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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.

  • Lisa Lou

Q/A My Money His Money Our Money

Q: I have several money questions. I am recently married. Is it alright to buy myself things without checking with my husband? Is it alright to spend my spouse’s money on things for myself? Should you spend your spouse’s money even if you can afford it with your own money? Is it wiser to just have your own separate bank account to deposit your money in?

A: To get to the root of the issue, we need to change the questions. Healthy couples set up a system for handling finances that enables both to feel safe. Household expenses and other necessities are clearly defined along with goals for saving and giving. Surplus money can be allocated for luxuries or travel and other mutually agreed upon items. Marriage is about “oneness” and walking in agreement. When we marry, we make a covenant with God and take on each other’s identity. Our lives are no longer mine or his, but ours. We celebrate together, we mourn together, and we carry each other’s burdens. If one spouse is sick, the other steps up to take care of them. We would not say, “Sorry you are sick, but you are on your own. Hope you feel better soon.” If one spouse has a problem they are dealing with, the other spouse does not say, “Sorry about your problem. Have fun solving it.”


In marriage, there is not my money and his money. If the mother stayed home to take care of the children, and the husband was the breadwinner, would the mother not be allowed to spend money because, technically, the husband earned it, thus making it his money? As a couple, we contribute to the greater good of the marriage and family through shared contribution. This might include salary, house chores, yard maintenance, cooking, cleaning the dishes, on and on. Both husband and wife bring their contributions to the marriage in different ways.


If you take a “my money/his money” approach, how would this next scenario work? The wife agrees, with her salary, to save for their child’s college tuition, while the husband, with his salary, agrees to save for the house mortgage. Mom receives a pay cut due to hard times and cannot save as much. Would dad say, “Sorry, daughter, you cannot attend college because, mom wasn’t able to save enough.” In marriage, we do life together. We are partners. One of the top struggles in marriage is finances. Some maintain a hers vs his mentality. When we do this, we have not merged every aspect of our lives. We are still living as two separate people. This is what roommates do, not spouses. Why would we combine every other part of our lives, but when it comes to money we say, “Oh, no, you don’t! I made this money. It is mine and stays in my corner.” If one spouse brings debt into a marriage, the other spouse does not say, “Have fun paying that debt off.” Instead, they tackle the debt together. My burdens become my spouse’s burdens.


Couples need to look at their combined income, create a budget (we call it a spending plan in our family), and agree, together, what the goals of the family will be. Does this mean you have no freedom to splurge on your own? Of course not. We all need that freedom, and we do not need a spouse staring over our shoulder. But that decision should be made as a couple. If you have $1,000 of discretionary money remaining each month (after savings and giving), then you might agree that each of you take $500 for yourself. You do not need to then ask each other if it is alright if you buy something with your $500. You have agreed, together, that it is yours to spend as you wish, and the other spouse should not question this.


If you find the next month you only have $600 of extra money, then you both need to tighten in your belts, regardless of who’s income went down. Money problems is one of the top reasons for divorce. It is something that needs to be worked out. If you and your husband struggle in this area, you may need to address the need with a counselor or respected third party so the problem can be defined, and a reasonable solution found. Dave Ramsey is a leading expert in the field of finances and marriage. Here are 2 articles that talk about marriage and money. I highly recommend diving into his resources for healthy examples of marriage and money: www.daveramsey.com


Article 1:

https://ktar.com/story/2587495/dave-ramsey-says-married-couples-should-combine-finances/#:~:text=Jesus%20said%20it%20this%20way,re%20reaching%20for%20those%20together.

Article 2:

https://www.daveramsey.com/askdave/relationships-and-money/daves-take-on-separate-checking-accounts#:~:text=Dave's%20Take%20On%20Separate%20Checking%20Accounts&text=If%20you%20want%20to%20be,to%20avoid%20bouncing%20checks%20otherwise.

Knowing how to handle finances is important for the relationship. When you use the correct tools to set up a healthy system, you will be amazed how this helps your overall marriage.

Patti Hatton and Lisa Lou