Just as we often fall in love with the little traits or quirks of our partner--a crooked smile, a goofy laugh or the way he or she fawns over a pet--we can fall out of love over seemingly small things
Aggravation over the little characteristics we would like to change about our mate can build up over time and become much more than the sum of their parts. As any divorce attorney can tell you, a dirty sock left on the floor has a way of turning into: "You do not listen to me, you do not respect me, you do not care about me."
Don't sweat the small stuff? Don't kid yourself.
The experts--marriage counselors and researchers who study why some marriages last while others crumble--can tell you that most unions that fail do so not because of big setbacks, such as a job loss or a sickness in the family.
"When couples experience these big challenges, they actually come together and support one another," says Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. "Instead, it's the seemingly small things that pull them apart."
Wondering exactly what constitutes a small annoyance? Try this: Ask your friends and family what drives them nuts about their spouses or significant others.
Husbands told me about wives who 'chomp' their gum or park the car crooked in the driveway, and wives griped about husbands who leave newspapers on the floor, refuse to put coasters under their drinks or walk around the house naked.
Bathroom habits came up repeatedly. I've listened to tirades from men and women about toilet seats (up or down), toilet paper (over the roll or under it), hair left in the sink, bras hanging on the back of the door, dirty tiles and toothpaste tubes. "You cannot squeeze from the middle," one woman insisted.
So how do you cope when your partner's habits start to push you over the edge?
Set realistic expectations.
Acknowledge that there are just some things that you will not like about your partner all the time.
Focus on the positive.
Dr. Orbuch suggests making a list of 10 characteristics you actually adore--or at least tolerate--in your spouse. "When you turn your concentration to what is going well, it motivates you to keep going in that direction," she says.
Discuss the behavior, not your spouse's personality.
This allows your partner to change. And be careful to use the word "I" and not "you". (It is helpful to say: "I get upset when you leave your underwear on the bathroom floor." It's not beneficial to say, "You are a slob," even if it's true.)
Find the right time and place to discuss an annoying habit.
Right after work or as your spouse is drifting off to sleep is not it. You might want to send your partner an email during the day asking to discuss a certain behavior later.
Be prepared to compromise.
Didn't your mother ever teach you that you can be right or you can be happy? Choose happy.
If all else fails, go to bed mad.
When you are tired you become irrational. You'll probably have more perspective in the morning.
2010-04-28 17:47 编辑：kuaileyingyu
It seems really easy to get into an argument, and very hard to stop once it has started, however, it's not impossible. Let's take a look at the ways you can stop an argument in it'
Couples should consider sleeping apart for the good of their health and relationship, say experts. Sleep specialist Dr Neil Stanley told the British Science Festival how bed shari