I feel for you…
If you’ve been raised with manners… especially good table manners, it can really drive you up a wall if you are out with others who don’t have em… (shovelling food = shudder).
It can be even more problematic if it is a loved one, or extended family member, in that you have to see them eat often enough.
I’m guessing he’s getting all defensive because of your approach… saying
“did your parents ever mention the right way to hold a knife?”
clearly is criticism (and a bit of a barb) … so it naturaly opens the door to the reponse he is giving you back…
All defensive and “Are you questioning my the way my parents raised me?”
YOU are his partner… he depends on your for support. Not criticism. And as his Lover you are not his Mother… so don’t try to be a Parent to the child within him (because he isn’t a child). Just don’t do it.
Like HisIrishPrincess: said manners, and particularly so bad table manners, can come back to bite him on the butt in his career.
That would be the way I’d be broaching the topic… tell him that leading up to the Wedding, and how you guys are starting your ADULT MARRIED COUPLE LIFE together it is time to make some changes / learn new things so as to establish yourselves in the world as a RECOGNIZED Social Unit.
And then like julies1949: suggested, sign yourselves up for an Etiquette Class (most often these days offered by Career Improvement Counsellors / Groups). The same folks who offer info on Career Dressing etc.
Usually the Lessons offered be they Etiquette or Dressing Right for every occasion, are very informative (and not really boring). Lots of great stuff to be learned.
I suggest you both go (less intimidating for him that way)… and besides there is always something to be learned from the world of Etiquette for everyone (even an old seasoned pro like myself who knows a lot of the rules off by heart, and in jest calls myself an “Etiquette Snob” here on WBee can always shine up on my skills… lol, like eating fresh artichokes… something that I certainly don’t do that often).
If the two of you together, go into the process… as a chance to learn ways to improve your career (and you will), it can be far more rewarding / fun.
Lol, and do have some fun with it. Take your new found skills out on the town… or have a posh night at home once a week.
And, there is no time like a Wedding to order some personal stationery… maybe a set of Personal / Calling Cards etc (Mr & Mrs)… great for when you are meeting new people socially / telling folks your address etc.
Hope this helps,