After 43 years of marriage …

Question: “After 43 years of marriage all of a sudden my husband is saying “thank you for going out to dinner with me tonight.” I don’t know why this upsets me. Of COURSE we go out to dinner together. He makes it sound like he is in charge and is thanking me. I don’t know why it upsets me so much.”

Answer: It sounds like a few things are going on in the marriage and within your own cognitive process. From the information you provided, it appears that you have a sense that he is speaking down to you or that he is thanking you in a patronizing way. I don’t have a solid sense of the history other than you have been married for 43 years and are irritated that he is thanking you for the evening out. I’d encourage you to think about the following questions to better understand why you are finding it upsetting.

  1. Do you or have you found him to be condecending in the past to you? If so might his thanking you be a similar tone and pattern to the past? If not, was his tone one of “thank you for doing me a favor” or “thank you for going out, I really enjoyed being with you”?
  2. Are you secure in your own core Self? If not, did his thanking you spark a sense of insecurity and fuel thoughts that he might be speaking down to you? Typically insecurity flows out in relationships with reactivity and ones being easily irritated. Taking a look in and reviewing your inner Self would help here in your review.
  3. Is there something wrong or ill of his being appreciative of the evening out? If he has not expressed appreciation in the past, is it too late to start now?

Tone, marital history, and the vibe at the time the comment was made is key to understanding his motive. Simply asking him might be helpful in understanding his thought process. The key though, is your looking within as to why his saying this sparked the irritation. The questions above can assist you in reviewing your sense of the relationship and how that may play a role in why he is talking the way he is following your dinner.