People know they have subtle conflicts in their relationships with each other. But they pick on mundane things, small details, on the pretense that the relationship exists purely in those mundane situations. Since the other person doesn’t want to relate with the subtleties either, he or she will also approach the relationship from that mundane point of view. That small disagreement over who takes out the trash or cleans the pots in the sink may be solved by common sense, but something greater is still not solved. Even saying “Good morning, how are you today?” could have all sorts of implications behind it.
Once you begin to focus solely on the simple situation as the problem, without acknowledging the larger disagreements, this situation becomes more and more complicated. You have to respect the whole situation and use your intelligence.
From “Overcoming Obstacles to Work,” in Work, Sex, Money: Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness, pages 61-62.