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Don’t Leave Your Manners at the Office

By Donna J. Martin

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Proverbs 15:1.

Scene 1:

The phone in the office rang and when Jane Doe answered it.  A disgruntled client began to complain to her.  She could tell that he was really angry and upset.  She really did not appreciate the accusing tone in his voice.  “I am so sorry that you are having trouble with this,” she answered kindly.  “Let me see if I can help you get things worked out.”  As she cheerfully talked to him and sympathized with his dilemma, the tone of his voice relaxed and he also began to talk to her in a kinder tone.”

Scene 2:

Jane Doe was busy trying to get dinner ready when John Doe yelled from his study.  By the tone of his voice she could tell he was upset.  “Jane, do you know where that paper I was working on is?  I have looked all over my desk and I can’t find it.  Did you move it?”  Jane did not feel like being interrupted from her work and she did not like the accusing tone in John’s voice.  “Why are you always blaming me when you lose something?”  She yelled back sharply.  “I have no idea where it is!”  She went into the office and began to look through the stacks of papers on his desk, slamming things around and sighing loudly so John would know she did not appreciate being interrupted.

“Never mind,” he snapped.  I’ll find it myself.  What’s wrong with you?’’  Jane snapped back, harsh words stirred up anger.  Dinner burned.

Something is wrong with these two scenarios.  Sadly similar situations occur like this every day in someone’s home.  But why is it that people can be so gentle with their words to a client that they hardly know and so harsh with the words they say to their spouse?  Maybe it is because they know that they would lose the client if they talked to him the way that they talked to their spouse.  Maybe it is because they know that their spouse loves them and will forgive them when they slip up.  Maybe it is because people are selfish and think only of themselves and are polite only when they will benefit from it. 

Too many times we use harsh language with our spouse and our children and even our parents.  At home we let our guard down and sometimes leave our manners at the office.  Then we wonder why there is so much stress at home.  Wouldn’t our homes be happier places if we would treat our spouses with the same respect that we treat our bosses, co-workers, and friends?

We need to follow the advice of Paul who said in Philippians 2:5-6, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.”  This week make every effort to use your “gentle” words with your spouse and see if it makes a difference in the atmosphere of your home.

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” marriages seminars for churches and organizations.  To schedule a seminar call Michael at 940-735-1515. They also publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at

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