The Considerate Relationship
Why is it that we spend so many years in school and never learn the skills to developing successful interpersonal relationships? Instead of teaching kids how to behave in relationships, they learn dysfunctional social skills. Cliques, bullying and gossip are the foundational skills to most of our social education. When we consider that most of us began dating and experiencing love while in our adolescents, there should be no wonder we behave with this much dysfunction. It is up to us, then, to teach our kids about interpersonal relationships and this week we will give you a few lessons that may help.
We teach kids to share their toys because it’s the nice thing to do.
We teach kids to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ because it is polite and civil.
We teach kids to ask permission to show that they have manners and respect for other people.
All of these behaviors are the basis of being considerate to others. The difference between a miserable relationship and a happy relationship is consideration. Consideration is simply that you consider how someone will react or feel before you do something.
Gifts are nice but getting up to get your boyfriend an aspirin when he has a headache or washing the dishes when your wife is tired is real consideration. We give to the people we love. We make their favorite meal. We let them sleep in when they are tired. We fold the clothes and put them away because it has been a while and your wife will like that more than flowers or a date night.
We think and consider them when we make a decision. It is not necessary if you are married to confer on every decision that is made. If you are always considerate to the needs and desires of your spouse, you know how they will respond and you act accordingly.
This is one of the places where people kind of freak out when we tell them that we don’t really confer with each other when we make a decision. In many ways it is a waste of time. We know what the other wants and would never make a decision to the contrary. That would be inconsiderate. I can honestly say that Paul has never made a decision without me that I have not agreed with.
Teaching your children to be considerate is a surefire way that they will be considerate adults and be considerate to their loved ones in the future. That is the real lesson. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are just the icing on the cake.