certain portion of our savings in aggressive stocks. From my point of view 1 was only considering it, but what she heard was that 1 was planning it (without even considering her point of view). She became upset that I would do such a thing. 1 became upset with her for being upset with me, and we had an argument.

 

1 thought she disapproved of my investment choices and argued for their validity. My argument however was fueled by my anger that she was upset with me. She argued that aggressive stocks were too risky. But really she was upset that 1 would consider this investmerit without exploring her ideas on the subject. In addition she was upset that 1 was not respecting her right to be upset. Eventually I became so upset that she apologized to me for misunderstanding and mistrusting me and we cooled down.

 

Later on, after we had made up, she posed this question. She said, "Many times when we argue, it seems that 1 get upset about something, and then you get upset that 1 am upset, and then 1 have to apologize for upsetting you. Somehow 1 think something is missing. Sometimes I would like you to tell me you are sorry for upsetting me."

 

Immediately 1 saw the logic of her point of view. Expecting an apology from her did seem rather unfair, especially when 1 upset her first. This new insight transformed our relationship. As 1 shared this experience in my seminars I discovered that thousands of women could immediately identify with my wife's experience. It was another common male/female pattern. Let's review the basic pattern.

 

1. A woman expresses ber upset feelings about "XYZ"

 

2. A man explains why she shouldn't be upset about "XYZ."

 

3. She feels invalidated and becomes more upset. (She is now more upset about being invalidated than about "XYW.")

4. He feels her disapproval and becomes upset. He blames her for upsetting him and expects an

 

apology before making up.

 

5. She apologizes and wonders what happened, or she becomes

 

MOM upset and the argument escalates into a battle.

 

With a clearer awareness of the anatomy of an argument, 1 was able to solve this problem in a fairer way. Remembering that women are from Venus, 1 Practiced not blaming her for being upset. Instead I would seek to understand how 1 had upset her and show her that 1 cared. Even if she was misunderstanding me, if she felt hurt by me 1 needed to let her know that 1 cared and was sorry.

 

When she would become upset 1 learned first to listen, then genuinely to try to understand what she was upset about, and then to say. "I'm sorry that 1 upset you when 1 said -." The result was immediate. We argued much less.

 

Sometimes, however, apologizing is very difficult. At those times I take a deep breath and say nothing. Inside I try to imagine how she feels and discover the reasons from her point of view. Then 1 say, "I'm sorry you feel so upset." Although this is not an apology it does say "I care," and that seems to help a lot.

 

Men rarely say "I'm sorry" because on Mars it means you have done something wrong and you are apologizing. Women, however. say I'm sorry" as a way to say "I care about what you are feeling

 

It doesn't mean they are apologizing for doing something wrong. The men reading this who rarely say "I am sorry" can create wonders by learning to use this aspect of the Venusian language. The

 

easiest way to derail an argument is to say "I'm sorry."

 

Most arguments escalate when a man begins to invalidate a woman's feelings and she responds to him disapprovingly. Being a man, I've had to learn to practice validating. My wife practiced expressing her feelings more directly without disapproving of me. The result was fewer fights and more love and trust. Without having this new awareness we probably would still be having the same arguments.

 

inful arguments it is important to recognize how

 

To avoid pai

 

men unknowingly invalidate and how women unknowingly send messages of disapproval .

 

Now Men Unknowingly Start Arguments

 

The most common way men start arguments is by invalidating a woman's feelings or point of view. Men don't realize how much they invalidate.

 

For example, a man may make light of a woman's negative feelings. He might say "Ah, don't worry about it." To another man this phrase would seem friendly. But to a female intimate partner it is insensitive and hurts.

 

In another example, a man might try to resolve a woman's upset by saying "It's not such a big deal." Then he offers some practical solution to the problem, expecting her to be relieved and happy. He doesn't understand that she feels invalidated and unsupported. She cannot appreciate his solution until he validates her need to be upset.

 

A very common example is when a man has done something to upset a woman. His instinct is to make her feel better by explaining why she shouldn't be upset. He confidently explains that he has a Perfectly good, logical, and rational reason for what he did. He has

no idea that this attitude makes her feel as though she has no right to be upset. When he explains himself, the only message she right hear is that he doesn't care about her feelings.

 

For her to hear his good reasons, she first needs him to hear her good reasons for being upset. He needs to put his explanations on hold and listen with understanding. When he simply starts to care about her feelings she will start to feel supported.

 

This change in approach takes practice but can be achieved. Generally, when a woman shares feelings of frustration, disappointment, or worry every cell in a man's body instinctively reacts with a list of explanations and justifications designed to explain away her upset feelings. A man never intends to make matters worse. His tendency to explain away feelings is just Martian instinct.

 

By understanding that his automatic gut reactions in this instance are counterproductive, a man can, however, make this shift. Through a growing awareness and his experiences of what works with a woman, a man can make this change.

 

Now Women Unknowingly Start Arguments

 

The most common way women unknowingly start arguments Is by not being direct when they share their feelings. Instead of directly expressing her dislike or disappointment, a woman asks rhetorical questions and unknowingly (or knowingly) communicates a message of disapproval. Even though sometimes this is not the message she wants to give it is generally what a man will hear.

 

For example, when a man is late, a woman may feel "I don't like waiting for you when you are late" or "I was worried that something had happened to you." When he arrives, instead of directly sharing her feelings she asks a rhetorical question like "How could you be so late?" or "What am 1 supposed to think when

 

you're so late?" or "Why didn't you call?"

 

Certainly asking someone "Why didn't you call?" is OK if you

 

                          in                                                                     1        But when a woman is upset

are sincerely look' g for a valid reason. S                        1

 

the tone of her voice often reveals that she not looking for a valid answer but is making the point that there is no acceptable reason for being late.

 

When a man hears a question like "How could you be so late?" or "Why didn't you call?" he does not hear her feelings but instead hears her disapproval. He feels her intrusive desire to help him be more responsible. He feels attacked and becomes defensive. She has no idea how painful her disapproval is to him.

 

just as women need validation, men need approval. The more a man loves a woman the more he needs her approval. It is always there in the beginning of a relationship. Either she gives him the message that she approves of him or he feels confident that he can win her approval. In either case the approval is present.

 

Even if a woman has been wounded by other men or her father she will still give approval in the beginning of the relationship. She may feel "He is a special man, not like others 1 have known."

 

A woman withdrawing that approval is particularly painful to a man. Women are generally oblivious of how they pull away their approval. And when they do pull it away, they feel very justified in doing so. A reason for this insensitivity is that women really are unaware of how significant approval is for men.

 

A woman can, however, learn to disagree with a man's behavior and still approve of who he is. For a man to feel loved he needs her to approve of who he is, even if she disagrees with his behavior. Generally when a woman disagrees with a man's behavior and she wants to change him, she will disapprove of him. Certainly there may be times when she is more approving and less approving of him, but to be disapproving is very painful and hurts him.

 

Most men are too ashamed to admit how much they need approval. They may go to great lengths to prove they don't care. But why do they Immediately become cold, distant, and defensive when they lose a woman's approval? Because not getting what they need hurts.

One of the reasons relationships are so successful In the beginning is that a man is still in a woman's good graces. He is still her knight in shining armor. He receives the blessings of her approval and, as a result, rides high. But as soon as he begins to disappoint her, he falls from grace. He loses her approval. All of a sudden he is cast out into the doghouse.

 

A man can deal with a woman's disappointment, but when it is expressed with disapproval or rejection he feels wounded by her. Women commonly interrogate a man about his behavior with a disapproving tone. They do this because they think it will teach him a lesson. It does not. It only creates fear and resentment. And gradually he becomes less and less motivated.

 

To approve of a man is to see the good reasons behind what he does. Even when he is irresponsible or lazy or disrespectful, if she loves him, a woman can find and recognize the goodness within him. To approve is to find the loving intention or the goodness behind the outside behavior.

 

To treat a man as if he has no good reason for what he does is to withhold the approval she so freely gave in the beginning of the relationship. A woman needs to remember that she can still give approval even when she disagrees.

 

One critical pair of problems from which arguments arise:

 

1. The man feels that the woman disapproves of his point of view.

 

2. Or the woman disapproves of the way the man is talking to her.

 

When He Needs Nor Approval do Most

 

Most arguments occur not because two people disagree but because

either the man feels that the woman disapproves of his point of view

or the woman disapproves of the way he is talking to her. She often

may disapprove of him because he is not validating her point of

 

View or speaking to her in a caring way. When men and women learn to approve and validate, they don't have to argue. They can discuss and negotiate differences.

 

When a man makes a mistake or forgets to do an errand or fulfill some responsibility, a woman doesn't realize how sensitive he feels. This is when he needs her love the most. To withdraw ber approval at this point causes him extreme pain. She may not even realize she is doing it. She may think she is just feeling disappointed, but he feels her disapproval.

 

One of the ways women unknowingly communicate disapproval is In their eyes and tone of voice. The words she chooses may be loving, but her look or the tone of her voice can wound a man. Flis defensive reaction is to make her feel wrong. He invalidates her and justifies himself.

 

Men are most prone to argue when they have made a mistake or upset the woman they love. If he disappoints her, he wants to explain to her why she should not be so upset. He thinks his reasons will help her to feel better. What he doesn't know is that if she is upset, what she needs most is to be heard and validated.

 

NOW TO EXPRESS YOUR DIFFERENCES WITHOUT ARGUING

 

Without healthy role models, expressing differences and disagreements can be a very difficult task. Most of our parents either did. not argue at all or when they did it quickly escalated into a fight. The following chart reveals how men and women unknowingly create arguments and suggests healthy alternatives.

 

In each of the types of arguments listed below 1 first provide a rhetorical question that a woman might ask and then show how a man might interpret that question. Then 1 show how a man might

explain hi self and how a woman could feel invalidated by what

 

m she hears. Finally 1 suggest how men and women can express themselves to be more supportive and avoid arguments.

 

THE ANATOMY OF AN ARGUMENT

 

1. When He Comes Home Late

Her rhetorical question The message he bears

 

When he arrives late she says                                                      The message he hears is "There is

"How could you be so late?" or                                                    no good reason for you to be late!

.Why didn't you call?" or "What                                                  You are irresponsible. 1 would

am 1 supposed to think?"     never be late. 1 am better than you."

 

What he explains The message she bears

 

When he arrives late and she is                                                   What she hears is "You shouldn't

upset he explains "There was a lot                                             be upset because 1 have these good

of traffic on the bridge- or "Some-                                              and logical reasons for being late.

times life can't be the way you                                                    Anyway my work is more impor

want" or "You can't expect me to                                                tant than you, and you are too

         always be on time."                                demanding!"

 

New she to be less disapproving Now h ion h more validating

 

She could say " I really don't                                                        He says "I was late, I'm sorry I

like it when you are late. It is                                                      upset you." Most important is to

upsetting to me. 1 would really                                                  j . ust listen without explaining much.

appreciate a call next time   Try to understand and validate

you are going to be late."      what she needs to feel loved.

 

2. When He Forgets Something

Her rhetorical question The message !Le hears

 

When he forgets to do something, The message he hears is "There is

 

she says "How could you     no good reason for forgetting. You

 

forget?" or "When will you   are stupid and can't he trusted. I

ever remember?" or "How am 1                                                  give so much more to this relation

supposed to trust you?"                                            ship. "

 

What he explains _The message _she hors

 

When he forgets to do something                                              What she hears is "You shouldn't

and she gets upset he explains "I                                                get so upset over such trivial mat

was real busy and just forgot.                                                     ters. You are being too demanding

These things just happen some-                                                 and your response is irrational.

times" or "It's not such a big deal.                                               Try to be more realistic. You live

It doesn't mean 1 don't care."                                                       in a fantasy world."

 

Now she con he less disapproving Now he con he more validating

 

If she is upset, she could say "I..........................                          He says "I did forget           Are you

 

don't like it when you forget." She                                            angry with me?" Then let her talk

could also take another effective                                                without making her wrong for

approach and simply not mention                                             being angry. As she talks she will

that he has forgotten something                                                 realize she is being heard and soon

and just ask again, saying "I would                                            she will feel very appreciative of

 

        appreciate it if you would                                                                "           him.

 

(He will know he has forgotten.)

 

3. When He Returns from His Cove

Her rhetorical question The message he bears

 

When he comes back from his                                                     The message he hears is "There 'S

cave, she says "How could you be .                                             no good reason for pulling away

so unfeeling and cold?" or "How                                                 from me. You are cruel and unlov-         do

you expect me to react?" or                                                           rig. You are the wrong man for

"How am I supposed to know                                                       me. You have hurt me so much

 

what's going on inside you?" more than 1 have ever hurt you."

~!LO *IM$ -TW m$ she bears

 

When he comes back from his                                                     What she hears is "You shouldn't

cave and she is upset he explains "I                                            feel hurt or abandoned, and if you

needed some time alone, it was                                                  do, 1 have no empathy for you.

only for two days. What is the big                                              You are too needy and controlling.

deal?" or "I didn't do anything to                                                1 will do whatever 1 want, 1 don't

you. Why does it upset you so?"                                                  care about, your feelings."

 

New she Lo- im less disapproving How he im S wu@

Validating

 

If it upsets her she could say "I                                                    He says "I understand it hurts when

know you need to pull away at                                                   I pull away. It must be very painful

times but it still hurts when you pull                                        for you when I pull away. Let's talk

away. I'm not saying you are wrong                                          about it." (When she feels heard

but it is important to me for you to                                           then it is easier for her to accept his

understand what I go through."                                                 need to pull away at times.)

 

4. Men He Disappoints Nor

Her rhetorical question The message he hors

 

When he disappoints her, she says                                             The message he hears is "There is

"How could you do this?" or "Why                                             no good reason for disappointing

can't you do what you say you are go-                                       me. You are an idiot. You can't do

ing to do?'' or "Didn't you say you would                                anything right. 1 can't be happy

do it?" or "When will you ever learn?"                                       until you change!"

 

Mat he explains The message she hears

 

When she is disappointed with                                                   What she hears is "If you are upset

him, he explains "Hey, next time                                                it is your fault. You should be

I'll get. it right" or "It's not such a                                               more flexible. You shouldn't get

big deal" or "But 1 didn't know                                                   upset, and 1 have no empathy for

             what you meant."                                                you.

 

Now she con he less disapproving Now !M Lon h more valida

 

If she is upset she could say "I                                                     He says "I understand 1 disap

don't like being disappointed. 1                                                 pointed you. Let's talk about it

thought you were going to call. It's                                            How did you feel?" Again let her

OK and 1 need you to know how it                                           talk. Give ber a chance to be heard

 

                       feels when you                                                         "           and she will feel better. After a

                       .....................        while say to her "What do you

                       .....................        need from me now to feel my sup

                       .....................        Port?" or "How can 1 support you

                       .....................        now?"

 

5. When He Doesn't Respect Her Feelings and Hurts Her

 

1 Her rhetorical question              _The message h bears

 

When he doesn't respect her feel-                                               The message he hears is "You are

ings and hurts her. she says "How                                              a bad and abusive person. 1 am so

could you say that?" or "How                                                       much more loving than you. 1 will

could you treat me this way?" or                                                never forgive you for this. You

"Why can't you listen to me?" or                                                 should be punished and cast out.

"Do you even care about me any-                                               This is all your fault."

more?" or "Do 1 treat you this way?"

              What he explains             The message she bears

 

When he doesn't respect ber feel-                                               What she hears is "You have no

ings and she gets even more upset,                                            right to be upset. You are not

he explains "Look, 1 didn't mean                                                making any sense. You are too

that" or "I do listen to you; see 1                                                  sensitive, something is wrong with

am doing so right now" or "I                                                        you. You are such a burden."

don't always ignore you" or "I am

      not laughing at you."

Now she can h less disapproving                                                Now h ion !Le more

validating

She could say "I don't like the way                                            He says "I'm sorry, you don't

You are talking to me. Please stop"                                            deserve to be treated that way.--

or "You are being mean and I                                                      Take a deep breath and just listen

don't appreciate it. I want to take a                                            to her response. She may carry on

time-out" or "This is not the way I                                             and say something like "You never

wanted to have this conversation.                                              listen." When she pauses, say

Let's start over" or "I don't   "You are right. Sometimes 1 don't

deserve to be treated this way. I                                                 listen. I'm sorry, you don't deserve

 

           want to take a time-out" or.......................                        to be treated that way       Let's

 

"Would you please not interrupt"                                               start over. This time we will do it

or "Would you please listen to                                                     better." Starting a conversation

what 1 am saying." (A man can                                                    over is an excellent way to keep an

respond best to short and direct                                                 argument from escalating. If she

statements. Lectures or questions                                              doesn't want to start over don't

  are counterproductive.)       make her feel wrong. Remember,

                                                    if you give her the right to be upset

                                                    then she will be more accepting

                                                    and approving.

 

6. When He Is in a Hurry and She Doesn't Like It

 

Her rhetorical question The message he bears

 

She complains "Why are we                                                         The message he hears is "There is

always in a hurry?" or "Why do                                                   no good reason for this rushing!

you always have to rush places?"                                                You never make me happy.

                                                    Nothing will ever change you. You

                                                    are incompetent and obviously

                                                    you don't care about me."

              What he explains                 The messe she bears

 

He explains "it's not so bad" or                                                    What she hears is "You have no

"This is the way it has always                                                      right to complain. You should be

been" or "There is nothing we can                                              grateful for what you have and not

do about it now" or "Don't worry                                               be such a dissatisfied and unhappy

so much; it will be fine.---     person. There is no good reason to

                                                    complain, you are bringing every

                                                    one down."

 

Now she con he less disapproving New he can he more

validatin

 

if she feels upset she can say "It's                                                He says "I don't like it either. I

OK that we are rushing and I                                                      wish we could just slow down. It

don't like it. It feels like we're                                                     feels so crazy.---In this example he

always rushing" or "I love it when                                             has related to her feelings. Even if

we are not in a hurry and 1 hate it                                             a part of him likes to rush, he can

sometimes when we have to rush, 1                                          best support her in her moment of

just don't like it. Would you plan                                               frustration by expressing how

our next trip with fifteen minutes                                             some part of himself sincerely

                   of extra time?"        relates to her frustration.

 

7. When She Feels Invalidated in a Conversation Her rhetorical question _The message _he hears

 

When she feels unsupported or                                                  The message he hears is "There is

invalidated in a conversation, she                                              no good reason for treating me this

says "Why did you say that?" or                                                  way. Therefore you do not love

"Why do you have to talk to me                                                  me. You do not care. 1 give you so

this way?" or "Don't you even                                                     much and you give back nothing!"

care about what I'm saying?" or

"How can you say that?"

              What he explains            The message she bears

 

When she feels invalidated and                                                  What she hears is "You have no

gets upset, he explains "But you                                                 right to be upset. You are irra

are not making sense" or "But that                                             tional and confused. 1 know what

is not what 1 said" or "I've heard                                                is right and you don't. I am supe

                  all this before."      rior to you. You cause these argu

                                                    ments, not me."

how she to h less disapproving                                                   Now he con he more

validating

She could say "I don't like what                                                  He says "I'm sorry it's not com

You are saying. It feels as if you are                                           fortable for you. What are you

judging me. 1 don't deserve that.                                               hearing me say?" By giving her a

Please understand me" or "I've                                                    chance to reflect back what she has

had a hard day. 1 know this is not                                              heard then he can again say "I'm

ah your fault. And 1 need you to                                                sorry. 1 understand why you didn't

understand what I'm feeling.                                                      like it." Then simply pause. This is

OM" or she can simply overlook                                                 a time to listen. Resist the tempta

his comments and ask for what she                                           tion to explain to her that she is

wants, saying "I am in such a bad                                               misinterpreting what you said.

mood, would you listen to me for                                              Once the hurt is there it needs to be

a while? It will help me feel so                                                    heard if it is to be healed.

much better." (Men need lots of                                                  Explanations are helpful only after

encouragement to listen.)      the hurt is healed with some vali

                                                     dation and caring understanding.

 

GIVING SUPPORT AT DIFFICULT TIMES

 

Any relationship has difficult times. They may occur for a variety of reasons, like loss of a job, death, illness, or just not enough rest. At these difficult times the most important thing is to try to communicate with a loving, validating, and approving attitude. In addition we need to accept and understand that we and our partners will not always be perfect. By learning successfully to communicate in response to the smaller upsets in a relationship it becomes easier to deal with the bigger challenges when they suddenly appear.

 

In each of the above examples 1 have placed the woman in the role of being upset with the man for something he did or didn't do. Certainly men can also be upset with women, and any of my suggestions listed above apply equally to both sexes. If you are in a relationship, asking your partner how he or she would respond to the suggestions listed above is a useful exercise.

 

Take some time when you are not upset with your partner to discover what words work best for them and share what works best for you. Adopting a few "prearranged agreed-upon statements" can be immensely helpful to neutralize tension when conflict arises.

 

Also, remember that no matter how correct your choice of words, the feeling behind your words counts most. Even if you were to use the exact phrases listed above, if your partner didn't feel your

 

love, validation, and approval the tension would continue to increase. As 1 mentioned before, sometimes the best solution for avoiding conflict is to see it coming and lie low for a while. Take a time-out to center yourself so that you can then come together again with greater understanding, acceptance, validation, and approval.

 

Making some of these changes may at first feel awkward or even manipulative. Many people have the idea that love means "saying it like it is." This overly direct approach, however, does not take into account the listener's feelings. One can still be honest and direct about feelings but express them in a way that doesn't offend or hurt. By practicing some of the suggestions listed above, you will be stretching and exercising your ability to communicate in a more caring and trusting manner. After a while it will become more automatic.

 

If you are presently in a relationship and your partner is attempting to apply some of the above suggestions, keep in mind that they are trying to be more supportive. At first their expressions may seem not only unnatural but insincere. It is not possible to change a lifetime of conditioning in a few weeks. Be careful to appreciate their every step; otherwise they may quickly give up.

 

AVOIDING ARGUMENTS THROUGH LOVING COMMUNICATION

 

Emotionally charged arguments and quarrels can be avoided if we

can understand what our partner needs and remember to gi ve it.

The following story illustrates how when a woman communicates

directly her feelings and when a man validates those feelings an

argument can be avoided.

 

1 remember once leaving for a vacation with my wife. As we drove off in the car and could finally relax from a hectic week, I expected Bonnie to be happy that we were going on such a great vacation. Instead she gave a heavy sigh and said, "I feel like my life is a long, slow torture."

 

1 paused, took a deep breath, and then replied, "I know what you mean, I feel like they are squeezing every ounce of life out of me." As I said this 1 made a motion as if 1 were wringing the water out of a rag.

Bonnie nodded her head in agreement and to my amazement she suddenly smiled and then changed the subject. She started talking about how excited she was to go on this trip. Six years ago this would not have happened. We would have had an argument and 1 would have mistakenly blamed it on her.

1 would have been upset with her for saying her life was a long, slow torture. 1 would have taken it personally and felt that she was complaining about me. 1 would have become defensive and explained that our life was not a torture and that she should be grateful that we were going on such a wonderful vacation. Then we would have argued and had a long, torturous vacation. All this would have happened because 1 didn't understand and validate her feelings.

This time, I understood she was just expressing a passing feeling. It wasn't a statement about me. Because I understood this 1 didn't get defensive. By my comment about being wrung out she felt completely validated. In response, she was very accepting of me and 1 felt her love, acceptance, and approval. Because 1 have learned to validate her feelings, she got the love she deserved. We didn't have an argument.

Chapter 10

 

Scoring Points with

the Opposite Sex

 

A man thinks he scores high with a woman when he does something very big for her, like buying her a new car or taking her on a vacation. He assumes he scores less when he does something small, like opening the car door, buying her a flower, or giving her a hug. Based on this kind of score keeping, he believes he will fulfill her best by focusing his time, energy, and attention into doing something large for her. This formula, however, doesn't work because women keep score differently.

When a woman keeps score, no matter how big or small a gift of love is, it scores one point; each gift has equal value. Its size doesn't matter; it gets a point. A man, however, thinks he scores one point for one small gift and thirty points for a big gift. Since he doesn't understand that women keep score differently, he naturally focuses his energies into one or two big gifts.

A man doesn't realize that to a woman the little things are just as important as the big things. In other words, to a woman, a single rose gets as many points as paying the rent on time. Without understanding this basic difference in score keeping, men and women are continually frustrated and disappointed in their relationships.

 

The following case illustrates this:

 

In counseling, Pam said, "I do so much for Chuck and he ignores me. All he cares about is his work."

 

Chuck said, "But my work pays for our beautiful house and allows us to go on vacations. She should be happy."

 

Pam replied, "I don't care about this house or the vacations if we are not loving each other. I need more from you."

 

Chuck said, "You make it sound like you give so much more."

 

Pam said, "I do. 1 am always doing things for you. I do the wash, fix the meals, clean the house-everything. You do one thing-you go to work, which does pay the bills. But then you expect me to do every. thing else."

 

Chuck is a successful doctor. Like most professionals his work is very time consuming but very profitable. He couldn't understand why his wife, Pam, was so discontent. He earned a "good living" and he provided a "good life" for his wife and family, but when he came home his wife was unhappy.

 

In Chuck's mind, the more money he made at work, the less he needed to do at, home to fulfill his wife. He thought his hefty paycheck at the end of the month scored him at least thirty points. When he opened his own clinic and doubled his income, he assumed he was now scoring sixty points a month. He had no idea that his paycheck earned him only one point each month with Pam-no matter how big it was.

 

Chuck did not realize that from Pam's point of view, the more

 

he earned, the less she got. His new clinic required more time and energy. To pick up the slack she began to do even more to manage their personal life and relationship. As she gave more, she felt as if she was scoring about sixty points a month to his one. This made her very unhappy and resentful.

 

Pam felt she was giving much more and getting less. From Chuck's point of view he was now giving more (sixty points) and should get more from his wife. In his mind the score was even. He was satisfied with their relationship except for one thing-she wasn't happy. He blamed her for wanting too much. To him, his increased payc equaled what she was giving. This attitude made Pam even more angry.

 

After listening to my relationship course on tape, both pam and Chuck were able to let go of their blame and solve their problem with love. A relationship headed for divorce was transformed.

 

Chuck learned that doing little things for his wife made a big difference. He was amazed at how quickly things changed when he started devoting more time and energy to her. He began to appreciate that for a woman little things are just as important as big things. He now understood why his work scored only one point.

 

Actually, Pam had good reason to be unhappy. She truly needed Chuck's personal energy, effort, and attention much more than their wealthy lifestyle. Chuck discovered that by spending less energy making money and devoting just a little more energy in the right direction. his wife would be much happier. He recognized that he had been working longer hours in hopes of making her happier. Once he understood how she kept score, he could come home with a new confidence because he knew how to make her happy.

 

LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

 

There are a variety of ways a man can score points with his partner without having to do much. It is just a matter of redirecting the energy and attention he is already giving. Most men already know about many of these things but don't bother to do them because

they don't realize how important the little things are to a woman. A man truly believes the little things are insignificant when compared to the big things he is doing for her.

 

Some men may start out in a relationship doing the little things, but having done them once or twice they stop. Through some mysterious instinctive force, they begin to focus their energies into doing one big thing for their partners. They then neglect to do all the little things that are necessary for a woman to feel fulfilled in the relationship. To fulfill a woman, a man needs to understand what she needs to feel loved and supported.

 

The way women score points is not just a preference but a true need. Women need many expressions of love in a relationship to feel loved. One or two expressions of love, no matter how important, will not, and cannot, fulfill her.

 

This can be extremely hard for a man to understand. One way to look at it is to imagine that women have a love tank similar to the gas tank on a car. It needs to be filled over and over again. Doing many little things (and scoring many points) is the secret for filling a woman's love tank. A woman feels loved when her love tank is full. She is able to respond with greater love, trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement. Lots of little things are needed to top off her tank.

 

Following is a list of 101 of the little ways a man can keep his partner's love tank full.

 

10 1 WAYS TO SCORE POINTS WITH A WOMAN

 

1. Upon returning home find her first before doing anything else and give her a hug.

 

2. Ask her specific questions about her day that indicate an awareness of what she was planning to do (e.g., "How did your appointment with the doctor go?").

 

3. Practice listening and asking questions.

 

4. Resist the temptation to solve her problemsempathize instead.

 

5. Give her twenty minutes of unsolicited, quality attention (don't read the newspaper or be distracted by anything else during this time).

 

6. Bring her cut flowers as a surprise as well as on special occasions.

 

7. Plan a date several days in advance, rather than waiting for Friday night and asking her what she wants to do.

 

8. If she generally makes dinner or if it is her turn and she seems tired or really busy, offer to make dinner.

 

9. Compliment her on how she looks.

 

10. Validate her feelings when she is upset.

 

11. Offer to help her when she is tired.

 

12. Schedule extra time when traveling so that she doesn't have to rush.

 

13. When you are going to be late, call her and let her know.

 

14. When she asks for support, say yes or no without making her wrong for asking.

 

15. Whenever her feelings have been hurt, give her some empathy and tell her "I'm sorry you feel hurt." Then be silent; let her feel your understanding of her hurt. Don't offer solutions or explanations why her hurt is not your fault.

 

16. Whenever you need to pull away, let her know you will be back or that you need some time to think about things.

 

17. When you've cooled off and you come back, talk about what was bothering you in a respectful, nonblaming way, so she doesn't imagine the worst.

 

18. Offer to build a fire in wintertime.

 

19. When she talks to you, put down the magazine or turn off the TV and give her your full attention.

 

20. If she usually washes the dishes, occasionally offer

 

 to wash the dishes, especially if she is tired that day.

 

21. Notice when she is upset or tired and ask what

she has to do. Then offer to help by doing a few of her "to do" items.

 

22. When going out, ask if there is anything she wants you to pick up at the store, and remember to pick it up.

 

23. Let her know when you are planning to take a nap or leave.

 

24. Give her four hugs a day. dive er four hugs a day.

 

25. Call her from work to ask how she is or to share something exciting or to tell her "I love you."

 

26. Tell her "I love you" at least a couple of times every day.

 

27. Make the bed and clean up the bedroom.

 

28. If she washes your socks, turn your socks right side out so she doesn't have to.

 

29. Notice when the trash is full and offer to empty it.

 

30. When you are out of town, call to leave a telephone number where you can be reached and to let her know you arrived safely.

 

3 1. Wash her car.

 

32. Wash your car and clean up the interior before a date with her.

 

33. Wash before having sex or put on a cologne if she likes that.

 

34. Take her side when she is upset with someone.

 

35. Offer to give her a back or neck or foot massage (or all three).

 

36. Make a point of cuddling or being affectionate  sometimes without being sexual.

 

37. Be patient when she is sharing. Don't look at your watch.

 

38. Don't flick the remote control to different channels when she is watching TV with you.

 

39. Display affection in public.

 

40. When holding hands don't let your hand go limp.

 

41. Learn her favorite drinks so you can offer her a

      choice of the ones  that you know she already likes.

 

42. Suggest different restaurants for going out; don't put the burden of figuring out where to go on her.

 

43. Get season tickets for the theater, symphony, opera, ballet, or some other type of performance she likes.

 

44. Create occasions when you both can dress up.

 

45. Be understanding when she is late or decides to change her outfit.

 

46. Pay more attention to her than to others in public.

 

47. Make her more important than the children. Let the children see her getting your attention first and foremost.

 

48. Buy her little presents-like a small box of chocolates or perfume.

 

49. Buy her an outfit (take a picture of your partner along with her sizes to the store and let them help you select it).

 

50. Take pictures of her on special occasions.

 

5 1. Take short romantic getaways.

 

52. Let her see that you carry a picture of her in your wallet and update it from time to time.

 

53. When staying in a hotel, have them prepare the room with something special, like a bottle of champagne or sparkling apple juice or flowers.

 

54. Write a note or make a sign on special occasions such as anniversaries* and birthdays.

 

55. Offer to drive the car on long trips.

 

56. Drive slowly and safely, respecting her preferences. After all, she is sitting powerless in the front seat.

 

57. Notice how she Is feeling and comment on it -"You look happy today " or "You look tired"-and then ask a question like "How was your day?"

58. When taking her out, study in advance the directions so that she does not have to feel responsible to navigate.

 

59. Take her dancing or take dancing lessons together.

 

60. Surprise her with a love note or poem.

 

61. Treat her in ways you did at the beginning of the relationship.

 

62. Offer to fix something around the house. Say "What needs to be fixed around here? I have some extra time." Don't take on more than you can do.

 

63. Offer to sharpen her knives in the kitchen.

 

64. Buy some good Super Glue to fix things that are broken.

 

65. Offer to change fight bulbs as soon as they go out.

 

66. Help with recycling the trash.

 

67. Read out loud or cut out sections of the newspaper that would interest her.

 

68. Write out neatly any phone me~ you may take for her

 

69. Keep the bathroom floor clean and dry it after taking a shower.

 

70. Open the door for her.

 

71. Offer to carry the groceries.

 

72. Offer to carry heavy boxes for her.

 

73. On trips, handle the luggage and be responsible for packing it in the car.

 

74. If she washes the dishes or it is her rum, offer to help scrub pots or other difficult tasks.

 

75. Make a "to fix" list and leave it in the kitchen. When you have extra time do something on that fist for her. Don't let it get too long.

 

76. When she prepares a meal, compliment her cooking.

 

77. When listening to her talk, use eye contact.

 

78. Touch her with your hand sometimes when you talk to her.

 

79. Show interest in what she does during the day, in the books she reads and the people she relates to.

 

80. When listening to her, reassure her that you are interested by making little noises like ah ha, uh-huh, oh, mmhuh, and hmmmm.

 

8 1. Ask her how she is feeling.

 

82. If she has been sick in some way, ask for an update and ask how she is doing or feeling.

 

83. If she is tired offer to make her some tea.

 

84. Get ready to go to sleep together and get in bed at the same time.

 

85. Give her a kiss and say good-bye when you leave.

 

86. Laugh at her jokes and humor.

 

87. Verbally say thank you when she does things for you.

 

88. Notice when she gets her hair done and give a reassuring compliment.

 

89. Create special time to be alone together.

 

90. Don't answer the phone at intimate moments or if she is sharing vulnerable feelings.

 

91. Go bicycling together, even if it's just a short ride.

 

92. Organize and prepare a picnic. (Remember to bring a picnic cloth.)

 

93. If she handles the laundry, bring the clothes to the cleaners or offer to do the wash.

 

94. Take her for a walk without the children.

 

95. Negotiate in a manner that shows her that you want her to get what she wants and you also want what you want. Be caring, but don't be a martyr.

 

96. Let her know that you missed her when you went away.

 

97. Bring home her favorite pie or dessert.

 

98. If she normally shops for the food, offer to do the food shopping.

 

99. Eat lightly on romantic occasions so that you don't become stuffed and tired later.

 

100. Ask her to add her thoughts to this list.

 

10 1. Leave the bathroom seat down.

THE MAGIC OF DOING LITTLE THINGS

 

It's magic when a man does little things for his woman. It keeps her love tank full and the score even. When the score is even, or almost even, a woman knows she is loved, which makes her more trusting and loving in return. When a woman knows she's loved, she can love without resentment.

 

Doing little things for a woman is also healing for a man. In fact, those little things will tend to heal his resentments as well as hers. He begins to feel powerful and effective because she's getting the caring she needs. Both are then fulfilled.

 

What a Man News

 

just as men need to continue doing little things for a woman, she needs to be particularly attentive to appreciate the little things he does for her. With a smile and a thanks she can let him know he has scored a point. A man needs this appreciation and encouragement to continue giving. He needs to feel he can make a difference. Men stop giving when they feel they are being taken for granted. A woman needs to let him know that what he is doing is appreciated.

 

This doesn't mean that she has to pretend that everything is now perfectly wonderful because he has emptied the trash for her. But she can simply notice that he has emptied the trash and say "thanks." Gradually more love will flow from both sides.

 

What a Man Needs a Woman to Accept

 

A woman needs to accept a man's instinctive tendencies to focus all his energies into one big thing and minimize the importance of the little things. By accepting this inclination, it will not be as hurtful to her. Rather than resenting him for giving less, she can constructively work with him to solve the problem. She can repeatedly let him know how much she appreciates the little things he has done for her and that he works hard and attentively.

 

She can remember that his forgetting to do the little things doesn't mean he doesn't love her but that he has become too focused on big things again. Instead of fighting him or punishing him, she can encourage his personal involvement by asking for his support. With more appreciation and encouragement a man will gradually learn to value the little things as well as the big. He will become less driven to be more and more successful and begin to relax more and spend more time with his wife and family.

 

REDIRECTING ENERGY AND ATTENTION

 

1 remember when 1 first learned to redirect my energies into the little things. When Bonnie and 1 were first married, 1 was almost a workaholic. In addition to writing books and teaching seminars, 1 had a counceling practice for fifty hours a week. In the first year of our marriage, she let me know again and again how much she needed more time with me. Repeatedly she would share her feelings of abandonment and hurt.

 

Sometimes she would share her feelings in a letter. We call this a Love Letter. It always ends with love and includes feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and sorrow. In chapter 11 we will explore more deeply the methods and importance of writing these Love Letters. She wrote this Love Letter about my spending too much time at work.

 

Dear John,

 

I'm writing you this letter to share with you my feelings. 1 don't mean to tell you what to do. 1 just want you to understand my feelings.

 

1 am angry that you spend so much time at work. 1

 

am angry  y that you come home with nothing left for

me. I want to spend more time with you.

 

It hurts to feel like you care more about your clients than me. 1 feel sad that you are so tired. I miss you.

 

I'm afraid you don't want to spend time with me. 1

am afraid of being another burden in your life. 1 am afraid of sounding like a nag. 1 am afraid my feelings are not important to you.

 

I'm sorry if this is hard to hear. I know you are doing your best. 1 appreciate how hard you work.

 

I love you, Bonnie

 

After reading about her feeling neglected I realized that 1 truly was giving more to my clients than 1 was to her. 1 would give my undivided attention to my clients and then come home exhausted and ignore my wife.

 

When a Man Overworks

 

1 was ignoring her not because I didn't love her or care for her but because 1 had nothing left to give. 1 naively thought I was doing the best thing by working hard to provide a better life (more money) for her and our family. Once 1 understood how she felt, 1 developed a plan for solving this problem in our relationship.

 

Instead of seeing eight clients a day 1 started seeing seven. 1 pretended that my wife was my eighth client. Every night 1 came home a hour earlier. 1 pretended in my mind that my wife was my most important client. 1 started giving her that devoted and undivided attention 1 would give a client. When I arrived home 1 started doing little things for her. The success of this plan was immediate. Not only was she happier but 1 was too.

 

Gradually, as 1 felt being loved for the ways I could support her and our family, I became less driven to be a great success. 1 started to slow down, and to my surprise not only our relationship but also my work flourished, becoming more successful without my having to work as hard.

 

1 found that when 1 was succeeding at home, my work reflected that success. 1 realized that success in the work world was not achieved through hard work alone. It was also dependent on my

 

ability to inspire trust in others. When 1 felt loved by my family, not only did I feel more confident, but others also trusted and appreciated me more.

 

Now a Women Con Help

 

Bonnie's support played a big part in this change. In addition to sharing her honest and loving feelings, she was also very persistent in asking me to do things for her and then giving me a lot of appreciation when 1 did them. Gradually, 1 started to realize how wonderful it is to be loved for doing little things. 1 was relieved from feeling that 1 had to do great things to be loved. It was a revelation.

 

WHEN WOMEN GIVE POINTS

 

Woman possess the special ability to appreciate the little things of fife as much as the big things. This is a blessing for men. Most men strive for greater and greater success because they believe it will make them worthy of love. Deep inside, they crave love and admiration from others. They do not know that they can draw that love and admiration to them without having to be a greater success.

 

A woman has the ability to heal a man of this addiction to success by appreciating the little things he does. But she may not express appreciation if she doesn't understand how important it is to a man. She may let her resentment get in the way.

 

HEALING THE RESENTMENT FLU

 

Women instinctively appreciate the little things. The only exceptions are when a woman doesn't realize a man needs to hear her appreciation or when she feels the score is uneven. When a woman feels

unloved and neglected it is hard for her automatically to appreciate what a man does do for her. She feels resentful because she has given so much more than he has. This resentment blocks her ability to appreciate the little things.

 

Resentment, like getting the flu or a cold, is not healthy. When a woman is sick with resentment she tends to negate what a man has done for her because, according to the way a woman keeps score, she has done so much more.

 

When the score is forty to ten in favor of the woman, she may begin to feel very resentful. Something happens to a woman when she feels she is giving more than she is getting. Quite unconsciously she subtracts his score of ten from her score of forty and concludes the score in their relationship is thirty to zero. This makes sense mathematically and is understandable, but it doesn't work.

 

When she subtracts his score from her score he ends up with a zero, and he is not a zero. He has not given zero; he has given ten. When he comes home she has a coldness in her eyes or in her voice that says he is a zero. She is negating what he has done. She reacts to him as if he has given nothing-but he has given ten.

 

The reason a woman tends to reduce a man's points this way is

 

use she feels unloved. The unequal score makes her feel that she because she fee Feeling unloved, she finds it very difficult to appreciate even the ten points he can legitimately claim. Of course, this isn't fair, but it is how it works.

 

What generally happens in a relationship at this point is the man feels unappreciated and loses his motivation to do more. He catches the resentment flu. She then continues to feel more resentful, and the situation gets worse and worse. Her resentment flu gets worse.

 

What She Con Do

 

The way of solving this problem is to understand it compassionately from both sides. He needs to be appreciated, while she needs to feel supported. Otherwise their sickness gets worse.

 

The solution to this resentment is for her to take responsibility.

 

She needs to take responsibility for having contributed to her problem by giving more and letting the score get so uneven. She needs to treat herself as if she has the flu or a cold and take a rest from giving so much in the relationship. She needs to pamper herself and allow her partner to take care of her more.

 

When a woman feels resentful, she usually will not give her partner a chance to be supportive, or, if he tries, she will negate the value of what he has done and give him another zero. She closes the door to his support. By taking responsibility for giving too much, she can give up blaming him for the problem and start a new scorecard. She can give him another chance and, with her new understanding, improve the situation.

 

What He Con Do

 

When a man feels unappreciated, he stops giving support. A way he can responsibly deal with the situation is to understand that it Is hard for her to give points for his support and appreciate him when she is sick with resentment.

 

He can release his own resentment by understanding that she needs to receive for a while before she can give again. He can remember this as he attentively gives his love and affection in little ways. For a while he should not expect her to be as appreciative as he deserves and needs. It helps if he takes responsibility for giving her the flu because he neglected to do the little things that she needs.

 

With this foresight he can give without expecting much in return until she recovers from her flu. Knowing that he can solve this problem will help him release his resentment as well. If he continues giving and she focuses on taking a rest from giving and focuses on receiving his support with love, the balance can be quickly restored.

 

WHY MEN GIVE LESS

 

A man rarely intends to take more and give less. Yet men are notorious for giving less in relationships. Probably you have exper

ienced this in your relationships. Women commonly complain that their male partner starts out more loving and then gradually becomes passive. Men also feel unfairly treated. in the beginning women are so appreciative and loving, and then they become resentful and demanding. This mystery can be understood when we realize how men and women keep score differently.

 

There are five major reasons a man stops giving. They are:

 

1. Martians Idealize Fairness. A man focuses all his energies into a project at work and thinks he has just scored fifty points. Then he comes home and sits back, waiting for his wife to score her fifty points. He does not know that in her experience he has only scored one point. He stops giving because he thinks he has already given more.

 

In his mind this is the fair and loving thing to do. He allows her to give fifty points worth of support to even the score. He doesn't realize that his hard work at the office scores only one point. His m h(

 

model of fairness can work only when he understands and respects women give one point for each gift of love. This first insight has practical applications for both men and women. They are:

 

For Men: Remember that for a woman, big things and little things score one point. All gifts of love are equal and equally needed-big and small. To avoid creating resentment, practice doing some of the little things that make a big difference. Do not expect a woman to be satisfied unless she gets an abundance of little expressions of love as well as the big.

 

For Women: Remember that men are from Mars; they are not automatically motivated to do the little things. They give less not because they do not love you but because they believe they have already given their share. Try not to take it personally. Instead, repeatedly encourage their support by asking for more. Don't wait ,until you desperately need his support or until the score is greatly uneven to ask. Don't demand his support; trust that he wants to support YOU, even if he needs a little encouragement.

 

2. Venusians Idealize Unconditional Love. A woman gives as much as she can and only notices that she has received less when she is empty and spent. Women don't start out keeping score like men do; women give freely and assume men will do the same.

 

As we have seen, men are not the same. A man gives freely until the score, as he perceives it, gets uneven, and then he stops giving. A man generally gives a lot and then sits back to receive what he has given.

 

When a woman is happy giving to a man, he instinctively assumes she is keeping score and he must have more points. The last thing he would consider is that he has given less. From his vantage point he would never continue giving when the score became uneven in his favor.

 

He knows that if he is required to give more when he feels he has already given a greater amount, he will definitely not smile when he gives. Keep this in mind. When a woman continues to give freely with a smile on her face, a man assumes the score must be somewhat even. He does not realize that Venusians have the uncanny ability to give happily until the score is about thirty to zero. These insights also have practical applications for both men and women:

 

For Men: Remember that when a woman gives with a smile on her face it doesn't necessarily mean the score is close to even.

 

For Women: Remember that when you give freely to a man, he gets the message the score is even. If you want to motivate him to give more, then gently and gracefully stop giving more. Allow him to do little things for you. Encourage him by asking for his support in little ways and then appreciating him.

 

3. Martians Give When They Are~ Martians pride themselves in being selfsufficient. They don't ask for help unless they really need it. On Mars it is rude to offer help unless you are first asked.

 

Quite the opposite, Venusians don't wait to offer their support. When they love someone, they give in any way they can. They do not wait to be asked, and the more they love someone the more they give.

 

When a man doesn't offer his support a woman mistakenly assumes he doesn't love her. She may even test his love by definitely

not asking for his support and waiting for him to offer it. When he doesn't offer to help, she resents him. She does not understand that he is waiting to be asked.

 

As we have seen, keeping the score even is important to a man. When a man feels he has given more in a relationship, he will instinctively begin to ask for more support; he naturally feels more entitled to receive and starts asking for more. On the other hand, when he has given less in a relationship, the last thing he is going to do is ask for more. Instinctively he will not ask for support but will look for ways that he might give more support.

 

When a woman doesn't ask for support, a man mistakenly assumes the score must be even or that he must be giving more. He does not know that she is waiting for him to offer his support.

 

This third insight has practical applications for both men and women

 

For Women: Remember that a man looks for cues telling him when and how to give more. He waits to be asked. He seems to get the necessary feedback only when she is asking for more or telling him he needs to give more. In addition, when she asks, he knows what to give. Many men don't know what to do. Even if a man senses he is giving less, unless she specifically asks for support in the little ways, he may devote even more of his energy to big things like work, thinking that greater success or more money will help.

 

For Men: Remember that a woman instinctively does not ask for support when she wants it. Instead, she expects you to offer it if you love her. Practice offering to support her in little ways.

 

4. Venusians Say Yes Even When the Score Is Uneven Men don't realize that when they ask for support, a woman will say yes even if the score is uneven. If they can support their man, they will. The concept of keeping score is not on her mind. Men have to be careful not to ask for too much. If she feels she is giving more than she is getting, after a while she will resent that you do not offer to support her more.

 

Men mistakenly assume that as long as she says yes to his needs

 

and requests, she is receiving equally what she wants. He mistakenly assumes the score is even when it isn't.

 

I remember taking my wife to the movies about once a week for the first two years of our marriage. One day she became furious with me and said, "We always do what you want to do. We never do what 1 want to do."

 

1 was genuinely surprised. I thought that as long as she said yes and continued to say yes that she was equally happy with the situation. I thought she liked the movies as much as I did.

 

Occasionally she would suggest to me that the opera was in town or that she would like to go to the symphony. When we drove by the local playhouse, she would make a remark like 'That looks like fun, let's see that play."

 

But then later in the week 1 would say, "Let's go to this movie, it's got a great review."

 

And she would happily say, "OK."

 

Mistakenly, I got the message that she was as happy as 1 was about going to the movies. In truth she was happy to be with me, the movie was OK, but what she wanted was to go to the local cultural events. That is why she kept mentioning them to me. But because she kept saying yes to the movies, 1 had no idea that she was sacrificing her wants to make me happy.

 

This insight has practical applications for both men and women.

 

For Men: Remember that if she says yes to your requests, it doesn't mean the score is even. The score may be twenty to zero 'm her mind and she will still happily say "Sure I'll pick up your clothes at the cleaners" or "OK, I'll make that call for you."

 

Agreeing to doing what you want doesn't mean that it 'S what she wants. Ask her what she wants to do. Collect information about what she likes, and then offer to take her to those places.

 

For Women: Remember that if you immediately say yes to a man's requests, he gets the idea that he has given more or that the score is at least even. If you are giving more and getting less, stop saying yes to his requests. Instead, in a graceful way, begin asking him to do more for you.

S. Martians Give Penalty Points. Women don't realize that men give penalty points when they feel unloved and unsupported. When a woman reacts to a man in an untrusting, rejecting, disapproving, or unappreciative way, he gives minus or penalty points.

 

For example, if a man feels hurt or unloved because his wife has failed to appreciate something he's done, he feels justified in taking away the points she has already earned. If she has given ten, when he feels hurt by her, he may react to her* by taking away her ten points. If he is more hurt he may even give her a negative twenty. As a result she now owes him ten points, when a minute before she had ten points.

 

This is very confusing to a woman. She may have given the equivalent of thirty points, and then in one angry moment he takes them away. In his mind he feels justified in not giving anything because she owes him. He thinks it is fair. This may be fair mathematically, but it is not really fair.

 

Penalty points are destructive to relationships. They make a woman feel unappreciated and a man less giving. If he negates in his mind all the loving support she has given, when she does express some negativity, which is bound to happen occasionally, he then loses his motivation to give. He becomes passive. This fifth insight has practical applications for both men and women.

 

For Men: Remember that penalty points are not fair and do not work. At moments when you feel unloved, offended, or hurt, forgive her and remember all the good she has given rather than penalize her by negating it all. Instead of punishing her, ask her for the support you want, and she will give it. Respectfully let her know how she has hurt you. Let her know how she has hurt you and then give her an opportunity to apologize. Punishment does not work! You will feel much better by giving her a chance to give you what you need. Remember she is a Venusian-she doesn't know what you need or how she hurts you.

 

For Women: Remember that men have this tendency to give penalty points. There are two approaches to protect yourself from this abuse.

The first approach is to recognize that he is wrong in taking away your points. In a respectful way let him know how you feel. In the next chapter we will explore ways to express difficult or negative feelings.

 

The second approach is to recognize he takes away points when he feels unloved and hurt and he immediately gives them back when he feels loved and supported. As he feels more and more loved for the little things he does, he will gradually give penalty points less and less. Try to understand the different ways he needs love so that he doesn't get hurt as much.

 

When you are able to recognize how he has been hurt, let him know that you are sorry. Most important, then give him the love he didn't get. If he feels unappreciated, give him the appreciation he needs; if he feels rejected or m anipulated, give him the acceptance he needs; if he feels mistrusted, give him the  trust he needs; if he feels put down, give him the admiration that he needs; if he feels disapproval, give him the approval he needs and deserves. When a man feels loved he will quit using penalty points.

 

The most difficult part of the above process is knowing what hurt him. For the most part, when a man withdraws into his cave, he doesn't know what hurt him. Then, when he comes out, he generally doesn't talk about it. How is a woman supposed to know what actually hurts his feelings? Reading this book and understanding how men need love differently is a good beginning and gives you an edge that women have never had before.

 

The other way a woman can learn what happened is through communication. As 1 have mentioned before, the more a woman is able to open up and share her feelings in a respectful way, the more a man is able to learn to open up and share his hurt and pain.

 

NOW MEN GIVE POINTS

 

Men give points differently from women. Every time a woman

 

appreciates what a man has done for her, he feels loved and gives her a point in return. To keep the score even in a relationship, a man

really doesn't require anything but love. Women don't realize the power of their love and many times unnecessarily seek to earn a man's love by doing more things for him than they want to do.

 

When a woman appreciates what a man does for her, he gets much of the love he needs. Remember, men primarily need appreciation. Certainly a man also requires equal participation from a woman in doing the domestic duties of day-to-day life, but if he is not appreciated, then her contribution is nearly meaningless and completely unimportant to him.

 

Similarly, a woman cannot appreciate the big things a man does for her unless he is also doing a lot of little things. Doing a lot of litde things fulfills her primary needs to feel cared for, understood, and respected.

 

A major source of love for a man is the loving reaction that a woman has to his behavior. He has a love tank too, but his is not necessarily filled by what she does for him. Instead it is mainly filled by how she reacts to him or how- she feels about him.

 

When a woman prepares a meal for a man, he gives her one point or ten points, depending on how she is feeling toward hirn. If a woman secretly resents a man, a meal she may cook for him will mean very litde to him-he may even give minus points because she was resenting him The secret to fulfilling a man lies m learning to express love through your feelings, not necessarily through your actions.

 

Philosophically speaking, when a woman feels loving, her behavior will automatically express that love. When a man expresses himself in loving behavior, automatically his feelings will follow' and become more loving.

 

Even if a man is not feeling his love for a woman, he can still decide to do something loving for her. If his offering is received and

 

appreciated, then he will begin to feel his love for her again. Doing" is an excellent way to prime a man's love pump.

 

However, women are very different. A woman generally does not feel loved if she doesn't feel cared about, understood, or respected. Making a decision to do something more for her partner Will not help her feel more loving. Instead it may actually fuel her resentment. When a woman is not feeling her loving feelings, she needs to focus her energies directly on healing her negative feelings and definitely not on doing more.

 

A man needs to prioritize "loving behavior," for this will ensure that his partner's love needs are met. It will open her heart and also open his heart to feel more loving. A man's heart opens as he succeeds in fulfilling a woman.

 

A woman needs to prioritize "loving attitudes and feelings." which will ensure that her partner's love needs are fulfilled. As a woman is able to express loving attitudes and feelings toward a man, he feels motivated to give more. This then assists her in opening her heart even more. A woman's heart opens more as she is able to get the support she needs.

 

Women are sometimes unaware of when a man really needs love. At such times a woman can score twenty to thirty points. These are some examples:

 

NOW WOMEN CAN SCORE BIG WITH MEN

 

What happens                                                    Points he gives her

1. He makes a mistake and she

                 doesn't say "I told you so" or

                 offer advice.                                                  10-20

2. He disappoints her and she

                 doesn't punish hirn.                                    10-20

3. He gets lost while driving and

                 she doesn't make a big deal

                 out of it.                                                         10-20

   What happens                                 PM$ he *Les

ber

   4. He gets lost and she sees the

      good in the situation and says

      "We would never have seen this

      beautiful sunset if we had taken

      the most direct route."                           20-30

   5. He forgets to pick up something

      and she says It's OK. Would you

      do it next time you are out?"                          10-20

   6. He forgets to pick up something

      again and she says with trusting

      patience and persistence It's OK.

      Would you still get it?"                          20-30

   7. When she has hurt him and she

      understands his hurt, she apolo

      gizes and gives him the love

      he needs.                                                   10-40

   8. She asks for his support and he

      says no and she is not hurt by his

      rejection but trusts that he would

      if he could. She does not reject

      him or disapprove of him.                    10-20

   9. Another time she asks for his

      support and he again says no.

      She does not make him feel

      wrong but accepts his limitations

      at that time.                                              20-30

10. She asks for his support without

      being demanding when he assumes

      the score is somewhat even.                           1-5

11. She asks for support without

 

being demanding when she is upset or

he knows she has been giving more. 10-30

 

What ~S                                               Pews he *05

12. When he withdraws she doesn't

     make him feel guilty~                            10-20

13. When he comes back from his

     cave she welcomes him and

     doesn't punish him or reject him.                             10-20

14. When he apologizes for a mistake

     and she receives it with loving

     acceptance and forgiveness. The

     bigger the mistake he makes the

     more points he gives.                             10-50

15. When he asks her to do something

     and she says no without giving a

     list of reasons why she can't do it.                 1-10

16. When he asks her to do something

     and she says yes and stays in a

     good mood.                                                 1-10

17. When he wants to make up after a

     fight and starts doing little things

     for her and she starts appreciating

     him again.                                                 10-30

18. She is happy to see him when he

     gets home.                                                 10-20

19. She feels disapproving and

     instead of expressing it she goes in

     another room and privately centers

     herself and then comes back with a

     more centered and loving heart.                                10-20

 

20. On special occasions she overlooks

 

      his mistakes that might normally

      upset her.                                                  20-40

21. She really enjoys having sex with

      him.                                                            10-40

What h~$                                                    Points he "S her

 

22. He forgets where he put his keys

                  and she doesn't look at him as

                  though he was irresponsible.                  10-20

23. She is tactful or graceful in express

                  ing her dislike or disappointment

                  about a restaurant or movie when

                  on a date.                                                      10-20

24. She doesn't give advice when he is

                  driving or parking the car and then

                  appreciates him for getting them

                  there.                                              10-20

25. She asks for his support rather than

                  dwelling on what he has done

                  wrong.                                           10-20

26. She shares her negative feelings in a

                  centered way without blaming,

                  rejecting, or being disapproving of

                  him.                                                10-40

 

When a Woman Con Score More Points

 

Each of the above examples reveals how men score points differently from women. But a woman is not requited to do all of the above. This list reveals those times when he is most vulnerable. If she can be supportive m giving him what he needs he will be very generous in giving points.

 

As I mentioned in chapter 7, a woman's ability to give love at difficult times fluctuates like a wave. When a woman's ability to give love is increasing (during the upswing of her wave) is the time when she can score many bonus points. She should not expect herself to be as loving at other times.

 

just as a woman's ability to give love fluctuates, a man's need for love fluctuates. In each of the above examples, there is no fixed

 

amount for how many points a man gives. Instead there is an approximate range; when his need for her love is greater he tends to give her more points.

 

For example, if he has made a mistake and feels embarrassed, sorry, or ashamed, then he needs her love more; therefore he gives more points if she responds by being supportive. The bigger the mistake, the more points he gives her for her love. If he doesn't receive her love he tends to give her penalty points according to how much he needed her love. If he feels rejected as the result of a big mistake he may give a lot of penalty points.

 

WHAT MAKES MEN DEFENSIVE

 

A man may become so angry at a woman when he has made the mistake and the woman is upset. His upset is proportional to the size of his mistake. A little mistake makes him less defensive, while a big mistake makes him much more defensive. Sometimes women wonder why a man doesn't say he is sorry for a big mistake. The answer is he is afraid of not being forgiven. It is too painful to acknowledge that he has failed her in some way. Instead of saying he is sorry he may become angry with her for being upset and give ber penalty points.

 

is m a nega

When a man   tive state, if she can treat him like a passing tornado and lie low, after the tornado has passed he will give her an abundance of bonus points for not making him wrong or for not trying to change him. If she tries to stop the tornado it will create havoc, and he will blame her for interfering.

204 john Gray

 

This is a new insight for many woman because on Venus when someone is upset the Venusians never ignore her or even consider lying low. Tornadoes don't exist on Venus. When someone is upset everyone gets involved with one another and tries to understand what is bothering her by asking a lot of questions. When a tornado passes on Mars everyone finds a ditch and lies low.

 

WHEN MEN GIVE PENALTY POINTS

 

It helps greatly when women understand that men score points differently. That men give penalty points is very confusing to women and doesn't make it safe for women to share their feelings. Certainly, it would be wonderful if an men could see how unfair penalty points are and change overnight-but change takes time. What can be reassuring for a woman, however, is to know that just as a man quickly gives out the penalty points he also takes them back.

 

A man giving penalty points is similar to a woman feeling resentful when she gives more than he does. She subtracts his score from hers and gives him a zero. At such times a man can just be understanding that she is sick with the resentment flu and give her some extra love.

 

Similarly, when a man is giving penalty points, a woman can realize that he has his own version of resentment flu. He needs some extra love so he can get better. As a result, he immediately gives her bonus points to even the score again.

 

Through learning how to score big with a man, a woman has a new edge for supporting her man when he seems distant and hurt. Instead of doing little things for him (from the fist. 101 Ways to Score Points with a Woman, page 180), which is what she would want, she can more successfully focus her energies in giving him what he wants (as fisted in How Women Can Score Big with Mel, page 199).

 

REMEMBERING OUR DIFFERENCES

 

Both men and women can benefit greatly by remembering how differently we keep score. Improving a relationship takes no more energy than we are already expending and doesn't have to be terribly difficult. Relationships are exhausting until we learn how to direct our energies into the ways that our partner can fully appreciate.

Chapter 11

 

How to Communicate

Difficult Feelings

 

When we are upset, disappointed, frustrated, or angry it is difficult to communicate lovingly. When negative emotions come up, we tend momentarily to lose our loving feelings of trust, caring, understanding, acceptance, appreciation, and respect. At such times, even with the best intentions, talking turns into fighting. In the heat of the moment, we do not remember how to communicate in a way that works for our partner or for us.

 

At times like these, women unknowingly tend to blame men and make them feel guilty for their actions. Instead of remembering that her partner is doing the best he can, a woman could assume the worst and sound critical and resentful. When she feels a surge of negative feelings, it is especially difficult for a woman to speak in a trusting, accepting, and appreciative way. She doesn't realize how negative and hurtful her attitude is to her partner.

 

When men become upset, they tend to become judgmental of women and women's feelings. Instead of remembering that his partner is vulnerable and sensitive, a man may forget her needs and sound mean and uncaring. When he feels a surge of negative feelings, it is especially difficult for him to speak in a caring, understand

 

ing, and respectful way. He doesn't realize how hurtful his negative attitude is to her.

 

These are the times when talking does not work. Fortunately, there is another alternative. Instead of verbally sharing your feelings with your partner, write him or her a letter. Writing letters allows you to listen to your own feelings without worrying about hurting your partner. By freely expressing and listening to your own feelings, you automatically become more centered and loving. As men write letters they become more caring, understanding, and respectful; as women write letters they become more trusting, accepting, and appreciative.

 

Writing out your negative feelings is an excellent way to become aware of how unloving you may sound. With this greater awareness you can adjust your approach. In addition, by writing out your negative emotions their intensity can be released, making room for positive feelings to be felt again. Having become more centered, you can then go to your partner and speak to him or her in a more loving way-a way that is less judgmental or blaming. As a result, your chances of being understood and accepted are much greater.

 

After writing your letter you may no longer feel a need to talk. Instead you could become inspired to do something loving for your partner. Whether you share the feelings in your letter or you just write a letter to feel better, writing down your feelings is an important tool.

 

Instead of writing down your feelings you may also choose to do the same process in your mind. Simply refrain from talking and review what happened in your mind. In your imagination imagine You are saying what you feel, think, and want-without editing yourself in any way. By carrying on an inner dialogue expressing the complete truth about your inner feelings, you will suddenly become

free from their negative grip. Whether you write down your feelings or do it mentally, by exploring, feeling, and expressing your negative feelings they loose their power and positive feelings reemerge. The Love Letter Technique increases the power and effectiveness of this process tremendously. Although it is a writing technique, it can also be done mentally as well.

 

THE LOVE LETTER TECHNIQUE

 

One of the best ways to release negativity and then communicate in a more loving fashion is to use the Love Letter Technique. Through writing out your feelings in a particular manner, the negative emotions automatically lessen and the positive feelings increase. The Love Letter Technique enhances the letter writing process. There are three aspects or parts to the Love Letter Technique.

 

1. Write a Love Letter expressing your feelings of anger, sadness, fear, regret, and love.

 

2. Write a Response Utter expressing what you want to hear from your partner.

 

3. Share your Love Letter and Response Letter with your partner.

 

The Love Letter Technique is quite flexible. You may choose to do all three steps, or you may only need to do one or two of them. For example, you might practice steps one and two in order to feel more centered and loving and then have a verbal conversation with your partner without being overwhelmed with resentment or blame. At other times you may choose to do all three steps and share your Love Letter and Response Letter with your partner.

 

To do all three steps is a powerful and healing experience for both of you. However sometimes doing all three steps is too time consuming or inappropriate. In some situations, the most powerful

 

technique is to do just step one and write a Love Letter. Let's explore a few examples of how to write a Love Letter.

 

STEP 1: WRITING A LOVE LETTER

 

To write a Love Letter, find a private spot and write a letter to your partner. In each Love Letter express your feelings of anger, sadness, fear, regret, and then love. This format allows you fully to express and understand all your feelings. As a result of understanding all your feelings you will then be able to communicate to your partner in a more loving and centered way.

 

When we are upset we generally have many feelings at once. For example, when your partner disappoints you, you may feel angry that he is being insensitive, angry that she is being unappreciative; sad that he is so preoccupied with his work, sad that she doesn't seem to trust you; afraid that she will never forgive you, afraid that he doesn't care as much about you; sorry that you are secretly withholding your love from him or her. But at the same time you love that he or she is your partner and you want his or her love and attention.

 

To find our loving feelings, many times we need first to feel all our negative feelings. After expressing these four levels of negative feelings (anger, sadness, fear, and regret), we can fully feel and express our loving feelings. Writing Love Letters automatically lessens the intensity of our negative feelings and allows us to experience more fully our positive feelings. Here are some guidelines for writing a basic Love Letter:

 

1. Address the letter to your partner. Pretend that he or

she is listening to you with love and understanding.

 

2. Start with anger, then sadness, then fear, then regret, and then love. Include all five sections in each letter.

3. Write a few sentences about each feeling; keep each section approximately the same length. Speak in simple terms.

 

4. After each section, pause and notice the next feeling coming up. Write about that feeling.

 

5. Do not stop your letter until you get to the love. Be patient and wait for the love to come out.

 

6. Sign your name at the end. Take a few moments to think about what you need or want. Write it in a P.S.

 

To simplify writing your letters you may wish to make copies of page 211 to use as a guide in writing your own Love Letters. In each of the five sections a few helpful lead-in phrases are included to help you express your feelings. You may use just a few of these phrases or all of them. Generally the most releasing expressions are: I am angry," "I am sad," I am afraid," "I am sorry," "I want," and "I love." However, any phrases that assist you in expressing your feelings will work. It usually takes about twenty minutes to complete a Love Letter.

 

A Love Letter

 

Dear                                                                                 Date

 

I am writing this letter to share my feelings with you.

 

1. For Anger

 I Don't like it...

 

• I feel frustrated ...

 

• I am angry that ...

 

• I feel annoyed ...

 

* I want...

 

2. For Sadness

I feel di Isa p po i nted...

 

* I am sad that...

 

* 1 feel hurt ...

 

* 1 wanted ...

 

* I want...

 

3. For Fear

         1 worried...

 

* I am afraid ...

 

* I feel scared ...

 

* 1 do not want...

 

* 1 need ...

 

* 1 want ...

 

4. For R ret

I Feel embarrassed...

    I am sorry...

    1 feel ashamed ...

    1 didn't want ...

    1 want...

 

5. For Love

I Love

   I want...

   I understand ...

   1 forgive...

   I appreciate ...

   1 thank you for...

   I know...

 

P.S. The response I would like to hear from you:

Here are some typical situations and some sample Love Letters that will help you understand the technique.

 

A Love Letter About Forgetfulness

 

When Tom napped longer than he'd planned and forgot to take his daughter Hayley to the dentist, his wife, Samantha, was furious. Instead of confronting Tom with her anger and disapproval, however, she sat down and wrote the following Love Letter. Afterward she was able to approach Tom in a more centered and accepting way.

 

Because she wrote this letter, Samantha did not feel an urge to lecture or reject her husband. Instead of having an argument they enjoyed a loving evening. The next week Tom made sure Hayley got to the dentist.

 

This is Samantha's Love Letter:

 

Dear Tom,

 

1. Anger.. 1 am furious that you forgot. 1 am angry that you overslept. 1 hate it when you take naps and forget everything. 1 am tired of feeling responsible for everything. You expect me to do everything. 1 am tired of this.

 

2. Sad~ 1 am sad that Hayley missed ber appointment. 1 am sad that you forgot. 1 am sad because 1 feel like 1 can't rely on you. 1 am sad that you have to work so hard. 1 am sad that you are so tired. 1 am sad that you have less time for me. 1 feel hurt when you are not excited to see me. 1 feel hurt when you forget things. 1 feel like you don't c-are.

 

3. Fear.. 1 am afraid 1 have to do everything. 1 am afraid to trust you. 1 am afraid that you don't care. 1 am

 

afraid 1 will have to be responsible next time. 1 don't want to do everything. 1 need your help. 1 am afraid to need you. I am afraid you will never be responsible. I am afraid you are working too hard. I am afraid you may get sick.

 

4. Regret.. 1 feel embarrassed when you miss appointments. 1 feel embarrassed when you are late. 1 am sorry that 1 am so demanding. I am sorry that I am not more accepting. I feel ashamed that 1 am not more loving. 1 don't want to reject you.

 

S. Love. 1 love you. 1 understand that you were tired. You work so hard. 1 know you are doing your best. I forgive you for forgetting. Thank you for making another appointment. Thank you for wanting to take Hayley to the dentist. 1 know you really do care. I know you love me. I feel so lucky to have you in my life. 1 want to have a loving evening with you.

 

Love, Samantha

 

P.S. 1 need to hear that you will be responsible to take Hayley next week to the dentist.

 

A Love Letter About Indifference

 

Jim was leaving the next morning for a business trip. That evening, his wife, Virginia, attempted to create some intimacy. She brought a mango into their bedroom and offered him some. Jim was preoccupied reading a book in bed and briefly commented that he wasn't hungry. Virginia felt rejected and left. Inside she was hurt and angry. Instead of coming back and complaining about his rudeness and insensitivity, she wrote a Love Letter.

 

After writing this letter, Virginia, feeling more accepting and for

giving, went back into the bedroom and said, "This is our last night before you leave, let's spend some special time together." Jim put down his book and they had a delightful, intimate evening. Writing a Love Letter gave Virginia the strength and love to persist more directly in getting her partner's attention. She did not even need to share her Love Letter with her partner.

 

This is her letter:

 

Dear Jim,

 

1. Anger I am frustrated that you want to read a book and this is our last evening together before you leave. I am angry that you ignore me. I am angry that you do not want to spend this time with me. I am angry that we don't spend more time together. There is always something more important than me. I want to feel you love me.

 

2. Sad~. I am sad that you don't want to be with me. I am sad that you work so hard. I feel like you wouldn't even notice if 1 wasn't here. 1 am sad that you are always so busy. I am sad that you don't want to talk with me. 1 feel hurt that you do not care. I don't feel special.

 

3. Fear.. 1 am afraid you don't even know why I am upset. 1 am afraid you don't care. I am afraid of sharing my feelings with you. I am afraid you will reject me. I am afraid we are drifting further apart. I am scared that I can't do anything about it. I am afraid that 1 am boring to you. 1 am afraid that you don't like me.

 

4. Regret I feel so embarrassed wanting to spend time with you when you don't even care. 1 feel embarrassed getting so upset. I am sorry if this sounds demanding. 1

 

am sorry that 1 am not more loving and accepting. I am sorry that 1 was cold when you didn't want to spend time with me. 1 am sorry that I didn't give you another chance. 1 am. sorry that I stop trusting your love.

 

.9. Love.. I do love you. That's why 1 brought the mango. I wanted to do something to please you. 1 wanted to spend some special time together. I still want to have a special evening. 1 forgive you for being so indifferent to me. 1 forgive you for not responding right away. I understand that you were in the middle of reading something. Let's have a loving intimate evening.

 

1 love you, Virginia

 

P.S. The response I would like to hear: I love you, Virginia, and 1 also want to spend a loving evening with you. 1 am going to miss you."

 

A Love Letter About Arguing

 

Michael and Vanessa disagreed about a financial decision. Within a few minutes they got into an argument. When Michael noticed that he was starting to yell he stopped yelling, took a deep breath, and then said, "I need some time to think about this and then we will talk." Then he went into another room and wrote out his feelings in a Love Letter.

 

After writing the letter he was able to go back and discuss the matter in a more understanding way. As a result they were able lovingly to resolve their problem.

 

This is his Love Letter:

Dear Vanessa,

 

1. Anger I am angry that you get so emotional. 1 am angry that you keep misunderstanding me. 1 am angry that you can't stay calm when we talk. 1 am angry that you are so sensitive and easily hurt. 1 am angry that you mistrust and reject me.

 

2. Sadness: I am sad that we are arguing. It hurts to feel your doubts and mistrust. It hurts to lose your love. I am sad that we fought. 1 am sad that we disagree.

 

3. Fear 1 am afraid of making a mistake. 1 am afraid 1 can't do what 1 want to do without upsetting you. 1 am afraid to share my feelings. 1 am afraid you will make me wrong. 1 am afraid of looking incompetent. 1 am afraid you do not appreciate me. 1 am afraid to talk with you when you are so upset. I don't know what to say.

 

4. Regret.. 1 am sorry 1 hurt you. 1 am sorry 1 don't agree with you. 1 am sorry that 1 became so cold. I am sorry that I am so resistant to your ideas. I am sorry that 1 am in such a hurry to do what I want. 1 am sorry that 1 make your feelings wrong. You do not deserve to be treated that way. I am sorry that I judged you.

 

5. Love: 1 love you and 1 want to work this out. 1 think 1 could listen to your feelings now. 1 want to support you. 1 understand 1 hurt your feelings. 1 am sorry 1 was so invalidating of your feelings. I really love you so much. I want to be your hero and I don't want to just agree with everything. 1 want you to admire me. 1 need to be me and 1 support you in being you. I love you. This time when we talk I will be more patient and understanding. You deserve that.

 

1 love you, Michael

 

PS. The response I would like to hear: -I love you, Michael. 1 really appreciate what a caring and understanding man you are. I trust we can work this out."

 

A Love Letter About Frustration and Disappointment

 

jean left a message for her husband, Bill, saying that she wanted him

to bring some important mail home. Somehow, Bill never got the

message. When he arrived home without the mail, jean's reaction

was strong frustration and disappoi intment.

 

Although Bill was not at fault, when jean continued making comments about how much she needed that mall and how frustrated she was, he started to feel blamed and attacked. jean did not realize that Bill was taking personally all her feelings of frustration and disappointment. Bill was about to explode and make her wrong for being so upset.

 

Instead of dumping his defensive feelings on her and ruining their evening, he wisely decided to take ten minutes and write a Love Letter. When he finished writing, he came back more loving and gave his wife a hug, saying, "I am sorry you didn't get your mail. 1 wish 1 had gotten that message. Do you still love me anyway?" jean responded with a lot of love and appreciation, and they had a wonderful evening instead of a cold war.

 

This is Bill's Love Letter:

 

Dear Jean,

 

1. Anger.. 1 hate when you. get so upset. 1 hate when you blame me. 1 am angry that you are so unhappy. 1 am angry that you are not happy to see me. It feels like nothing I do is ever enough. 1 want you to appreciate me and be happy to see me.

2. Sad~ 1 am sad that you are so frustrated and disappointed. 1 am sad that you are not happy with me. 1 want you to be happy. 1 am sad that work is always getting in the way of our love life. 1 am sad that you don't appreciate all the wonderful things we have in our lives. 1 am sad 1 didn't come home with the mall you needed.

 

3. Fear 1 am afraid 1 can't make you happy. 1 am afraid you will be unhappy all evening. 1 am afraid to be open with you or be close to you. 1 am afraid of needing your love. 1 am afraid 1 am not good enough. 1 am afraid you will hold this against me.

 

4. Regret. 1 am sorry that I didn't bring home the mall. 1 am sorry you are so unhappy. 1 am sorry that 1 didn't think to call you. 1 didn't want to upset you. 1 wanted you to be happy to see me. We have a four-day holiday and 1 want it to be special.

 

S. Love.. I love you. 1 want you to be happy. 1 understand that you are upset. 1 understand that you need some time to just be upset. 1 know that you are not trying to make me feel bad. You just need a hug and some empathy. 1 am sorry. Sometimes I don't know what to do and I start making you be in the wrong. Thank you for being my wife. 1 love you so much. You don't have to be perfect and you don't have to be happy. I understand that you are upset about the mail.

 

1 love you, Bill

 

P.S. The response 1 would like to hear: "I love you, Bill. 1 appreciate how much you do for me. Thank you for being my husband."

 

STEP 2: WRITING A RESPONSE LETTER

 

Writing a Response Letter is the second step in the Love Letter Technique. Once you have expressed both your negative and positive feelings, taking an additional three to five minutes to write a Response Letter can be a healing process. In this letter, you will write the kind of response you would like to have from your partner.

 

It works like this. Imagine that your partner is able to respond lovingly to your hurt feelings-the ones you expressed in your Love Letter. Write a short letter to yourself pretending it is your partner writing to you. Include all the things you would like to hear from your partner about the hurts you have expressed. The following lead-in phrases can get you started:

 

* Thank you for... * 1 understand ... I am sorry... You deserve... I want ... I love ...

 

Sometimes writing a Response Letter is even more powerful than writing a Love Letter. Writing out what we actually want and need increases our openness to receiving the support we deserve. In addition, when we imagine our partners responding lovingly, we actually make it easier for them to do so.

 

Some people are very good at writing out their negative feelings but have a hard time finding the feelings of love. It is especially important for these people to write Response Letters and explore what they would want to hear in return. Be sure to feel your own resistance about letting your partner support you. This gives you an added awareness about how difficult it must be for your partner to deal lovingly with you at such times.

Now We (an Learn About Our partners Needs

 

Sometimes women object to writing Response Letters. They expect their partners to know what to say. They have a hidden feeling that says "I don't want to tell him what I need; if he really loves me he will know." In this case a woman needs to remember men are from Mars and don't know what women need; they need to be told.

 

A man's response is more a reflection of his planet than a mirror of how much he loves her. If he were a Venusian, he would know what to say, but he is not. Men really don't know how to respond to a woman's feelings. For the most part, our culture doesn't teach men what women need.

 

If a man has seen and heard his father respond with loving words to his mother's upset feelings, then he would have a better idea about what to do. As It Is, he doesn't know because he's never been taught. Response Letters are the best way to teach a man about a woman's needs. Slowly, but surely, he will learn.