I was driving down the road when all of a sudden the driver of the car ahead of me and to my left started moving over into my lane. As he did so, this driver almost sideswiped the car in front of me.
The man who was almost sideswiped swerved to avoid being hit and honked several times. The woman who was in the passenger's seat, whom I assume was the gentleman's wife, looked over at the other driver who had almost caused an accident and shook her fist at him.
A moment later, we all pulled up to a stop light. The two drivers who had almost had the accident were now side by side. The wife leaned over to the driver's side of the car and started shaking her index finger, parent style, at the guy who had made a mistake.
The husband at this point focused his attention not on the other driver, but on his wife. He put his hand on her shoulder and patted it in the way you pat a child's shoulder when you want her to calm down.
Meanwhile, the other driver started wagging his index finger back at the woman in a mocking fashion. To make things worse, he had a nasty grin on his face.
Thank goodness the light changed.
By the time the couple got to the next intersection (I was still behind them), the two of them were arguing. No doubt the argument was over the fact that this woman wanted to tell the other driver off and her husband didn't like what she was doing.
Sadly, this type of interaction is a common one between couples. Instead of the husband agreeing with his wife's angry righteous feeling, he focuses on her behavior, which he obviously doesn't like. In the end, this only causes her to be more upset, because now she must defend her behavior to her husband. The real culprit in the situation is no longer the issue.
A similar interchange occurs, for example, when a couple attends a party and one of the husband's friends takes a potshot at the wife. Neither the wife nor the husband says anything at the time, but when they get home, she starts to complain about the fellow's comment.
Instead of the husband supporting his wife at this point and saying, "That was really lousy," he defends the guy, saying, "He probably had too much to drink. You know how it is when he drinks."
Once again, I'm forced to muse: "Does familiarity breed contempt?" For, certainly, it doesn't seem to breed support.
Check out Doris' latest books, "The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World," "The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide," and "Thin Becomes You" at Doris' web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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