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My Married Life: What's Your Reaction to This Story?

Surprise: Your spouse might feel very differently.

Considering how long we've been together, I'm still surprised by how differently Holly and I sometimes react to the exact same story -- particularly one involving another couple. Exhibit A: There's a young guy I work with -- really nice, very trustworthy, extremely family-oriented (especially for his age), and newly married. Anyway, he's been struggling to quit smoking -- something I completely relate to, as it took me a few tries to finally quit. He's definitely in the weeds with it, sticking it out one week only to start smoking again the next. So the other night, he comes home after a particularly long day of work, and a pack of smokes falls out of his coat pocket. His wife FREAKS. Suddenly she's questioning where he's been (like maybe he wasn't really working late) and who he's been with ( and a bunch of other filthy, exhausted men). I guess discovering that he'd been smoking again felt like such a deception that she immediately made the leap to "my husband is a liar." To me this is nuts. He wasn't even being dishonest about the cigarettes; he just hadn't told her yet. Besides, this is not a guy with a history of shady behavior.

When I told Holly the story, her reaction floored me. "I get it," she said. In Holly's opinion, the wife's reaction wasn’t crazy; it was just emotional. Holly said that she's had similar moments in past relationships. After discovering something she didn't know (I thought he wasn't smoking, but he was) or inconsistencies in a story (he said he was hanging out at place A, but he was hanging out at place B), she had taken her own trip to OMG-I-can't-trust-him land. Holly said that sometimes it’s hard not to think that the discovery of a little secret or lie is only the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, Holly and I were together for such a long time before we got married that if we ever went through this sort of thing (which really belongs in the category of "early dating problems") it's been long forgotten. I'm sure that my friend's wife will come to her senses and forgive him, but I'm curious to hear how other husbands and wives react to this story. I wonder if the men and women will see it as differently as Holly and I did. So, what do you think -- crazy, emotional...what?

-- Jack