The most common way women unknowingly start arguments is by not being direct when they share their feelings. Instead of directly expressing her dislike or disappointment, a woman asks rhetorical questions and unknowingly communicates a message of disapproval. Even though sometimes this is not the message she wants to give it is generally what a man will hear.
For example, when a man is late, a woman may feel "I don't like waiting for you when you are late" or "I was worried that something had happened to you". When he arrives, instead of directly sharing her feelings she askes a rhetorical question like "How could you be so late?" or "What an I supposed to htink when you're so late?" or "Why didn't you call?"
Certainly asking someone "Why didn't you call?" is OK if you are sincerely looking for a valid reason. But when a woman is upset the tone of her voice often reveals that she is not looking for a valid answer but is making the point that there is no acceptable reason for being late.
When a man hears a question like "How could you be so late?" or "Why didn't you call?" he does not hear her feelings but instead hears he disapproval. He feels her intrusive desire to help him be more responsible. He feels attacked and becomes more defensive. She has no idea how painful her disapproval is to him.
Just as women need validation, men need approval. The more a man loves a woman, the more he needs her approval. It is always there in the beginning of a relationship. Either she gives him the message that she approves of him or he feels confident that he can win her approval. In either case the approval is present.
A woman withdrawing that approval is particularly painful to a man. Woman are generally oblivious of how they pull away their approval. And when they do pull it away, they feel very justified in doing so. A reason for this insensitivity is that woman really are unaware of how significant approval is for men.
A woman can, however, learn to disagree with a man's behavior and still approve of who he is. For a man to feel loved he needs her to approve of who he is, even if she disagrees with his behavior. Generally when a woman disagrees with a man's behavior and she wants to change him, she will disapprove of him. Certainly there may be times when she is more approving and less approving of him, but to be disapproving is very painful and hurts him.
Most men are too ashamed to admit how much they need approval. They may go to great lenghts to prove they don't care. But why do they immediatly become cold, distant, and efensive when they lose a woman's approval? Becase not getting what they need hurts.
One of the reasons relationships are so successful in the beginning is that a man is still in a woman's good graces. He is still her knight in shining armor. He receives the blessings of her approval, and as a result, rides high. but as soon as he begins to disappoint her, he falls from grace. He loses her approval. All of a sudden he is cast out into the doghouse.
A man can deal with a woman's disappointment, but when it is expressed with disapproval or rejection he feels wounded by her. Women commonly interrogate a man about his behavior with a disapproving tone. They do this because they think it will teach him a lesson. It does not. It only creates fear and resentment. And gradually he becomes less and less motivated.
To approve of a man is to see the good reasons behind what he does. Even when he is irresponsible or lazy or disrespectful, if she loves him, a woman can find and recognize the goodness within him. To approve is to find the loving intention or the goodness behind the outside behavior.
To treat a man as if he has no good reason for what he does is to hold the approval she so freely gave in the beginning of the relationship. A woman needs to remember that she can still give approval even when she disagrees.