When you have arguments, do you deal with them as the current issue by itself, or as an indication of the other's overall behavior? Which is the right way to deal with it?
Keep the argument focused on the point of disagreement only.
Doing anything else damages the relationship
There are times when the issue IS a pattern of behavior -- but even then, you can make you point about the specific behavior, not about a personality trait. Consider this:
"I get annoyed when you're out with your work buddies for Happy Hour and don't call to let me know when to expect you home. When you don't call, I don't know whether to hold dinner for you or not, and that makes me feel like my efforts aren't appreciated."
"You're so inconsiderate! You NEVER call when you're going to be late coming home."
I would add.....
While your keeping your focus don't let the other party get away with taking it global either.
Unless it's time to deal the overall behavior...but that should take some prep. before launching.
I prefer to talk about a single issue because it is almost impossible to come to a resolution about more than one issue at a time. There is no point to arguing if you do not expect or desire a resolution to an issue. Otherwise you are just yelling at each other and that accomplishes nothing.
To use the example above, I'd limit my talk to "Please call when you are going to be late so I can have dinner ready (or not) when you get home. Also I worry very much about you when I expect you home and you aren't there. I promise not to be mad when you call." Saying you don't feel appreciated without offering a solution is just trying to make the other party feel bad, and puts him on the defensive. All that does is inflame the argument and nothing get resolved.
Trying to remember. Something about use "I" messages, not "you" messages. As in "I feel worried when you are out late and don't call" rather than, "You never call when you are out late".
Unfortunately, we will always be at odds with this one. He uses every mistake as a pattern of behavior; I try to look at each one as its separate issue.