop because you are married. Things we did for each other during our courtship should continue after we say, “I do."


5. Have good table manners. As athletic coaches say, “Practice like you play.” If you develop bad table habits at home, they will surface in public.


6. Help without being asked. If you truly do not know what to do, then ask.


7. Show random acts of kindness. My husband and I have a card we pass back and forth to help in this area. It simply says, “Because I Love You.” We leave the card in the area where we have performed a random act. A good example was when one of our dogs did the doo in the kitchen. I walked into the room, but the only thing I saw was the “Because I Love You” card sitting in the middle of the floor. Although running late to work, my husband stopped to clean up instead of leaving it for me. He displayed a random act of kindness.


8. Recognize the little things. Every night I receive a shoulder rub while we curl up in bed to watch a show. My husband knows this is a stress reliever for me. Recently he had a stressful day and wanted to soak in a hot bath. I told him I would have it ready for him when he arrived home. It was a small act of kindness. Recognize the little things by showing appreciation in your words and actions.


9. Practice active listening. When you are in a conversation, the best way to do this is by regurgitating back to your spouse what they have just said. It shows you are listening, and it helps avoid miscommunication.


10. Brush your teeth and wash your body. Yes, good hygiene is good manners.


11. Knock before entering a room. Especially if your spouse works from home. Just because we live together does not mean we no longer respect each other’s space. This 2017 video re-surfaced during covid quarantine and it never gets old! The short clip confirms why a closed door is usually shut for a reason.


12. Do not be critical of your spouse. Remember that criticism is different than critiquing. Healthy critiquing is important, but criticism can ruin a marriage. The Gottman Institute has identified what they term The Four Horsemen in marital communication. Through extensive research, they found the most destructive and biggest predictors of divorce were criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. I think most couples will admit we have all been guilty of these in our relationships, but healthy marriages go out of their way to rid these from their communication styles. When a spouse does slip up, they aggressively attempt to repair the damage.


Always check with your spouse, first, before committing to plans (even if the plans are family).


13. Do not accept an invitation from someone without first checking with your spouse. If the invitation is for both of you, the best way to respond is by saying, “That sounds great. Let me check with Joe to see if we are free.” Then the two of you can decide together what you want to do. It is a bad idea to commit your spouse to something without checking with them first. The same approach is true if the invitation is just for you. If a man receives an invitation to play golf, the kind thing to do is to say, “I’d really like that. Let me check with Debby to make sure we don’t have other commitments.” Maybe Debby had other ideas as to how you would spend your Saturday. It does not mean she controls what you do or that you are seeking permission. It means you are being considerate of the fact you are now part of a team. And a championship team knows they must work together on the field if they want to win.


14. Have dinner together whenever possible. If you can, eat around a table that has been set with a place setting. Mealtime is special and it is often the only time during the day couples will come together to talk. You will learn more from your spouse, and your children, at the dinner table than almost any other place. Do not neglect this important part of family life. The table serves as a physical anchor in a home. It gathers people together for the most precious moments in life.


15. Instead of listing your spouse’s poor behavior, first make a list of things you need to correct in your behavior. The reality is, we can all get on each other’s nerves. The bigger reality is, there is nothing I can do to change my spouse’s behavior. I do not control him. He does not control me. We can discuss our frustrations, but I do not have the power to change him. When we correct our own behavior, though, usually a positive side-affect is our spouse adjusts, too. Do not change yourself to manipulate your partner, though. This is deceptive and will backfire. Make improvements to yourself because you value who you are as a person. If you work on things you can control (yourself), I believe you will be pleased with the positive outcomes in your marriage, too.


If manners are nothing more than the outward expression of our heart, then we want our hearts to scream, “I respect you; I honor you; I cherish you.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is one of the most quoted books of the Bible in wedding ceremonies. But challenge yourself to re-read these words after the festivities have passed and you are settled into a daily routine with your spouse. With a little experience now behind you, these words take on new meaning.

My husband and I try to show the condition of our hearts (manners) by speaking one of each other’s top love languages: spontaneous hugs. We were in the cold mountains when my daughter-in-law took this picture of us (unbeknownst to us). My husband looked too cozy not to hug him!


“Love is patient.” Are you? “Love is kind.” Do your words reflect kindness? “Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Do you humble yourself when dealing with your spouse? “Love does not dishonor.” Do you stand up for your spouse? “Love is not self-seeking.” Are your motives pure? “Love is not easily angered.” Do you hold your tongue? “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Do you forgive? “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Do you play a “one-upmanship” game with your spouse? “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” You and your spouse are in this for the long-haul. Make it a good one!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou