Have you read “Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus”? It is insane. The author describes my conversations with James word for word. He states the exact words I am hoping James will say, then the exact words James says instead, and explains the reason for the disconnect. It’s incredible.
I was going to share some muggets I learned, but decided I must first read it over and over, every day for an hour or so, until it becomes a part of me. The principles make so much sense while reading, but in real life you get lost figuring out how to apply them. I just need to simmer in this wisdom until it becomes part of my bones.
The basic gist though is don’t wear yourself out doing nice things for men. They don’t like this because it reminds them of their mother. What a man really needs is:
A) Permission to be emotionally unavailable so he can do man things, like think about problems. Men go into robot state to recharge and they must fully recharge before they are capable of bonding.
B) Approval and acknowledgment. But this doesn’t have to be as exhausting as it sounds. Think of the man as a robot. He only needs a straightforward acknowledgment of tasks completed and problems solved. “Thank you for taking out the trash.” No goo, no frills.
The most important mecret though is that men hate criticism. And they hear criticisms in statements which females would find loving. Because their core insecurity, is “Am I powerful? Am I capable? Am I being viewed as powerful and capable?” Females, on the other hand, are wondering “Am I lovable? Am I loved? Do I have care and support?”
For this reason, females love it if someone offers to help them. They share ideas and advice as a form of affection. They like being fussed over. Offering a man help, advice or fussiness, however, can easily be construed as an insult. You are telling him he is a pathetic little boy who can’t do anything right without mommy’s help.
So never offer to help men. Don’t give advice or suggestions, unless they ask. (When men DO ask for advice, however, this means they truly want it, whereas females may ask for advice when they are actually seeking care and affection.) And avoid criticism as much as humanly possible.
Now I’m still not 100% sure what you are supposed to do in cases where you are riding bucket seat in a car that a man is driving off a cliff. Is there some way you can suggest he turn left that won’t mortally offend him and cause him to press the accelerator harder? I can only hope multiple readings of this book will reveal the answers to me.
Still, the good news is- give less. Save your care for yourself. When you make yourself happy, that will make your man happy too, since he will take credit for your happiness. Likewise, when you are unhappy, men take credit for that. Hence, the expression of natural emotions like sadness and anger can be construed as insults by a man. Your tears may be telling him that he sucks as a husband and you wish you had married the neighbor.
This is the other tricky part. Females thrive on expressing the full range of emotions. If we emit happiness all the time, we become frayed and brittle. Negative emotions are our healing waters, where we go to regenerate. They give us depth and wisdom. But to men, they are threatening. And an insult to their competence as husband.
Women talk about negative feelings to heal and create bonds. Men don’t do this. If they express negative emotions, it means they are trying to attack or blame someone. So when they see women being negative, they feel attacked. And they counter-attack. Then women go into shock because they don’t understand why they are getting attacked when they were looking for love and bonding. Degeneration begins.
Now, the book says that if men can truly understand that expressing negative feelings is part of female nature- and not intended as an assault- they can gradually restrain their defensive impulses. They can learn to just listen and even say things like hmmmm, oh really? and tell me more. Then they discover that by simply listening, the female’s negative feelings magically transform into positive feelings, including love and appreciation for the listener. This gives men the sense of accomplishment they crave.
So the real challenge lies in convincing men not to be threatened by female style expression. How to do this though, when there is no chance men will read relationship books themselves? * I don’t know, but it must be done. Cause even if a female does everything right- gives space, appreciation, zero criticism etc- if she can’t express the full range of feelings there is no chance she will feel satisfied. She will either pop or fade away, and the man will be left with the very sense of failure he was trying to avoid.
* I just read this to James and he said you could get men to do this by simply explaining it to them. However, you may need to be patient and remind them over and over that you only need them to listen until they are able to retrain their defensive reflexes.