Should I tell my husband that I understand his language?

DEAR MRS MANNERS: My husband and I don’t speak the identical native language. As our marriage progresses, I’m learning his language – an endeavor that he recognizes and supports.

At first he rightly assumed that I didn't understand anything he said on the phone. But as time goes on I'm learning increasingly more.

I don't know if I should assume he knows that I understand a few of his conversations now, and if not, whether I should tell him.

Am I obligated to let the people he's talking to know I'm there? Or is that my husband's job?

DEAR READER: When someone is on the phone (or using another one-way technology), it's polite for others within the room to pretend they don't hear—even when the illusion is downright comical. The incontrovertible fact that you previously didn't understand what was being said in your husband's calls made this ruse all the simpler.

Your only obligation to your husband is to indicate to him that you simply now understand much of what he says. Miss Manners isn’t suggesting that your husband is deliberately hiding anything from you – only that it could be irritating to him for those who asked, “What did you mean when you said we weren't sure about going to the Bahamas this winter? I thought we had made up our minds.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I even have noticed that many restaurant waiters take orders without writing them down. This applies to orders with several exceptions, comparable to “no cheese, dressing separately, vegetables instead of fries”, etc.

This makes my husband and I nervous. The orders are often spot on, but we still wait for our meals with some trepidation.

If an order is unsuitable and never written down, are we allowed to refuse to tip (or at the very least reduce it significantly)? I feel it's rude to ask a waiter to jot down down the order if she or he doesn't need to.

Miss Manners assumes which you could be forgiving when the person you're serving is unsuitable, but she urges you to not withhold a tip. Mistakes occur and might easily occur even when the order is fully and accurately recorded. The true indicator of fine service is the way in which the restaurant and server handle the situation, not the error itself.

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