Photo: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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The Blunderbuss Moment
If you don't mind admitting when you're wrong, skip this one. If not, think back to that grim night, when despite your spouse's protestations, you checked on the kids right before bed, causing them to wake up and howl for "just another huggie" until 3 a.m. Add to that the very long holiday, when despite your spouses' protestations, you bought his ever-dieting mother a cute, funny tea kettle shaped like a plump pink pig. As soon as she said tightly, "Is this your way of saying I'm fat?" you knew that not only had you been wrong (so very wrong) but that he had been right (so very, very right).
You know what people in healthy relationships do, and you tried to imitate them. "I may haveuh ...been ...argh ...uh ...mistaken?" you said. Miraculously, he did not do the chicken dance of victory. He did not recite a bulleted list of related but different issues that might arise due to your error. Nor did he say in a totally patronizing voice: "I forgive you." He said what needs to be said when two people have to live with the consequences of one person's idiotic, misguided, oof-inducing and entirely avoidable bad choice, "Oh, crap. We'll survive."