Donald recently retired and now has the time to renovate their kitchen. When he and his wife Amanda were discussing the project, she said, “The height of the counter top was impractical.” When I mentioned in our couples counseling session that the comment was mildly critical, she said, “Then the height is illogical.”

Even if Amanda didn’t mean to be critical, that’s how Donald experienced the comments. Donald heard that he wasn’t being practical or logical. I refer to these type of criticisms as zingers. Amanda may not intend to be critical, but her displeasure with the countertop height can be expressed without commenting on Donald’s lack of practicality or logic.