If I were to say this to someone in the presence of my Polish-speaking wife, would this be considered to be a bit rude, either by my wife or the addressee? I would (in English) normally say, "this lady is my wife", so is there a 'better' word than "kobieta"?
(IRL, my wife doesn't speak Polish, so I'd be safe :-) )
"dama" is the more literal meaning of "lady", so while in theory you could say that, that's something between affectionate and joking...
I guess "pani" may be the safest choice. But it's... strangely polite? At least to my ear. I guess I just wouldn't say that at all. Not with such a construction. Not only because I'm not married ;)