Men, if you want to infuriate your wife, try taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon just as she's revving up the to-do list.
Forget sex, communication, inlaws and the toilet seat wars. If you really want to stir up a hornet's nest inside a marriage, just bring up the subject of naps.
Men love them and women despise them.
Actually, let me rephrase, men love to take them and women despise them for enjoying it.
"But why?" says the man. "Haven't I earned it? Don't I deserve it? Isn't your home supposed to be where you relax?"
Well, sort of.
This is yet another case of where the opposite sexes - opposite being the operative word here - have completely different perspectives, and unspoken assumptions collide on Saturday afternoon.
In most cases, men view their home as a refuge while women think it's the place where the real work gets done.
When we women see a pile of dirty dishes and laundry strewn about the floor, we don't just see a mess; we literally feel a failure. We could have spent the workday brokering world peace but, if our home isn't running smoothly, we feel out of whack. It might not make sense, but it's the way most of us are wired.
For men, home is a place to escape from work. When he walks in, he doesn't see a system out of balance, disorganized supplies or poorly maintained equipment. All he sees is a long soft comfortable surface that - if you knock the pizza boxes and old newspapers off - is the perfect place to lie down.
Neither is right or wrong, and we don't all fall into these stereotypes. But for most of us, hubby's afternoon nap is more likely to generate heavy sighs and eye rolls than an offer to fluff his pillows.
You can't eliminate the differences between men and women; but you can try to see the world through your partner's eyes.
Men, imagine you're on a deadline at work. It's years away, but this is the most important project of your life, so you leave nothing to chance. You create detailed schedules of what must be done and you set benchmarks for your team, because you know if you slack off, even for a minute, you will fail.
Now, imagine you've set aside an entire day to work on this huge life-defining multiyear project - the one that will determine the success or failure of your entire organization - and just as you're ready to get started, your co-worker, says, "I think I'll take a nap."
Guys, you can argue all you want about whether or not leaving the screen door broken for another week is going to derail your family, but women are hardwired to keep things running at peak efficiency and when you conk out, it feels like you just don't care.
Yes, you deserve a nap. But you're more likely to be undisturbed if you tell her how long you'll be down, and exactly which tasks you'll be delighted to do when you wake up.
As for women, imagine you're walking into the spa and just as you're about to slip on a comfy robe, the manager says, "Great, you're just in time to scrub the floor."
Cut your man some slack. Do what I do - just tape the to-do list to his forehead while he's asleep.
E-mail Lisa Earl McLeod at www.ForgetPerfect.com