Dr Gottman has said the majority of domestic arguments are about NOTHING.
I think what he means is that if neither the husband nor wife is prepared to let things slide they will row, and the best thing you can do to keep domestic harmony is to let little, irrelevant comments go. Don’t pick up your spouse every time you disagree with them, even if you’re right.
An example is to be found in the home of my own, beloved parents. They argue quite a lot about the fridge – not major, shouting or screaming arguments but little disagreements which have added up over the years to make the fridge quite an issue.
My Dad doesn’t think they should use the fridge as often as they do, because in his youth (in the 1930’s) he didn’t have a fridge. The had a meat cupboard, which was a small box with a mesh front to keep the flies away, and the other things like milk, butter, cheese and vegetables were left in the open. They didn’t have much money so I suspect there wasn’t much that could go bad.
My Mum keeps using the fridge because it prolongs the life of all the food she puts in there.
After 40 years of marriage they aren’t going to resolve the fridge issue, but they could let it go, or one of them could just smile and count to ten the next time the word ‘fridge’ is uttered in their house. It would reduce the number of small arguments about nothing and I think the issue would disappear pretty quickly if one of them let the other speak without answering back.