I have found that sometimes, we say one thing and our partner hears something else. In which case we are not being effective in our communication, we might as well be speaking different languages. How we express ourselves can make a huge difference in the initial reaction our partner has.
My husband tends to ask "Why?" instead of being sympathetic, putting my on the defensive when I'm already struggling with issues. It can make me feel as if he is calling me an idiot. What I hear is "Why in the Hell would you feel that way, that's just stupid!" There are things that I do that put him on the defensive immediately also (can't remember what they are right now
). Do a search for Non-Violent communcation, it can make a huge difference. Don't know if there is a tag search on that here, but there is stuff all over the web.