The Situation: Money
We know this sounds like a caveman-cavewoman stereotype, so we'll run with it: When the Flintstone family bank account runs dry, Wilma can't help stressing over how she'll hunt and gather to keep the household going, so she vents...to Fred (FYI: that's you). Meanwhile, the caveman may have trouble sleeping or develop quite a temper. But rather than verbalize his stress to his wife, he gets down to business on fixing the budget (men are problem-solvers by nature).
The compromise: Come up with a plan of action together to trim your monthly budget, especially if one of you is out of work. She'll be able see the situation more clearly, and he'll have the opportunity to show her that he's got it all under control.
The Situation: Annoying Friend
Everyone has friends who flake out, talk smack or are really self-centered. Rather than let toxic buddies roll off her back like you do, she'll endlessly bitch, analyze, rehash, then ask your opinion. Why? Women are very verbal and relationship-oriented—that's her way of feeling better. Not only do guys fail to pick up on the same nuanced friendship issues that women do (most of the time), they just don't see what the big deal is! Rather than take a friend's faux pas personally, they tend to brush off their behavior and shrug: "Eh, that's just him."
The compromise: He needs to listen more while she vents—and she shouldn't get annoyed when he lets the same issue roll off his back.
The Situation: Running Late
Women are empathizers, so when you're checking baseball scores on the Internet instead of getting in the shower, she can't help but worry about her poor friends waiting at the restaurant. Prepare to be ignored the entire drive over. And while you're busy blowing out your hair or going through outfit choices, he's tapping his foot, checking his watch and shouting for you to "Come on, already!" Of course, every time he hears, "Just a second," he gets one step closer to losing his mind.
The compromise: Explain yourselves—maybe she gets embarrassed when he consistently shows up late, or he feels anxiety when she's nowhere near ready. Then make a promise: The serially tardy spouse must get ready 15 minutes earlier next time. Period.
The Situation: Trying to Conceive
If your wife has babies on the brain, she may seem possessed. She may order you into bed like a drill sergeant: "It's go time, now, now, sex!" Of course, every month that she's not pregnant, she may feel dejected and take out her frustration out on you too. He still wants to have sex just for the hell of it. Unfortunately, the pressure to perform night after night may turn him off to sex completely. Plus, if you're not conceiving, he'll think he's shooting blanks. Ouch, talk about a blow to the ego!
The compromise: Look at this time as an opportunity to have lots and lots of sex— seduce each other, try new things, play with toys. You'll both get what you want without feeling like baby-making machines.
By Jennifer Benjamin
See More: Couple Issues , Love & Sex