It is absolutely normal for marital partners to push each others buttons. We often have a hard time understanding "What's the big deal?" when our partner seemingly 'overreacts.'
But what if we tried to understand why that behavior or those particular words evoke such a strong reaction?
After some work in an Imago Couples Workshop, I learned why my husband needed space now and then. I had often interpreted his retreating to himself as a rejection of me. Then I was hurt. I complained, pouted, and probably badgered him. I learned that he experienced his parents as being overly intrusive at times, and that he felt safe when he could have some solitude. He learned why I reacted so strongly, too. My father had been emotionally distant, and I often felt unloved by him. I needed contact with my husband to reassure me that he loved me!
Understanding the source of our conflict has gone a long way to resolving it. We can openly express to each other our needs, and we understand that our needs are different. We have learned to "stretch" into new behaviors in order to give each other what we need. This is growth that arose out of our conflicts.