Have you ever gone to the salon and had your hair colored, then returned home with a smile on your face that suggests you just pulled off the biggest coup in history? You feel genuine excitement to share this new look with your spouse, but when he barely looks up and grumbles something about dinner, your world caves in. You think, “What a jerk!” Morale firmly in the toilet, you shuffle off to the kitchen, closing cabinets more loudly than you should, which in turn elicits more grumbles from the cave man you share your home with. By now, an argument seems certain, but then you remember something Dr. John Gray, relationship expert and bestselling author, said about self-esteem. It “rises and falls like a wave.” (www.marsvenus.com) When a woman is down, she tends to be more emotionally reactive. “Boy,” you think, “that is so true. I was feeling so good a few short minutes ago. Why do I want to come down off that high simply because Mr. Grumbles didn’t notice my hair yet? I should cut him some slack.” And with that thought, your self-esteem is restored.

The Opposite Sex

If you’ve ever sat in a room with the opposite sex for more than an hour, you know that men think and act differently than women, and you probably know that men want different things in a relationship than their female counterparts. What are some examples? PlumbTalk Women turned to Dr. Gray for answers.

“Men mistakenly offer solutions and invalidate feelings while women offer unsolicited advice and direction.”

If you’ve ever come home and complained about a co-worker, then listened to your man tell you what to do the next time you encounter that co-worker, even though you weren’t asking, then you know what Dr. Gray means. Here’s another one:

“[Men] tend to pull away and silently think about what is bothering them while [women] feel an instinctive need to talk about what’s bothering them.”

Let’s face it, ladies. This is the quintessential fact about both sexes. And if men were good listeners, we wouldn’t need the Charlottes and the Carries in our lives (as much). Dr. Gray goes on to say,

“Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.”

Men have to feel like you cannot do without them. Sometimes when you seek help from someone else, this can lead to hurt feelings. We’ve all been there. Understanding why he was hurt will help your relationship flourish.

Communication: The Fundamental Difference

There is a fundamental difference in what men and women want in a partner. Understanding this can improve your relationship. Simply stated, “A man wants a woman with a smile: a woman wants a man with a plan.” (www.marsvenus.com) Really, you ask? All I need to do is smile more often? Genuine happiness is there for the taking, but make no mistake. It is YOU who is in the driver’s seat. Your communication has a lot to do with it.

“If we want to be happy in a relationship and keep our spouse happy too, then communicating in a way the other person can “hear” is necessary,” says Dr. Gray. “When we communicate in a way the other person can understand, then we are more likely to get what we want/need to feel happy.”

What about arguments? How can we avoid getting into a discussion that will only serve to raise our blood pressure? It’s about processing information, specifically how men and women process things differently. Accounting for this difference is key.

Healthy Romance

Dr. Gray has some suggestions for maintaining a healthy and lasting relationship.

  1. Women should encourage their man, trust, accept and appreciate him.
  2. Men should respect the woman they care for, showing her devotion and understanding.

Perhaps the number one tip is realizing there are differences between the two sexes. Men are not going to react the same way a female would and vice versa. The worst “villain” in a relationship is assuming your partner thinks like you do. Your hero is in the form of respectful communication.

Let’s revisit the situation from earlier as an example. After you realize he’s not focused on you because he’s starving and his team is down 20 points, you perk up and start cooking, humming and yes, smiling. His interest is piqued as the house becomes enveloped in a wonderful aroma, and he makes his way into the kitchen, noticing your beautiful hair. “You look ravishing with that new color,” he exclaims. “I’m so glad you like it,” you gush. Sounds like someone’s been reading “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

For more on how to strengthen your romantic relationship, please visit Dr. John Gray at www.marsvenus.com.

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