"What seems like a small thing to you is a big thing to me."
How can we reach our partner?
What skills must we deploy to better appreciate and respect our partners wishes?
Avoid ambushing your partner. Instead, lay the groundwork for good communication and a meaningful dialogue: "Is now a good time to chat?"
Make eyeball to eyeball contact: avoid talking to the back or shouting from the other room.
Ask if your partner feels heard by you. Ask if there's anything to add.
Use calming, connecting language: "We are on the same team. We can agree to disagree but let's hear each other completely."
Do not drag up all of the past flaws in an argument. Of course, this is very difficult to restrain ourselves in the heat of anger and hurt. But, stick to one topic at a time: "I'd like to have more sex. How can we talk about this?"
Be overly generous where you can: "I shouldn't take for granted that you pay our bills on time and provide for us so well. Thank you."