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What Your Mother Couldn’t Tell You and Your Father Didn’t Know: Advanced Relationship Skills for Better Communication and Lasting Intimacy by John Gray
Gotta love love John Gray. First the Men Mars Women Venus book and now this. I like his thinking, he makes sense and he explains it in ways men and women can understand. This book takes us to the present time when women are no longer in the homemaker/child-carer/love-giver box and men are no longer the hunter/protector/provider box. See back in the day couples were too busy for romance, it was about doing your part and fulfil your job description and thats that. So we need to relearn a few things. In the summary what ever starts with M is for men to relearn, W for Women and WM for both. WMD for (insert weapons of mass destruction joke here).
W – Now that things have changed a man is not enough for a woman. And the thing is women wait around for the men to do things. So women have to help men to be ‘pleasing’ to her and not wait.
John says the 2 the main things are to anticipate setbacks and relearn things. Like when a man comes back from work his old program tells him that his job is done. While for a woman have the need to do more.
M – This is where men need to nurture the female side. See the woman does not mind doing the work but she feels unappreciated or alone and all that stuff. How you ask? Well for one, women like to have a non-goal-oriented conversation. Men don’t need to understand this just STFU and nod! See women’s need to talk and men’s need for silence is a perfect combo if used correctly.
W – But because women enjoy that kind of talk it sometimes messes up the man because he thinks they’re all problems for things for him to do or react to in some way. So women need to be straight up about their needs. And to understand that men will do some chores here and there. Bit by bit. In between he’ll feel the need for his private time and will take it. Let him, he’ll be able to support and nurture women more.
M – There is no need to solve everything women throw at you. Sometimes it even makes women feel like you think they’re not capable. You know you enjoy your private time staring at a screen, daydreaming etc but when your woman is talking just listen to her and don’t ignore her and don’t get lost in your work/activity/floating.
We come to mens 3 main needs. 1 Success at work, 2 Distraction like TV/Games/etc, 3 Anticipating appreciation from their woman. We’ve all heard or seen a man getting deeper into 1 and/or 2 if the woman is not capable of providing 3. And it’s also because when his woman talks to him, she sounds like she’s blaming, criticising or mistrusting him. Which she’s isn’t but it sounds like so he ends up ducking and dodging her.
W – So she has to relearn how to appreciate him in a way he’ll know it’s appreciation.
As for women’s needs so far he’s only mentioned that women now need a new type of security since men are not hunters and protectors anymore.
M – Need to have patients, give love and maintain when a woman is talking as she doesn’t know how she feels about things until she puts things in words. So men have to help women work through their feelings.
See in conversations men need to look away from the person to think things and women need eye contact or they think men are not listening. Or when they give solutions to women it makes the women feel that men don’t understand. And those are the two worst things to tell a man ‘you don’t understand’ and ‘you’re not listening/are you even listening to me’. In the first one he thinks his help is not welcomed. The second one they heard from their moms and so its a degrading phrase, just know that he is listening in his own way.
W – Pause and prepare the man before you say something. In the start I was having the same situation with my partner coz she’d start saying something but my head is in something else so I’d go ‘HEH?’ And after we understood this it didn’t bug her out.
Women have to do something called ‘male talk’ at work. Talk logical things and goal oriented so when she comes home she wants to get things out. Men don’t get this.
W – So if women feel like it’s going to be a ‘you don’t understand’ or ‘are you listening’ situation. She simply has to tell him something along the lines of ‘You don’t have to say anything, I just need to say things’.
Goes on to talk about Men Mars/Women Venus stuff about men like to be in their cave staring at nothing.
W – Need to gauge if he’s in his cave or is ready to listen. It could be simply by asking how was your day and seeing if his reaction was aloof or if he’s more vocal with his answer.
Something men always worry about is how long is the non-goal-oriented convo going to be. Paras note: For some reason I have a listers face and have to sit there nodding. Heres a secret… I don’t have a big attention span so I space out around a person with verbal diarrhoea and it’s ok because they like talking so much they’re gonna say all that stuff again and again… AND AGAIN! And this is not only for women, the longest sitting I’ve had was with one of the few men who have this condition. 3 hours listening to the same thing I’ve heard for a decade or more. I’d say something but it’ll only lead to 3 more hours!
WM – Anyway so both men and women should ask ‘how was your day’. M – make sure you ask it when you’re ready to listen. W – ask this to see if it’s a good time for the man and he’s not in his cave. Or women can simply ask if it’s a good time to talk.
John talk’s about an old adage that says ‘never go to bed angry’. Well he says that was more for the women. They need to talk it out before sleeping. For men the need to sleep it out before talking. This is why men walk away when they’re angry. Women think it’s punishment when that’s his way of making things better.
W – Now it may be hard for women to walk away from upset men because they feel like they’re doing the wrong thing but be strong. Just walk away and postpone the talk without accusations.
Both sides have different ‘I don’t want to talk’ signals. Communicate with each other properly to know them and respect them.
Now men have the goal oriented ‘hunter’ program which is why after having sex they expect to progress from there and find it hard to go back to nonsexual affection. Affection to him is a prelude to sex while women needs nonsexual touch/affection.
W – 4 ways to change this are 1 – giving the man a new goal as this will fulfil his need to learn a new skill. 2 – Men not feeling blamed for not doing things earlier (like nonsexual affection). 3 – Reward him when he does desirable things. 4 – Non-demanding behaviour when he forgets to do the desirable things.
WM – Both need to embrace the opposite sex in them to nurture their partner. Something covered is The Way of The Superior Man Audiobook by David Deida. Things change after marriage and both sides need to support and nurture each other. Both sides can being it all back like it was.
Something about women reacting to problems in 4 ways and in brackets are the ways men react to them. 1 – Talking about it (seeing it as complain and criticism). 2 – Sharing their feelings (feeling controlled). 3 – Solving it for themselves (feeling disengaged). 4 – Men solving it (waiting too long and feeling resentful which leads to him not wanting to help).
Men also like to do things that will create positive change. Taking out the trash is positive but it’s something that needs to be all the time so no progression. Paras note: I feel the same about cooking. In these cases men will grumble but do it and that grumbling is just a sign that he needs some sort of reward.
W – Start small with the rewards. But show appreciation and pump that ego. Paras note: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen wise women get so much done just by pumping that ego the right way. Next John suggests is for women to write 10 things to recondition like this. He says it and I concur that women have the power to change the things they want.
Something about sex going on the back-burner for women because after sex she expects a connection and expectations rise because of it. Why didn’t he call, call more often, etc. And when men try to give more she becomes more resentful. Especially when a man start to talk about their emotions, it reduces attraction on both sides. Or the woman will start mothering the man when she’s in a negative mood not knowing that it’s making him feel useless.
M – This is where the men should just give her the connection and feel the resentment with patience because she will realise for herself.
Something about women who feel the need to be supported on her feminine side will become more masculine and vice versa for men. If women find themselves working after work they compensate by becoming more masculine, eating more, look for things to solve/fix, pick fights more. Usually overeating is their way for ‘need replacement’ and they see the feminine side as weak. She’ll end up taking over more and basically ‘be the man’. Men feel they need to talk and open up more. But they have to do it in a way where they reveal less and make the woman reveal more. Same thing for men, if they don’t get their nurturing/love from female, they’ll work harder or stay in the cave more. He’ll try to compensate by being more aggressive at work, become feminine. (Who hasn’t seen the aggressive bully at work with extra hormones ;oP) In stage 2 he’ll drink more. (John recommends the 12 step program). In stage 3 he’ll be extra feminine, emotional and start demanding love. (Oh boy) And this is how he gets back his feminine nurturing needs. In stage 3 he’ll talk more mostly because he needs to feel right. (Wow symptom for symptom man). Women talk regardless they don’t need to feel right they just need to get it out. They just have greater marital expectations.
John says marital monogamy is possible but we don’t know how. Women get into soaps and romance novels etc. Men get into sports, porn, action stuff, etc.
WM – Both need to realise that just like how you get tolerance for drugs, alcohol, addictions. The same happens for sex and you need to up the ante. The 7 secrets to keep it spicy… 1 – Differences attract, 2 – Change in growth (keep it fresh), 3 – Feelings, needs and vulnerability, 4 – Personal responsibility and self healing (problems may be deeper and connected to the past), 5 – Love, romance and monogamy, (the need for consistent love) 6 – Friendship, autonomy and recreation, (activities like dancing) 7 – Partnership and service to a higher purpose (Men have separate departments for men and women e.g. he goes into her department for sex and then goes back to his department… or what men call nap) This is not the right way but it happens. After having children the couple need a new goal.
WM – Practice forgiveness. Sometimes we hide love to protect ourselves from hurt. In new age relationships we need to find creative ways to fulfil each other. Etc etc.
Phew! These summaries are getting long. My apologies if it got repetitive.
1. What Your Mother Couldn’t Tell You and Your Father Didn’t Know
2. What Women Need Most and Men Really Want
3. A New Job Description for Relationships
4. How Men and Women Are Different
5. Masculine Skills for Listening Without Getting Upset
6. Feminine Skills for Talking So a Man Will Listen
7. Men Speak “Male” and Women Speak “Female”
8. Why Men Forget and Women Remember
9. What Happened to the Man I Love?
10. Where Is the Woman I Fell For?
11. Men Are Still from Mars, Women Are Still from Venus
12. A Lifetime of Love and Passion
13. Dance Steps for Lasting Intimacy