A married couple was in a car when the wife turned to her husband and asked, “Would you like to stop for a coffee?” “No, thanks,” he answered truthfully. So they didn’t stop. The result? The wife, who had indeed wanted to stop, became annoyed because she felt her preference had not been considered. The husband, seeing his wife was angry, became frustrated. Why didn’t she just say what she wanted? Unfortunately, he failed to see that his wife was asking the question not to get an instant decision, but to begin a negotiation. And the woman didn’t realize that when her husband said no, he was just expressing his preference, not making a ruling. When a man and woman interpret the same interchange in such conflicting ways, it’s no wonder they can find themselves leveling angry charges of selfishness and obstinacy at each other. We cannot lump all men or all women into fixed categories. But the seemingly senseless misunderstandings that haunt our relationships can in part be explained by the different conversational rules by which men and women play. Men grow up in a world in which a conversation is often a contest, either to achieve the upper hand or to prevent other people from pushing them around. For women, however, talking is often a way to exchange confirmation and support. I saw this when my husband and I had jobs in different cities. People frequently made comments like, “That must be rough,” and “How do you stand it?” I accepted their sympathy and sometimes even reinforced it, saying, “The worst part is having to pack and unpack all the time.” But my husband often reacted with irritation. Our situation had advantages, he would explain. As academics, we had four-day weekends together, as well as long vacations throughout the year and four months in the summer. Everything he said was true, but I didn’t understand why he chose to say it. He told me that some of the comments implied: “Yours is not a real marriage. I am superior to you because my wife and I have avoided your misfortune.” Until then it had not occurred to me there might be an element of one-upmanship. I now see that my husband was simply approaching the world as many men do: as a place where people try to achieve and maintain status. I, on the other hand, was approaching the world as many women do: as a network of connections seeking support and consensus. by Deborah Tannen http://aggslanguage.wordpress.com/you-just-don%E2%80%99t-understand-by-deborah-tannen/
The single biggest problem
is the illusion
that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw
Human nature is very complex. Men have learned to be strong, competitive and courageous in times of danger. History has shown that we are able to conquer our fears and reach our goals — as long as our will, conviction and desire are present. Mankind has overcome the hardships of war and natural disasters. Yet there is one natural fear that seems to overshadow most men: the fear of rejection. This instinctive emotion paralyzes and hinders us from doing the things we really want to do, including meeting women. Some men are so afraid of rejection that they would rather run through a minefield than walk up to a woman and ask her out on a date. The need to feel desirable and part of a group is inevitable, and some people will place themselves in extreme circumstances just to preserve that feeling of belonging. …there is a very simple way to overcome this crippling emotion: Develop a greater fear of regret. My father hit the nail on the head when he told me that I wouldn’t regret the times that I made a complete fool of myself, but rather the times that I didn’t try something out of fear. I learned that valuable lesson way back in my early 20s. I had a crazy crush on this sweet girl, but I was too concerned with rejection to ask her out. A few years later, I bumped into her at a friend’s party and found out that she also used to have a thing for me. I finally let her know that I’d had a crush on her, to which she replied, “Why didn’t you do or say anything?” Of course, it was too late because she had already gotten married. Most men fear rejection because it lowers their self-esteem. But there is really no reason to lose any confidence when women say “no” because they aren’t really rejecting you. How could they be rejecting you when they don’t even know what you’re all about? The important thing to remember is that no one in this world can appeal to everyone’s tastes. Each woman has her preferences, so if she rejects you, it just means that you don’t fit the description of what she desires. If you think that women who reject your drink offers or date requests are frightening, you don’t know what true rejection is about. Once a man sees what true rejection is, he realizes how childish it is to fear approaching unfamiliar women. True rejection occurs when a woman rejects a man with whom she has spent a considerable amount of time. It is the ultimate rejection because the man is dismissed due to his all-around identity. From an article by Curt Smith http://www.askmen.com/dating/curtsmith/19_dating_advice.html
As I look back on my life,
I realize that every time
I thought I was being rejected
from something good,
I was actually being
re-directed to something better.
I have discovered a stark contrast between what each sex thinks the opposite sex wants from them, and what the opposite sex really does want. What women think men want from them causes women to have resentment and anger toward men, and feel hopeless about ever developing a wonderful, warm, romantic partnership. What men think women want from them causes them much of the same feelings and frustration. The sad part is that it does not have to be this way, if only we would realize that both men and women are human beings first and pretty much want the same thing. I asked a number of men and women who are actively involved in personal growth and development what they want from a partner in order to build a great relationship. You will find their answers unexpected. Honest communication is top priority for men. They want a woman who answers questions honestly, and perhaps even volunteers information. They want a woman who confidently asks for her wants and needs to be met. They want a woman who can see the truth and tell it like it is while communicating with kindness. Men want a woman who can communicate without being too critical, who cares about preserving his and her dignity. Women think men want them to be superficial, to keep quiet about their needs or wants, and never to ask for anything. Women think men believe them to be too needy and too sensitive, and that men simply want women to get over it. Some women believe they do not have the permission to tell it like it is, that they will be rejected for speaking up. Great men want and need straightforward, courageous communication without anger or criticism. One way to attract a great man and build a satisfying relationship is to learn how to communicate your truth and needs effectively. Men want what women want — a whole partner. One powerful way to attract a great man and build a vibrant relationship is to create a full, rewarding life for your own fulfillment. Men want no manipulation of any kind. They do not want to read their partner’s mind or try to interpret signals. They do not want to be forced to move faster in a relationship than they are ready. They do not want to be manipulated into taking all the blame for things gone wrong. They do not want to be on the receiving end of game playing. Women think men want little or no communication, and the only way to get needs met is through manipulation. Women think men either need or want to be reminded that the relationship needs to move forward. Women think men don’t want or value praise and acknowledgment, and so tend to only verbalize criticism. From an article by Rinatta Paries http://powertochange.com/sex-love/menwant/
Men and women
play the same game
but with different rules.
When men and women speak, the human brain processes the sounds of those voices differently, Britain’s Mirror and Agence France Presse report of a new study from the U.K.’s University of Sheffield. While most of us actually hear female voices more clearly, men’s brains hear women’s voices first as music. But it’s not music. It’s someone giving them a honey-do list. So the brain goes into overdrive trying to analyze what is being said. Bottom line: Men have to work harder deciphering what women are saying because they use the auditory part of the brain that processes music, not human voices. Men’s brains are not designed to listen to women’s voices. It’s not the pitch of the woman’s voice, but rather the vibration and number of sound waves that cause the problem, notes Discovery News. But guys have no trouble at all hearing each other because men use a much simpler brain mechanism at the back of the brain to decipher another man’s voice and recognize it as speech. “The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices. This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice,” lead researcher Michael Hunter told The Mirror. “When men hear a male voice they process it in the ‘mind’s eye.’ This is the part of the brain where people compare their experiences to themselves, so the man is comparing his own voice to the new voice.” Here’s a really bizarre side effect: These findings help explain why people who suffer hallucinations usually hear male voices. It’s just too hard for the brain to create a false feminine voice as accurately as it can create a false masculine voice. The research findings were published in the journal NeuroImage. http://webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com/men/package.jsp?name=fte/womenspeak/womenspeak
Most people do not listen
with the intent to understand;
they listen with the intent to reply.
Stephen R. Covey
A good marriage is best friends with passion. Without the passion, you just have a friendship. For some, being companions is sufficient. But for most, it is not. One of the major casualties of the harried pace of modern marriage is the loss of sexual intimacy. It is too steep a price to pay. While communication is the most frequently mentioned issue in troubled marriages… a diminished sexual relationship at the center of most troubled marriages. Men and women are different. While these differences get debated in some circles, when it comes to sex, they are real and very clear. Unfortunately many couples fail to reflect on these differences and integrate them into an understanding of how to be successful partners. Start with arousal patterns. Men are quick to be aroused and relatively quick to achieve orgasm. The “spike” rises sharply and drops off just as sharply. Men are especially aroused visually; brain research documents this. So looking at other women, at magazines, videos, and online pornography play a much bigger role in the sexual life of men. Women are aroused more slowly and after achieving orgasm, tend to remain at a high plateau of arousal before dropping off. These are very different physiological patterns. No wonder it is a challenge for couples to really experience mutual satisfaction. These differences must not be ignored; instead they must be incorporated into the lovemaking process. It is also important to understand the psychological implications of the different genital anatomies. For men, sexual intercourse is an external act. This has evolutionary implications about the need for prehistoric men to “seed” many partners in order to insure survival of the species. It is part of what allows men to more easily separate sex from love. But, for a woman, to have intercourse means allowing a man to enter her body. That is a deeply personal act and men need to appreciate this. It is why women complain about the need for emotional intimacy before they can be sexually active. Combine this with the difference in arousal patterns and it becomes much easier to understand why it is so important for women to experience meaningful foreplay.
Chains do not hold a marriage together.
It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads
which sew people together through the years.
The stereotypes of reserved men and emotional women are widespread and do affect the way young boys and girls are raised. Some researchers argue that we may be ingraining gender differences that do not naturally exist by accepting and passing on these stereotypes to our children. Other researchers believe these differences have developed due to the evolutionary roles placed on men and women to survive and thrive. While researchers debate these gender differences, they agree that the differences ultimately can have a negative effect on members of both sexes. Some research has found that the differences may be rooted in cultural stereotypes. For example, women are perceived as being more emotional and behave that way because it’s believed that’s what women do, while men express emotion only when the situation warrants it. Parents may have a hand in promoting these gender differences, expressing disapproval with boys who cry or express other “weak” emotions while shrugging off similar behavior in girls. Other studies posit an evolutionary cause for these gender differences in emotion. Men serving as hunter-gatherers needed to take more risks and be more dominating, while women who stayed home and cared for young needed to be more nurturing and cautious. These roles have resisted change as human society has progressed, and indeed, progress may cause these roles to become even more pronounced. Gender differences in emotional processing and response have direct consequences on the physical and emotional health of men and women. Overly emotional women tend to be at greater risk for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, while men who repress their feelings tend to be at greater risk for physical ailments such as high blood pressure, and also tend to indulge in more risky behavior and vices such as smoking or drinking. Others believe that parents can help dull or negate these stereotypes by refusing to reinforce them. Whether you’re trying to bring up children without gender stereotypes or looking after your own emotional health, be aware of these gender differences and how they affect both men’s and women’s experiences of the world. From an article by Dennis Thompson Jr. http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/gender-differences-in-emotional-health.aspx
Women need to feel loved
and men need to feel needed.
Rita Mae Brown
Feeling bad when you do something wrong is natural, and maybe even useful. Without it, where would we find the motivation to do better next time? But not all bad feelings are equally beneficial. Shame, which involves negative feelings about the self as a whole (i.e., feeling worthless), is associated with defensive strategies like denial, avoidance, and even physical violence. Feeling like you’re just a bad person at your core can undermine efforts to change, as change may not even seem possible from this perspective. Guilt, by contrast, involves feeling bad about one’s behavior and its consequences. Research suggests that criminal offenders who recognize that doing bad things does not make them bad people are less likely to continue engaging in criminal activity, and remorse, rather than self-condemnation, has been shown to encourage prosocial behavior. Healthy self-forgiveness therefore seems to involve releasing destructive feelings of shame but maintaining appropriate levels of guilt and remorse to the extent that these emotions help fuel positive change. In theory, self-forgiveness is only relevant in the context of transgressions that an individual has acknowledged and taken responsibility for. Without the recognition of wrongdoing, what would there be to forgive? In practice, however, self-forgiveness can be code for avoiding culpability. The self-forgiveness formula most conducive to constructive change seems to involve an acknowledgement of both positive and negative aspects of the self. Research suggests, for example, that people who have more balanced, realistic views of themselves are less likely to use counter-productive coping strategies like self-handicapping than those who either inflate or deflate their self-images. Along similar lines, self-forgiveness interventions have been shown to be most helpful when combined with responsibility-taking exercises. Alone, self-forgiveness seems to do little to motivate change. By Juliana Breines, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-love-and-war/201207/the-dangers-self-forgiveness-and-how-avoid-them
Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed,
is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have
behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can
and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time.
On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.
If your usage of a substance like alcohol or drugs, or habit like excessive shopping or sports-watching, ever prompted someone you love to say to you, “Too much,” listen up. The biggest mistake people make with addictions, alcohol and otherwise, is that they deny that they are over-doing it. They get defensive. They insist “I’m only drinking so much because …” They claim, “You do it too..” or “Everyone drinks like that..” They minimize, “I just drink….” Denial is tempting, and extremely self-defeating. Resist this temptation, and you have a chance at averting the potentially marriage-threatening consequences of an addiction that you persist in sustaining. The remedy: Take your loved one’s concern seriously. Seriously reassess your habit. Ask yourself, “If I look at my drinking in the best possible light, what is it meant to accomplish?” If the answer is that drinking enables you to escape from stresses in your life, it’s time to face those stresses head on. Addictions usually are an alternative to addressing and resolving problems, marital and otherwise. Replace running away with talking about your problems with someone you trust. By clinical psychologist, marriage counselor and author Susan Heitler, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201110/resisting-the-3-main-temptations-destroy-marriages
First you take a drink,
then the drink takes a drink,
then the drink takes you.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Self-kindness: Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, so they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals. People cannot always be or get exactly what they want. When this reality is denied or fought against suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism. Common humanity: Frustration at not having things exactly as we want is often accompanied by an irrational but pervasive sense of isolation – as if “I” were the only person suffering or making mistakes. All humans suffer, however. The very definition of being “human” means that one is mortal, vulnerable and imperfect. Therefore, self-compassion involves recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience – something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone. It also means recognizing that personal thoughts, feelings and actions are impacted by “external” factors such as parenting history, culture, genetic and environmental conditions, as well as the behavior and expectations of others. Many aspects of ourselves and the circumstances of our lives are not of our choosing, but instead stem from innumerable factors (genetic and/or environmental) that we have little control over. By recognizing our essential interdependence, therefore, failings and life difficulties do not have to be taken so personally, but can be acknowledged with non-judgmental compassion and understanding. Mindfulness: Self-compassion also requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. This equilibrated stance stems from the process of relating personal experiences to those of others who are also suffering, thus putting our own situation into a larger perspective. It also stems from the willingness to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. At the same time, mindfulness requires that we not be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negative reactivity. From “Overcoming Shame: The Powerful Benefits of a Little Self-Love” by Emma Seppala, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201211/overcoming-shame-the-powerfulbenefits-little-self-love
You have been taught
that there is something
wrong with you
and that you are imperfect,
but there isn’t
and you’re not.
1) – Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage we do not always do the right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannot erase the past. We can only confess it and agree that it was wrong. We can ask for forgiveness and try to act differently in the future. Having confessed my failure and asked forgiveness, I can do nothing more to mitigate the hurt it may have caused my spouse. When I have been wronged by my spouse and she has painfully confessed it and requested forgiveness, I have the option of justice or forgiveness. If I choose justice and seek to pay her back or make her pay for her wrongdoing, I am making myself the judge and her the felon. Intimacy becomes impossible. If, however, I choose to forgive, intimacy can be restored. Forgiveness is the way of love. 2) – What is emotional intimacy? It is that deep sense of being connected to one another. It is feeling loved, respected and appreciated, while at the same time seeking to reciprocate. To feel loved is to have the sense that the other person genuinely cares about your well-being. Respect has to do with feeling that your potential spouse has positive regard for your personhood, intellect, abilities and personality. Appreciation is that inner sense that your partner values your contribution to the relationship. Two quotes by Dr. Gary Chapman author of “The Five Love Languages”
We are products
of our past,
but we don’t have
to be prisoners of it.