But here's how to avoid the top 3 spat-starters, according to Dr. Yvonne Thomas, psychologist to the stars:
- First, there's the "eye roll." It shows you find the person or the subject annoying, but don't have the time or the courage - to say so. Studies show that couples who roll their eyes at each other are much more likely to have marital problems than those who don't. So, stop the urge by closing your eyes for a second. Then make a fist for 2 seconds and release--Relaxing your hand muscles literally lets you let go of tension.
- A second common fight-starter is abandonment. For example, you're in the midst of a romantic interlude, when your child yells, "Mommy, come here!" Don't just scoot off, and promise to come right back. This will just confirm your husband's deepest fear that he's the odd-man-out when it comes to the mother-child bond. So, if it's not an emergency, tell your husband "I guess the kids need us." Then call out to the kids, "We're coming!" Using the word "we" makes the two of you a team, which reassures your spouse that his place in the family is secure.
- And the third and final spat-starter is--When your spouse comes home angry and slams a few doors, and you quietly disappear until he calms down. If you don't respond to his "hints" that something is wrong, he'll assume you just don't care. So, what's the fix? Say something like, "I can see you're upset. What can I do to help?" Even if he doesn't want to talk, the fact that you picked up on his distress reassures him you're there if he needs you.