When one partner disappoints the other, probably at least one of them will pull away. Both spouses will feel offended and the relationship will cool off. Well, at least for a little while, depending on the severity of the offense. But, as natural as this seems, is it the best path to follow?
Of course, we all respond to disappointment in our spouses. But sometimes we pull away while at other times, we just try to let things be. Actually, neither is inherently the better approach. For example, when Tom drives Linda crazy with his forgetfulness, she tries to put a positive spin on things. "He's a great guy. He can't help it if his memory is not so great." As long as Linda isn't too upset, this approach is fine. But if she is really annoyed, then she needs to admit to Tom that this is a difficulty in their marriage. Nothing more needs to happen, but both parties should be aware of their triggers.
On the other hand, Ralph is very vocal about his displeasure whenever Sandy forgets what he just told her. "It's like you just don't listen to me! Don't you care what I am saying?" Unfortunately, Sandy was too busy noticing Ralph's displeasure to pay much heed to his words. So, Sandy will pull away until Ralph makes amends for his anger.
But what if, whenever your spouse angers or disappoints you, instead of pulling away, you move closer? "Honey, I am really disappointed that you forgot that I don't like mayonnaise in my sandwich, but I love you very much. Give me a hug." Might this be more productive?
Yes, if you are angry, then you need time to cool down. And yes, this is assuming that your spouse actually does love and respect you; they're just momentarily distracted or are on overload. And, yes again, we all have our own arguing styles. Some people need to be loud and vent. But still consider this alternative. What if you could share your feelings of disappointment but sandwich them in love? Perhaps then we wouldn't go so far down the road of negativity each time we are upset.