Peter Post’s Essential Manners for Couples

Can good manners fix your relationship problems?

What is the secret to a long and happy partnership? According to Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute, it's not a good therapist. The etiquette guru's book “Essential Manners for Couples” offers advice on how good manners can lead to a great relationship. From sex to snoring, finance to fights, Post knows what works, what doesn't, and why. He says the key is preventative maintenance; good etiquette is about building great relationships. Plus, being honest and respectful, making the extra effort and realizing that your significant other is important and shouldn't be taken for granted, can really pay off.

According to Post, couples' most common manner mistake is poor communication. If we demean or belittle our partner, forget to introduce him/her to others, and interrupt their words and discount their ideas, this can cause problems that are easily avoided with proper etiquette. Post says inconsiderate behavior occurs all the time, but not because we mean to be rude, but because we don't think before we act.

Not only has Peter Post written a book on how to achieve a polite and blissful relationship, he's also created a game that puts you and your partner up to an etiquette assessment. You can download “KISS & MAKE UP: An Etiquette Game for Couples” by visiting

Get a head start by studying the answers to the following questions.

True or False:

1. It's ok to glance at the handsome gentleman or gorgeous woman at the next table.

Correct Answer: True. This is healthy human nature, but keep your focus on your significant other. And don't stare!

2. The bathroom belongs to both of you.

Correct Answer: False. The bathroom belongs to her. Get over it and put the seat down.

3. Couples should divide the household chores 50-50.

Correct Answer: False. Each couple must decide what will work best for them. Is paying the bills equal to doing the dishes? You get the point!

4. It is ok to kiss your significant other in public.

Correct Answer: True. A quick little kiss is absolutely acceptable. It shows your significant other that you love him/her.

Yes or No

1. Should couples sit together while dining out with a group of friends?

Correct Answer: No. Sitting separately gives the couple a chance to speak with people they don't see every day.

2. Your significant other watches television for at least a half an hour every evening when he/she gets home from work. Is this disrespectful?

Correct Answer: No. It is perfectly acceptable to have some brainless activity when you get home from work to unwind from a stressful day. You should, however, make an effort to spend a bit of quality time together before grabbing the remote.

3. You're out to a nice restaurant for dinner with you significant other. Should the man stand when the woman leaves or returns to the table?

Correct Answer: Yes. There's no reason to make her feel special.

4. You've been invited to a friend's house on numerous occasions. Is it necessary to reciprocate, even if you can't cook?

Correct Answer: Yes. You can always order take-out.

Multiple Choice

1. Your significant other is a cover thief. What should you do?

A. Lie in bed and freeze.
B. Steal them back.
C. Nudge him/her.
D. Purchase larger sheets.

Correct Answer: D. Though you could just steal them back, the most considerate solution is to expand the size of the sheets instead of fighting over them.

2. You're out with your significant other and bump into someone you know. You want to introduce them, but you can't remember the person's name. You should:

A. Wait for the person to introduce himself or herself.
B. Don't bother with introductions.
C. Admit to your memory lapse, ask for the person's name, and then introduce.

Correct Answer: C. Honesty is always the best policy.

3. You're having a terrific time at a party, but you notice your significant other seems unengaged. You should:

A. Get him or her drunk.
B. Suggest making it an early night.
C. Hand over the keys and say you'll get a ride home.

Correct Answer: B. If the situation were reversed, you would appreciate the consideration.