Has He Bungled His Marriage Already?

Q: I married a very gorgeous woman two months ago. On the day of our wedding, I made an off-hand joke about my mother-in-law to my wife. To set the record straight, I absolutely adore my mother-in-law who is 49 and an absolute beauty. The remark/joke was that I told my wife that I wish I could do her and her mom together. It was just a bad joke but I guess I was/am absolutely awestruck by her. I have no real intentions of anything along those lines with my mother-in-law, but my wife did not take it kindly and is now very uncomfortable when her mom is around. When I requested she let it go, she said she couldn't since my mother-in-law actually laughed about my joke after my wife told her, and she accepted my compliment. I just do not want such a little remark to cause us to drift apart. How do I repair what I did? — Don, 32

Dr. Susan: Talk about insensitive! You'll need to do more than "request" that your wife let the stupid remark go. You'll have to plead for her forgiveness, and probably have to do it more than once. Stop telling your wife how beautiful her mother is, and let her know in every possible way that you're thrilled to be her husband and you can't believe what a jerk you were that day. There will be plenty of lovely women to be awestruck by in the coming years, but try to remember how anxious a woman can be when her mate gets overly enthralled by the competition. Your mother-in-law laughed it off, which is probably the right thing to have done. Maybe it's also time for you to stop emphasizing looks as the thing that's great about your wife. Looks change, but character hangs in there. (And let's hope your character isn't permanently insensitive.)

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