That’s Not How It Happened
By Carlos Santiago
My wife was deep into telling a story to a group of our friends. She had everyone’s attention and was building to a dramatic climax, but one of her details didn’t feel right to me. Since accuracy is important, I interjected with a quick correction and the conversation moved on.
I thought I was being helpful. The last thing I wanted was for my wife to communicate something she didn’t intend. But my decision to publicly correct her wound up communicating something I didn’t intend.
Later that evening, she explained how I had embarrassed her. Unintentionally, my words told her:
- You’re wrong; I’m right.
- You don’t know how to tell a story; I do.
- You have a bad memory; mine is better.
- I don’t mind making you look like a fool in public if it makes me look good.
- I don’t respect you.
None of this was my intention, but it didn’t matter. Our friends heard the same thing.
After that conversation, I was forced to examine my heart. I wondered, if my boss had been telling the same story, would I have interrupted him like that? Or would I have let it go and talked to him later in private?
Maybe I didn’t respect her as much as I thought…
Ever since that day, whenever I hear my wife telling a story differently than I would, I remind myself to think twice before interrupting, especially if my words are going to make her look bad.
The Good Stuff: There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
Action Points: Do you correct your spouse in front of others, or even your kids? If you can’t remember, ask your spouse. If they can easily recall a time, chances are your words hurt more than you realized. Genuinely apologize and make every effort to not correct your spouse in front of others.
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