“You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior, where we’re just nice, sort of ‘death by cupcake.'” – Bono
Marriage calls for treating one’s spouse as an honored guest (for he or she has been invited in…by you).
But we’ve got to keep in mind that even guests can cross the line. Invite a rock band into your house, and you’ll probably have to replace the plumbing fixtures, several windows, a wall or two…and the kitchen. (U2, of course, would be better behaved than that…after all, Bono’s supplying today’s quote.)
What Bono’s saying here is that grace (the social kind) and politeness are not ends in themselves. They’re vital for creating a pleasant atmosphere, but ‘pleasant’ has to come from within. It’s not a layer of paint on a damaged structure.
Sometimes you have to put away the paintbrush, and get out the jackhammer.