Dana and Keith have been married for 3 months. During the two years that they dated, Keith had always been romantic and thoughtful. However, he was acting like a different person now that she had a wedding ring on her finger.
Last night, they went out to dinner with another couple. More than once, Dana felt that Keith threw her under the bus with his stories. First, he joked about her poor driving skills. Later, he told a story about her forgetfulness. Admittedly, that story was amusing, but she had begun to resent its retelling. Dana’s mind swirled with troubling thoughts: was Keith still her ally? Would he turn out to be as insensitive as her father, who had too often teased and criticized her mother? When she thought about these concerns, Dana felt her heart speed up and her face flush. It was time to dive into this issue with her husband.
What to Say:
Dana: Honey, let’s turn off our phones and grab some coffee. I want to circle back and talk about the other night. You mean more to me than words can say, so I want to be sure we understand each other. Last night, my feelings were hurt when you joked about my driving and my foggy brain. Do you remember what I’m talking about?
Keith: Yes, I remember what I said but you’ve always laughed at those stories. You’re just being too sensitive.
Dana: No, I’m really serious about this. I don’t want us to get in a habit of putting each other down in order to get a laugh from others. I’ve let those two stories slide by before, but I don’t like them. I want to start a new practice in our marriage: let’s agree that we each have “veto power” over stories. Starting today, I veto those two stories. Do you have any stories you never want to hear me tell again?
Keith: No, I can’t think of any right now, but I’m willing to follow your lead on this. I apologize for having crossed the line from funny to unkind last night and I’ll file this away in my memory.
Dana: OK, thank you.