National Courtesy Month: 4 Ideas for Couples


September is National Courtesy Month!

In celebration, we’re challenging each other at the office and our readers to come up with and use new ideas to increase courteous attitudes and behaviors towards loved ones. Let’s start with the basics.

What is courtesy? A quick online search pulls up definitions that include ways of thinking, feeling and acting, which express politeness, civility, and respect. Here are some ideas to get you started…

  1. Instead of demanding that your partner do you a favor (“Get me …”) or assuming that your partner will do your “usual” favor for you (such as making you coffee, or fetching you something you asked for)… politely ask for the favor including the word “please” and also be sure to include a heart-felt “thank you so much” after you have been the lucky recipient of the favor being done for you. Stop thinking of these usual favors as entitlements. Remember that the other person is actually choosing to do you a favor- so be polite in your requests and be purposefully appreciative.
  2. When you’ve asked for or received a spontaneous favor from your loved one, challenge yourself to come up with an idea to reciprocate by doing some nice favor for your loved one during the next few hours. That way you can help make them feel well cared for and appreciated by you too in the same day. If they haven’t asked you for any favor, ask them if they’d like this or that until something strikes their fancy and do that for them. These little things count and they add up over time.
  3. Think of things you are doing that are the opposites of being polite and change your ways to being the more polite version of you. Convince yourself that you can do this for a week, and before you know it, you’ve done it for a month. A year? Get courtesy to start snowballing in your household! Here are some examples to get your ideas flowing.
    • Contribute to the niceness of your living space by putting away things or cleaning up without being asked to.
    • Help your mate with a task so you are instead doing it together. That will make it more fun and get it done faster when done with your help and companionship.
    • Stop using offensive words when communicating with your partner. Avoid cursing, being rude, yelling at, or criticizing your partner. Instead, choose to contribute to the emotional well-being and self-esteem of your loved one. Encourage and praise your partner for all that you cherish about them.
  4. Give undivided attention to your loved one when they are talking to you. Put the cell phone down, mute or turn off the television, possibly even make a physical connection, such as with a touch to their shoulder or hand. Make eye contact and listen wholeheartedly to show respect and care.

All of these suggestions go a long way towards showing more love and respect towards your partner. However, they are just the beginning. We’re sure you can come up with some clever or new ways to make your loved one feel more respected. So make this National Courtesy Month be just the first of many months and years where you both benefit from courtesy as a vital part of your relationship.

Go to to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!