Since we got our 12-week-old puppy Winston, we are in serious dog training mode. I can’t help but see many of the principles we’re trying to teach Winston are keys to good human relationships too. For example…
When Winston sees a family member or visiting friend, he goes crazy, jumping up and down trying to smell the person and greet them. Now that may be cute for a puppy but what about for a 70 pound dog who will knock you right off your rocker?
We want him to sit down and then we greet him heartily. Sitting down for Winston is like him saying “please.” Once he sits (which takes a lot of discipline for him), we reward him with lots of love.
Before we go outside, we have him sit at the door as if to say “please.” The alternative is him bolting out to the door as if to say, “See ya!”
This got me thinking this morning of the way I greet and treat my spouse. Do I just whiz past him throughout the day with questions and comments:
“When will you be home?”
“Pass the butter.”
“Let’s go, we’re late!”
Or does my demeanor communicate the common courtesies of “please” and “thank you”? It’s not that I have to keep saying the word “please” over and over again like I’m begging him to do something. It’s that my attitude can be one of “please” and not “you owe me that” or “you better shape up buddy.”
As the Message Bible translates 1 Peter 3:4, wives are to “Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”
Are we gracious wives to our husbands and those around us? Not barging through doors, poking into conversations that are none of our business, or overcoming people with our personalities?
Let us strive to be gentle and gracious, approaching our spouses and other loved ones with a “please” and “thank you” demeanor.
As my puppy Winston learns to sit and be calmer when greeting others, he gets more of what he wants: attention.
And as we approach others with more “pleases” and “thank you’s,” guess what? We’ll get better, deeper, sweeter, richer relationships – and I think that’s something we humans care a lot about.