When you live with someone for a long time, you adopt their bad habits \u2026 because if you don\u2019t, you\u2019ll end up with a divorce or coronary. It\u2019s a form of compromise. You tell yourself, \u201cI don\u2019t like that, but I can\u2019t change it, so I\u2019ll do it, too!\u201d For example, my wife used to go nuts when she found my dirty socks under the bed, but now she puts hers there, too and feels a lot better. (Just kidding.) The truth is Sandy carefully monitors my behavior so I don\u2019t slip into a vortex of bad habits. I am blessed. Last week, we were approaching the stop light when it turned yellow, so I pushed down on the accelerator and she started screaming, \u201cYou\u2019re gonna get us killed!!!\u201d Honestly, my intention wasn\u2019t to kill anyone. It was only to get my daughter to the train on time because she and my wife have another bad habit \u2014 they're always late. With her encouragement, I no longer run lights or at least try not to. And because of her habit-monitoring program, I no longer eat candy bars when my energy is flagging. Instead, I have some apple slices because it\u2019s better for my health. After the apple, my energy isn\u2019t flagging anymore so I can sprint out to my car, where I\u2019ll hide in the backseat and devour a Snickers. These are a few examples of how any couple that has lived together in marital bliss can change each other \u2026 for better or for worse, as they say when you stand before God and man in holy matrimony. During the past year, I\u2019ve adopted one of her habits and I can\u2019t break it!!! No matter how hard I try!!! She uses exclamation points whenever she text-messages me. I guess she wants to make her point, or maybe she thinks she has to emphasize it to get me to listen. I could be driving around town, minding my own business and looking for an opportunity to spend money I don\u2019t have at the bookstore or Starbucks, when suddenly I get a text-message: \u201cWe need milk! Be sure to buy lactose free! No fat!! Not two percent!\u201d She probably thinks the more exclamation points she uses, the more likely I am to get it right!!! So I pull out of the Starbucks drive thru and head for ShopRite, at which point I receive another text-message: \u201cAnd don\u2019t forget to pick up your shirts at the cleaners!\u201d Exclamation points make me nervous. They cause anxiety and high blood pressure. They remind me of when I was a kid and my mother was always yelling at me: \u201cCLEAN YOUR ROOM!\u201d \u201cBRING OUT THE GARBAGE!\u201d \u201cPICK YOUR CLOTHES UP OFF THE FLOOR!\u201d I don't think I ever knew a person who used exclamation points until I met my wife \u2026 and then my daughters came along and I saw messages like BFF!!!! XOXOX!!! GO GAELS!!! PAUL ASKED ME OUT!!! Even though I\u2019m Italian and prone to excitability, I\u2019ve tried to maintain a peaceful demeanor, and one of the ways I\u2019ve done that has been through the restrained and judicious use of the exclamation point, which after years of teaching grammar I concluded was a virtually useless mark of punctuation that should never have been invented! But now I\u2019m hooked! There are 14 punctuation marks: the period, question mark, comma, semicolon, colon, dash, hyphen, parentheses, brackets, braces, apostrophe, quotation marks, ellipsis and exclamation point. (I think we could easily get rid of five of them, even though they tend to be the ones I use in this column.) Now, when Sandy text-messages me and says, \u201cYou need to come home soon! We have dinner with the Cincottas tonight!\u201d I text-message her back: \u201cI\u2019m on my way!!! Be sure you\u2019re ready!!!\u201d If she uses one, I\u2019ll use three. It\u2019s like the nuclear arms race between Russia and America. It\u2019s reached a point where we\u2019re suffering from exclamation point overload. Even though I\u2019m using more of them, it\u2019s not having the same effect. One doesn\u2019t satisfy the urge! So I resort to three!!! I\u2019m trying to control my habit, and I\u2019m trying to cut down to one exclamation point per sentence! But I just can\u2019t!!!! Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.