SAD STORY OF A PREGNANT WOMAN.


You made love to your wife last night and left
her the next morning without looking back.
You are in search for the greener pasture. You
left her all alone for 9 months But your wife
got pregnant that night.
And for the next 9 months she was all alone, in
the cold, She first noticed her body changing,
and then the doctor said she is pregnant, the
news gave her joy but with sadness filled her
heart as she was longing to sleep in your arms.
She wants you to be there when your baby
start kicking inside her belly. But all she got
was your voice on the phone.
So many times she cried, she could not
prepare her meals, sometimes she will sleep all
day with body pains as the symptoms took
hold of her. and sometimes she will vomit
through out the night.
She will wake up weak and exhausted
She will force herself to cook but after cooking
she won't feel like eating anymore. All she
needed was you to be by her side, to make her
smile, to rub her belly and listen to her when
she talks about how she is feeling. To take her
out, to walk with her and keep her bed warm.
After going through the pains of post-mother
hood. On that fateful day, at the hospital, in
the labour room, all she could say was your
name. due to the pains, and sadness,
something went wrong, she died with the
baby. You are to be blame.
LESSON: Always take care of your woman
especially when she is pregnant. Care and
protect our pregnant women for they are in
control of the future.
PRAYER: To all pregnant women out there, you
will not die on the day of bountiful joy, she
will live to raise your child in happiness and
good health. IN JESUS Name. Type Amen and
Share.

Abi Love's photo.

Ladies (30)

Learning to Support Each Other Without Having to Change

At the seminar Sandra said, "I have spent twenty years trying to get Larry to talk. I wanted him to open up and be vulnerable. I didn't realize that what I was missing was a man who would support me in being open and vulnerable. That is what I really needed. I have shared more intimate feelings with my husband this weekend than in twenty years. I feel so loved. This is what I have been missing. I thought he had to change. Now I know nothing is wrong with him or me. We just didn't know how to support each other." Sandra had always complained that Larry didn't talk. She had convinced herself that his silence made intimacy impossible. At the seminar she learned to share her feelings without expecting or demanding Larry to reciprocate. Instead of rejecting his silence she learned to appreciate it. It made him a better listener.
Larry learned the art of listening. He practiced listening without trying to fix her. It is much more effective to teach a man to listen than to open up and be vulnerable. As he learns to listen to someone he cares for and is appreciated in response, he gradually will open up and share
more automatically. When a man feels appreciated for listening and he doesn't feel rejected for not sharing more, he will gradually begin to open up. When he feels as though he doesn't have to talk more, then naturally he will. But first he needs to feel accepted. If she is still frustrated by his silence she is forgetting that men are from Mars!

WHEN A MAN DOESN'T PULL AWAY
Lisa and Jim had been married for two years. They did everything together. They were never apart. After a while, Jim became increasingly irritable, passive, moody, and temperamental. In a private counseling session, Lisa told me, "He is no longer any fun to be with. I have tried everything to cheer him up, but it doesn't work. I want to do fun things together, like going to restaurants, shopping, traveling, going to plays, parties, and dancing, but he doesn't. We never do anything anymore. We just watch TV, eat, sleep, and work. I try to love him, but I am angry. He used to be so charming and romantic. Living with him now is like living with a slug. I don't know what to do. He just won't budge!" After learning about the male intimacy cycle-the rubber band theory-both Lisa and Jim realized what had happened. They were spending too much time together. Jim and Lisa needed to spend more time apart. When a man gets too close and doesn't pull away, common symptoms are increased moodiness, irritability, passiveness, and defensiveness. Jim had not learned how to pull away. He felt guilty spending time alone. He thought he was supposed to share everything with his wife. Lisa also thought they were supposed to do everything together. In counseling I asked Lisa why she had spent so much time with Jim. She said, "I was afraid he would get upset if I did anything fun without him. One time I went shopping and he got really upset with me." Jim said, "I remember that day. But I wasn't upset with you. I was upset about losing some money in a business deal. I actually remember that day because I remember noticing how good I felt having the whole house to myself. I didn't dare tell you that because I thought it would hurt your feelings." Lisa said, "I thought you didn't want me to go out without you. You seemed so distant." Becoming More Independent With this new awareness, Lisa got the permission she needed not to worry so much about Jim. Jim pulling away actually helped her become more autonomous and independent. She started taking better care of herself. As she started doing the things she wanted to do and get more support from her girlfriends she was much happier,
She released her resentment toward Jim. She realized that she had been expecting too much from him. Having beard about the rubber band she realized how she was contributing to their problem. She realized that he needed more time to be alone. Her loving sacrifices were not only preventing him from pulling away and then springing back but her dependent attitude was
also smothering him. Lisa started doing fun things without Jim. She did some of the things that she had been wanting to do. One night she went out to cat with some girlfriends. Another night she went to a play. Another night she went to a birthday bowling party. Simply a Miracle What amazed her was how quickly their relationship changed. Jim became much more attentive and interested in her. Within a couple of weeks, Jim started to come back to his old self again. He was wanting to do fun things with her and started planning dates. He got his motivation back. In counseling he said, "I feel so relieved. I feel loved ... when Lisa comes home she is happy to see me. It feels so good to miss ber when she is gone. It feels good to 'feel' again. I had almost forgotten what it was like. Before it seemed like nothing I did was good enough. Lisa was always trying to get me to do things, telling me what to do and asking me questions." Lisa said, "I realized I was blaming him for my unhappiness. As I took responsibility for my happiness, I experienced that Jim was more energetic and alive. It's like a miracle. "

Ladies (29)

WHEN TO TALK WITH A MAN

 When a man is pulling away is not the time to talk or try to get closer. Let him pull away. After some time, he will return. He will appear loving and supportive and will act as though nothing has happened. This is the time to talk.
At this golden time, when a man wants intimacy and is actually available to talk, women
generally don't initiate conversations. This occurs for these three common reasons: 1. A woman is afraid to talk because the last time she wanted to talk he pulled away. She mistakenly assumes that he doesn't care and he doesn't want to listen. 2. A woman is afraid the man is upset with her and she waits for him to initiate a conversation about his feelings. She knows that if she were suddenly to pull away from him, before she could reconnect she would need to talk about what happened. She waits for him to initiate a conversation about what upset him. He, however, doesn't need to talk about his upset feelings because he is not upset. 3. A woman has so much to say that she doesn't want to be rude and just begin talking. To be polite, instead of talking about ber own thoughts and feelings she makes the mistake of asking him questions about his feelings and thoughts. When he has nothing to say, she concludes he doesn't want to have a conversation with her. With all of these incorrect beliefs about why a man is not talking, it is no wonder that women are frustrated with men.

NOW TO GET A MAN TO TALK
 When a woman wants to talk or feels the need to get close, she should do the talking and not expect a man to initiate the conversation. To initiate a conversation she needs to be the first to begin sharing, even if her partner has little to say. As she appreciates him for listening, gradually he will have more to say. A man can be very open to having a conversation with a woman but at first have nothing to say. What women don't know about Martians is that they need to have a reason to talk. They don't talk just for the sake of sharing. But when a woman talks for a while, a man will start to open up and share how he relates to what she has shared. For example, if she talks about some of her difficulties during the day he may share some of the difficulties of his day so that they can understand each other. If she talks about her feelings about the kids, he may then talk about his feelings about the kids. As she opens up and he doesn't feel blamed or pressured, then he gradually begins to open up. How Women Pressure Men to Talk A woman sharing her thoughts naturally motivates a man to talk. But when he feels a demand is being made that he talk, his mind goes blank. He has nothing to say. Even if he has something to say he will resist because he feels her demand. It is hard for a man when a woman demands that he talk. She unknowingly turns him off by interrogating him. Especially when he doesn't feel the need to talk. A woman mistakenly assumes that a man "needs to talk" and therefore "should." She forgets that he is from Mars and doesn't feel the need to talk as much. She even feels that unless he talks, he doesn't love hen To reject a man for not talking is to ensure that he has nothing to say. A man needs to feel accepted just the way he is, and then he will gradually open up. He does not feel accepted when she wants him to talk more or resents him for pulling away.
A man who needs to pull away a lot before he can learn to share and open up will first need to listen a lot. He needs to be appreciated for listening, then gradually he will say more. How to Initiate a Conversation with a Man The more a woman tries to get a man to talk the more he will resist. Directly trying to get him to talk is not the best approach, especially if he is stretching away. Instead of wondering how she can get him to talk a better question might be "How can I achieve greater intimacy, conversation, and communication with my partner? If a woman feels the need for more talk in the relationship, and most women do, then she can initiate more conversation but with a mature awareness that not only accepts but also expects that sometimes he will be available and at other times he will instinctively pull away. When he is available, instead of asking him twenty questions or demanding that he talk, she could let him know that she appreciates him even if he just listens. In the beginning she should even discourage him from talking. For example, Maggie could say "Jeff, would you listen to me for a while? I've had a hard day and I want to talk about it. It will make me feel much better." After Maggie talked for a couple of minutes then she could pause and say "I really appreciate when you listen to my feelings, it means a lot to me." This appreciation encourages a man to listen more. Without appreciation and encouragement, a man may lose interest because he feels as though his "listening" is "doing nothing." He doesn't realize how valuable his listening is to her. Most women, however, instinctively know how important listening is. To expect a man to know this without some training is to expect him to be like a woman. Fortunately, after being appreciated for listening to a woman, a man does learn to respect the value of talking.

WHEN A MAN WON'T TALK
 Sandra and Larry had been married for twenty years. Sandra wanted a divorce and Larry wanted to make things work. She said, "How can he say he wants to stay married? He doesn't love me. He doesn't feel anything. He walks away when I need him to talk. He is cold and heartless. For twenty years he has withheld his feelings. I am not willing to forgive him. I will not stay in this marriage. I am too tired of trying to get him to open up and share his feelings and be vulnerable." Sandra didn't know how she had contributed to their problems. She thought it was all her husband's fault. She thought she had done everything to promote intimacy, conversation, and communication, and he had resisted her for twenty years. After hearing about men and rubber bands in the seminar, she burst into tears of forgiveness for her husband. She realized that "his" problem was "their" problem. She recognized how she had contributed to their problem.
She said, "I remember in our first year of marriage I would open up, talk about my feelings, and he would just walk away. I thought he didn't love me. After that happened a few times, I gave up. I was not willing to be hurt again. I did not know that at another time he would be

able to listen to my feelings. I didn't give him a chance. I stopped being vulnerable. I wanted him to open up before I would." One-sided Conversations Sandra's conversations were generally one-sided. She would try to get him to talk first by asking him a string of questions. Then, before she could share what she wanted to talk about, she would become upset with his short answers. When she finally did share her feelings, they were always the same. She was upset that he was not open, loving, and sharing.
 A one-sided conversation might go like this:
SANDRA: How was your day?
 LARRY: OK.
SANDRA: What happened?
 LARRY* The usual.
SANDRA: What do you feel like doing this weekend?
LARRY. I don't care. What do you want to do?
 SANDRA: Do you want to invite our friends over?
LARRY: I don't know. Do you know where the TV schedule is?
 SANDRA: (upset) Why don't you talk to me?
 LARRY: (Stunned and silent.)
SANDRA: Do you love me?
LARRY: Of course I love you. I married you.
SANDRA: How could you love me? We never talk any more. How can you just sit there and say nothing. Don't you care? At this point, Larry would get up and go for a walk. When he came back he would act as though nothing had happened. Sandra would also act as though everything was fine, but inside she would withdraw her love and warmth. On the surface she would try to be loving, but on the inside her resentment increased. From time to time it would boil up and she would begin another one-sided interrogation of her husband's feelings. After twenty years of gathering evidence that he did not love her, she was no longer willing to be deprived of intimacy.

Ladies (28)

Men Are Like Rubber Bands Men are like rubber bands.

 When they pull away, they can stretch only so far before they come springing back. A rubber band is the perfect metaphor to understand the male intimacy cycle. This cycle involves getting close, pulling away, and then getting close again. Most women are surprised to realize that even when a man loves a woman, periodically he needs to pull away before he can get closer. Men instinctively feel this urge to pull away. It is not a decision or choice. It just happens. It is neither his fault nor her fault. It is a natural cycle. Women misinterpret a man's pulling away because generally a woman pulls away for different reasons. She pulls back when she doesn't trust him to understand her feelings, when she has been hurt and is afraid of being hurt again, or when he has done something wrong and disappointed her. Certainly a man may pull away for the same reasons, but he will also pull away even if she has done nothing wrong. He may love and trust her; and then suddenly he begins to pull away. Like a stretched rubber band, he will distance himself and then come back all on his own. A man pulls away to fulfill his need for independence or autonomy. When he has fully stretched away, then instantly he will come springing back. When he has fully separated, then suddenly he will feel his need for love and intimacy again. Automatically he will he more motivated to give his love and receive the love he needs. When a man springs back, he picks up the relationship at whatever degree of intimacy it was when he stretched away. He doesn't feel any need for a period of getting reacquainted again.

WHAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MEN
If understood, this male intimacy cycle enriches a relationship, but because it is misunderstood it creates unnecessary problems. Let's explore an example. Maggie was distressed, anxious, and confused. She and her boyfriend, Jeff, had been dating for six months. Everything had been so romantic. Then without any apparent reason he began to distance himself emotionally. Maggie could not understand why he had suddenly pulled away. She told me, "One minute he was so attentive, and then the next he didn't even want to talk to me. I have tried everything to get him back but it only seems to make matters worse. He seems so distant. I don't know what I did wrong. Am I so awful?" When Jeff pulled away, Maggie took it personally. This is a common reaction. She thought she had done something wrong and blamed herself. She wanted to make things "right again," but the more she tried to get close to Jeff the more he pulled away.
After taking my seminar Maggie was so relieved. Her anxiety and confusion immediately disappeared. Most important, she stopped blaming herself. She realized that when Jeff pulled away it was not her fault. In addition she learned why he was pulling away and how gracefully to deal with it. Months later at another seminar, Jeff thanked me for what Maggie had learned. He told me they were now engaged to be married. Maggie had discovered a secret that few
women know about men. Maggie realized that when she was trying to get close while Jeff was trying to pull away, she was actually preventing him from stretching his full distance and then springing back. By running after him, she was preventing him from ever feeling that he needed her and wanted to be with her. She realized that she had done this in every relationship. Unknowingly she had obstructed an important cycle. By trying to maintain intimacy she had prevented it. How a Man Is Suddenly Transformed If a man does not have the opportunity to pull away, he never gets a chance to feel his strong desire to be close. It is essential for women to understand that if they insist on continuous intimacy or "run after" their intimate male partner when he pulls away, then he will almost always be trying to escape and distance himself; he will never get a chance to feel his own passionate longing for love. In my seminars I demonstrate this with a big rubber band. Imagine that you are holding a rubber band. Now begin stretching your rubber band by pulling it to your right. This particular rubber band can stretch twelve inches. When the rubber band is stretched twelve inches there is nowhere left to go but back. And when it returns it has a lot of power and spring. Likewise, when a man has stretched away his full distance, he will return with a lot of power and spring. Once he pulls away to his limit, he begins to go through a transformation. His whole attitude begins to shift. This man who did not seem to care about or be interested in his partner (while he was pulling away) suddenly cannot live without her. He is now feeling again his need for intimacy. His power is back because his desire to love and be loved have been reawakened. This is generally puzzling for a woman because in her experience if she has pulled away, becoming intimate again requires a period of re-acquaintance. If she doesn't understand that men are different in this way, she may have a tendency to mistrust his sudden desire for intimacy and push him away. Men also need to understand this difference. When a man springs back, before a woman can open up again to him she generally wants and needs time and conversation to reconnect. This transition can be more graceful if a man understands a woman may need more time to regain the same level of intimacy-especially if she felt hurt when he pulled away. Without this understanding of differences, a man may become impatient because he is suddenly available to pick up the intimacy at whatever level of intensity it was when he pulled away and she is not. Why Men Pull Away Men begin to feel their need for autonomy and independence after they have fulfilled their need for intimacy. Automatically when he begins to pull away, she begins to panic. What she doesn't realize is that when he pulls away and fulfills his need for autonomy then suddenly he will want to be intimate again. A man automatically alternates between needing intimacy and autonomy.
For example, in the beginning of his relationship Jeff was strong and full of desire. His rubber band was fully stretched. He wanted to impress her, fulfill her, please her, and get close to her. As he succeeded she also wanted to get closer. As she opened her heart to him he got closer and
closer. When they achieved intimacy he felt wonderful. But after a brief period a change took place. Imagine what happens to the rubber band. The rubber band becomes limp. Its power and stretch are gone. There is no longer any movement. This is exactly what happens to a man's desire to get close after intimacy has been achieved. Even though this closeness is fulfilling to a man, he will inevitably begin to go through an inner shift. He will begin to feel the urge to pull away. Having temporarily fulfilled his hunger for intimacy, he now feels his hunger to be independent, to be on his own. Enough of this needing another person. He may feel he has become too dependent or may not know why he feels a need to pull away. Why Women Panic As Jeff instinctively pulls away without any explanation to Maggie (or to himself), Maggie reacts with fear. She panics and runs after him. She thinks she has done something wrong and has turned him off. She imagines he is expecting her to re-establish intimacy. She is afraid he will never come back. To make matters worse, she feels powerless to get him back because she doesn't know what she did to turn him off. She doesn't know that this is just a part of his intimacy cycle. When she asks him what's the matter, he doesn't have a clear answer, and so he resists talking about it. He just continues to distance her even more. Why Men and Women Doubt Their Love Without an understanding of this cycle it is easy to see how men and women begin to doubt their love. Without seeing how she was preventing Jeff from finding his passion, Maggie could easily assume that Jeff didn't love her. Without getting the chance to pull away, Jeff would lose touch with his desire and passion to be close. He could easily assume that he no longer loved Maggie. After learning to let Jeff have his distance or "space," Maggie discovered that he did come back. She practiced not running after him when he would withdraw and trusted that everything was OK. Each time he did come back. As her trust in this process grew, it became easier for her not to panic. When he pulled away she did not run after him or even think something was wrong. She accepted this part of Jeff. The more she just accepted him at those times the sooner he would return. As Jeff began to understand his changing feelings and needs, he became more confident in his love. He was able to make a commitment. The secret of Maggie and Jeffs success was that they understood and accepted that men are like rubber bands.

HOW WOMEN MISINTERPRET MEN
Without an understanding of how men are like rubber bands, it Is very easy for women to misinterpret a man's reactions. A common confusion arises when she says "Let's talk" and immediately he emotionally distances himself. Right when she wants to open up and get closer, he wants to pull away. Commonly I hear the complaint "Every time I want to talk, he pulls away. I feel like he doesn't care about me." She mistakenly concludes that he doesn't ever want
to talk to her. This rubber band analogy explains how a man may care very much about his partner but suddenly pull away. When he pulls away it is not because he does not want to talk. Instead, he needs some time alone; time to be with himself when he is not responsible for anyone else. It is a time for him to take care of himself. When he returns then he is available to talk. To a certain extent a man loses himself through connecting with his partner. By feeling her needs, problems, wants, and emotions he may lose touch with his own sense of self. Pulling away allows him to re-establish his personal boundaries and fulfill his need to feet autonomous. Some men, however, may describe this pulling away differently. To them it is just a feeling of "I need some space" or "I need to be alone." Regardless of how it is described, when a man pulls away, he is fulfilling a valid need to take care of himself for a while. Just as we do not decide to be hungry, a man does not decide to pull away. It is an instinctual urge. He can only get so close, and then he begins to lose himself. At this point he begins to feel his need for autonomy and begins to pull away. By understanding this process, women can begin correctly to interpret this pulling away. Why Men Pull Away When Women Get Close For many women, a man tends to pull away precisely at the time when she wants to talk and be intimate. This occurs for two reasons. 1. A woman will unconsciously sense when a man is pulling away and precisely at those times she will attempt to re-establish their intimate connection and say "Let's talk." As he continues to pull away, she mistakenly concludes that he doesn't want to talk or that he doesn't care for her. 2. When a woman opens up and shares deeper and more intimate feelings it may actually trigger a man's need to pull away. A man can only handle so much intimacy before his alarm bells go off, saying it is time to find balance by pulling away. At the most intimate moments a man may suddenly automatically switch to feeling his need for autonomy and pull away. It is very confusing for a woman when a man pulls away because something she says or does often triggers his departure. Generally when a woman starts to talk about thing with feeling a man starts to feel this urge to pull away. This is because feelings draw men closer and create intimacy, and when a man gets too dose he automatically pulls away. It is not that he doesn't want to hear her feelings. At another time in his intimacy cycle, when he is needing to get close, the same feelings that could have triggered his departure will draw him closer. It is not what she says that triggers his departure but when she says it.

Ladies (27)

MAKING LITTLE CHANGES

 One day I noticed that when my children asked me to do things I would always say "no problem." It was my way of saying I would be happy to do that. My stepdaughter Julie asked me one day, "Why do you always say 'no problem'?" I didn't actually know right away. After a while I realized that it was another of those deeply ingrained Martian habits. With this new awareness I started saying "I would be happy to do that." This phrase expressed my implied message and certainly felt more loving to my Venusian daughter.

 NOW TO COMMUNICATE WITHOUT BLAME
A man commonly feels attacked and blamed by a woman's feelings, especially when she is upset and talks about problems. Because he doesn't understand how we are different, he doesn't readily relate to her need to talk about all of her feelings. He mistakenly assumes she is telling him about her feelings because she thinks he is somehow responsible or to be blamed. Because she is upset and she is talking to him, he assumes she is upset with him. When she complains he hears blame. Many men don't understand the (Venusian) need to share upset feelings with the people they love. With practice and an awareness of our differences, women can learn how to express their feelings without having them sound like blaming. To reassure a man that he is not being blamed, when A woman expresses her feelings she could pause after a few minutes of sharing and tell him how much she appreciates him for listening. She could say some of the following comments: • "I'm sure glad I can talk about it." • "It sure feels good to talk about it." • "I'm feeling so relieved that I can talk about this." • "I'm sure glad I can complain about all this. It makes me feel so much better." • "Well, now that I've talked about it, I feel much better. Thank you." This simple change can make a world of difference.
In this same vein, as she describes her problems she can support him by appreciating the things he has done to make her life easier and more fulfilling. For example, if she is complaining about work, occasionally she could mention that it is so nice to have him in her life to come home to; if she is complaining about the house, then she could mention that she appreciates that he fixed the fence; or if she is complaining about finances, mention that she really
appreciates how hard he works; or if she is complaining about the frustrations of being a parent, she could mention that she is glad she has his help. Sharing Responsibility Good communication requires participation on both sides. A man needs to work at remembering that complaining about problems does not mean blaming and that when a woman complains she is generally just letting go of her frustrations by talking about them. A woman can work at letting him know that though she is complaining she also appreciates him. For example, my wife just came in and asked how I was doing on this chapter. I said, "I'm almost done. How was your day?" She said, "Oh, there is so much to do. We hardly have any time together." The old me would have become defensive and then reminded her of all the time we have spent together, or I would have told her how important it was to meet. my deadline. This would have just created tension. The new me, aware of our differences, understood she was looking for reassurance and understanding and not justifications and explanations. I said, "You're right, we have been really busy. Sit down here on my lap, let me give you a hug. It's been a long day." She then said, "You feel really good." This was the appreciation I needed in order to be more available to her. She then proceeded to complain more about her day and how exhausted she was. After a few minutes she paused. I then offered to drop off the babysitter so she could relax and meditate before dinner. She said, "Really, you'll take the babysitter home? That would be great. Thank you!" Again she gave me the appreciation and acceptance I needed to feel like a successful partner, even when she was tired and exhausted. Women don't think of giving appreciation because they assume a man knows how much she appreciates being heard. He doesn't know. When she is talking about problems, he needs to be reassured that he is still loved and appreciated. Men feel frustrated by problems unless they are doing something to solve them. By appreciating him, a woman can help him realize that just by listening he is also helping. A woman does not have to suppress her feelings or even change them to support her partner. She does, however, need to express them in a way that doesn't make him feel attacked, accused, or blamed. Making a few small changes can make a big difference. Four Magic Words of Support The four magic words to support a man are "It's not your fault." When a woman is expressing her upset feelings she can support a man by pausing occasionally to encourage him by saying "I really appreciate your listening, and if this sounds as if I'm saying it's your fault, that's not what I mean. It's not your fault." A woman can learn to be sensitive to her listener when she understands his tendency to start feeling like a failure when he hears a lot of problems.
Just the other day my sister called me and talked about a difficult experience that she was going through. As I listened I kept remembering that to support my sister I didn't have to give her any solutions. She needed someone just to listen. After ten minutes of just listening and occasionally saying things like "uh-huh," "oh," and "ready!" she then said, "Well, thank you, John. I feel so much better." It was much easier to hear her because I knew she was not blaming me. She was blaming someone else. I find it more difficult when my wife is unhappy because it is easier for me to feel blamed. However, when my wife encourages me to listen by appreciating me, it becomes much easier to be a good listener. What to Do When You Feel Like Blaming Reassuring a man that it is not his fault or that he is not being blamed works only as long as she truly is not blaming him, disapproving of him, or criticizing him. If she is attacking him, then she should share her feelings with someone else. She should wait until she is more loving and centered to talk to him. She could share her resentful feelings with someone she is not upset with, who will be able to give her the support she needs. Then when she feels more loving and forgiving she can successfully approach him to share her feelings. In chapter 11 we will explore in greater detail how to communicate difficult feelings. Now to Listen Without Blaming A man often blames a woman for being blaming when she is innocently talking about problems. This is very destructive to the relationship because it blocks communication. Imagine a woman saying "All we ever do is work, work, work. We don't have any fun anymore. You are so serious." A man could very easily feel she is blaming him. If he feels blamed, I suggest he not blame back and say "I feel like you are blaming me." Instead I suggest saying "It is difficult to hear you say I am so serious. Are you saying it is all my fault that we don't have more fun?" Or he could say "It hurts when I hear you say I am so serious and we don't have any fun. Are you saying that it is all my fault?" In addition, to improve the communication he can give her a way out. He could say "It feels like you are saying it is all my fault that we work so much. Is that true?" Or he could say "When you say we don't have any fun and that I am so serious, I feel like you are saying it is all my fault. Are you?" All of these responses are respectful and give her a chance to take back any blame that he might have felt. When she says "Oh, no, I'm not saying it's all your fault" he will probably feel somewhat relieved.
Another approach that I find most helpful is to remember that she always has a right to be upset and that once she gets it out, she will feel much better. This awareness allows me to relax and remember that if I can listen without taking it personally, then when she needs to
complain she will be so appreciative of me. Even if she was blaming me, she will not hold on to it. The Art of Listening As a man learns to listen and interpret a woman's feelings correctly, communication becomes easier. As with any art, listening requires practice. Each day when I get home, I will generally seek out Bonnie and ask her about her day, thus practicing this art of listening. If she is upset or has had a stressful day, at first I will feel that she is saying I am somehow responsible and thus to blame. My greatest challenge is to not take it personally, to not misunderstand her. I do this by constantly reminding myself that we speak different languages. As I continue to ask "What else happened?" I find that there are many other things bothering her. Gradually I start to see that I am not solely responsible for her upset. After a while, when she begins to appreciate me for listening, then, even if I was partially responsible for her discomfort, she becomes very grateful, accepting, and loving. Although listening is an important skill to practice, some days a man is too sensitive or stressed to translate the intended meaning of her phrases. At such times he should not even attempt to listen. Instead he could kindly say "This isn't a good time for me. Let's talk later." Sometimes a man doesn't realize that he can't listen until she begins talking. If he becomes very frustrated, while listening he should not try to continue-he'll just become increasingly upset. That does not serve him or her. Instead, the respectful thing to say is "I really want to hear what you are saving, but right now it is very difficult for me to listen. I think I need some time to think about what you have just said." As Bonnie and I have learned to communicate in a way that respects our differences and understand each other's needs, our marriage has become so much easier. I have witnessed this same transformation in thousands of individuals and couples. Relationships thrive when communication reflects a ready acceptance and respect of people's innate differences. When misunderstandings arise, remember that we speak different languages; take the time necessary to translate what your partner really means or wants to say. This definitely takes practice, but it is well worth it.

Ladies (25)

WHAT TO DO WHEN HE GOES INTO HIS CAVE

In my seminars when I explain about caves and dragons, women want to know how they can shorten the time men spend in their caves. At this point I ask the men to answer, and they generally say that the more women try to get them to talk or come out, the longer it takes. Another common comment by men is "It is hard to come out of the cave when I feel my mate disapproves of the time I spend in the cave." To make a man feel wrong for going into his cave has the effect of pushing him back into the cave even when he wants to come out. When a man goes into his cave he is generally wounded or stressed and is trying to solve his problem alone. To give him the support that a woman would want is counterproductive. There are basically six ways to support him when he goes into his cave. (Giving him this support will also shorten the time he needs to spend alone.) How to Support a Man in His Cave 1. Don't disapprove of his need for withdrawing.
2. Don't try to help him solve his problem by offering solutions. 3. Don't try to nurture him by asking questions about his feelings. 4. Don't sit next to the door of the cave and wait for him to come out. 5. Don't worry about him or feel sorry for him. 6. Do something that makes you happy. If you need to "talk," write him a letter to be read later when he is out, and if you need to be nurtured, talk to a friend. Don't make him the sole source of your fulfillment. A man wants his favorite Venusian to trust that be can handle what is bothering him. To be trusted that he can handle his problems is very important to his honor, pride, and self-esteem. Not worrying about him is difficult for her. Worrying for others is one way women express their love and caring. It is a way of showing love. For a woman, being happy when the person you love is upset just doesn't seem right. He certainly doesn't want her to be happy because he is upset, but he does want her to be happy. He wants her to be happy so that he has one less problem to worry about. In addition he wants her to be happy because it helps him to feel loved by her. When a woman is happy and free from worry, it is easier for him to come out. Ironically men show their love by not worrying. A man questions "How can you worry about someone whom you admire and trust?" Men commonly support one another by saying phrases such as "Don't worry, you can handle it" or "That's their problem, not yours" or "I'm sure it will work out." Men support one another by not worrying or minimizing their troubles. It took me years to understand that my wife actually wanted me to worry for her when she was upset. Without this awareness of our different needs, I would minimize the importance of her concerns. This only made her more upset. When a man goes into his cave he is generally trying to solve a problem. If his mate is happy or not needy at this time, then he has one less problem to solve before coming out. Knowing that she is happy with him also gives him more strength to deal with his problem while in the cave. Anything that distracts her or helps her to feel good will be helpful to him. These are some examples: Read a book Call a girlfriend for a good chat Listen to music Write in a journal Work in the garden Go shopping Exercise Pray or meditate Get a massage Go for a walk Have something delicious to eat Take a bubble bath Watch TV or a video See a therapist
The Martians also recommended that the Venusians do something enjoyable. It was hard to conceive of being happy when a friend was hurting, but the Venusians did find a way. Every time their favorite Martian went into his cave, they would go shopping or out on some other pleasing excursion. Venusians love to shop. My wife, Bonnie, sometimes uses this technique.
When she sees I am in my cave, she goes shopping. I never feel like I have to apologize for my Martian side. When she can take care of herself I feel OK taking care of myself and going into my cave. She trusts that I will come back and be more loving. She knows that when I go into my cave is not the right time to talk. When I begin showing signs of interest in her, she recognizes that I am coming out of the cave, and it is then a time to talk. Sometimes she will casually say, "When you feel like talking, I would like to spend some time together. Would you let me know when?" In this way she can test the waters without being pushy or demanding.

Ladies (23)

WHEN MARTIANS DON'T TALK

One of the big challenges for men is correctly to interpret and support a woman when she is talking about her feelings. The biggest challenge for women is correctly to interpret and support a man when he isn't talking. Silence is most easily misinterpreted by women. Quite often a man will suddenly stop communicating and become silent. This was unheard of on Venus. At first a woman thinks the man is deaf. She thinks that maybe he doesn't hear what's being said and that is why he is not responding. You see men and women think and process information very differently. Women think out loud, sharing their process of inner discovery with an interested listener. Even today, a woman often discovers what she wants to say through the process of just talking. This process of just letting thoughts flow freely and expressing them out loud helps her to tap into her intuition. This process is perfectly normal and especially necessary sometimes. But men process information very differently. Before they talk or respond, they first silently "mull over" or think about what they have heard or experienced. Internally and silently they figure out the most correct or useful response. They first formulate it inside and then express it. This process could take from minutes to hours. And to make matters even more confusing for women, if he does not have enough information to process an answer, a man may not respond at all. Women need to understand that when he is silent, he is saying "I don't know what to say yet, but I am thinking about it." Instead what they hear is "I am not responding to you because I don't care about you and I am going to ignore you. What you have said to me is not important and therefore I am not responding." Now She Reacts to His Silence Women misinterpret a man's silence. Depending on how she is feeling that day she may begin to imagine the very worst-"He hates me, he doesn't love me, he is leaving me forever." This may then trigger her deepest fear, which is "I am afraid that if he rejects me then I will never be loved. I don't deserve to be loved." When a man is silent it is easy for a woman to imagine the worst because the only times a woman would be silent are when what she had to say would be hurtful or when she didn't want to talk to a person because she didn't trust him anymore and wanted to have nothing to do with hirn. No wonder women become insecure when a man suddenly becomes quiet! When a woman listens to another woman, she will continue to reassure the speaker that she is listening and that she cares. Instinctively when the speaker pauses the female listener will reassure the speaker by making reassuring responses like "oh, uh-huh, hmmm, ah, ah-ha, or humph." Without these reassuring responses, a man's silence can be very threatening. Through understanding a man's cave, women can learn to interpret a man's silence correctly, and to respond to it.

Understanding the Cave
Women have a lot to learn about men before their relationships can be really fulfilling. They need to learn that when a man is upset or stressed he will automatically stop talking and go to his "cave" to work things out. They need to learn that no one is allowed in that cave, not even the man's best friends. This was the way it was on Mars. Women should not become scared that they have done something terribly wrong. They need gradually to learn that if you just let men go into their caves, after a while they will come out and everything will be fine. This lesson is difficult for women because on Venus one of the golden rules was never to abandon a friend when she was upset. It just doesn't seem loving to abandon her favorite Martian when he is upset. Because she cares for him, a woman wants to come into his cave and offer him help. In addition, she often mistakenly assumes that if she could ask him lots of questions about how he is feeling and he a good listener, then he would feel better. This only upsets Martians more. She instinctively wants to support him in the way that she would want to be supported. Her intentions are good, but the outcome is counterproductive. Both men and women need to stop offering the method of caring they would prefer and start to learn the different ways their partners think, feel, and react. Why Men Go Into Their Caves Men go into their caves or become quiet for a variety of reasons. 1. He needs to think about a problem and find a practical solution to the problem. 2. He doesn't have an answer to a question or a problem. Men were never taught to say "Gee, I don't have an answer. I need to go into my cave and find one." Other men assume he is doing just that when he becomes quiet. 3. He has become upset or stressed. At such times he needs to be alone to cool off and find his control again. He doesn't want to do or say anything he might regret. 4. He needs to find himself. This fourth reason becomes very important when men are in love. At times they begin to lose and forget themselves. They can feel that too much intimacy robs them of their power. They need to regulate how close they get. Whenever they get too close so as to lose themselves, alarm bells go off and they are on their way into the cave. As a result they are rejuvenated and find their loving and powerful self again. Why Women Talk Women talk for a variety of reasons. Sometimes women talk for the same reasons that men stop talking. These are four common reasons that women talk: 1. To convey or gather information. (This is generally the only reason a man talks.) 2. To explore and discover what it is she wants to say. (He stops talking to figure out inside what he wants to say. She talks to think out loud.) 3. To feel better and more centered when she is upset. (He stops talking when he is upset. In his cave he has a chance to cool off.)

4. To create intimacy. Through sharing her inner feelings she is able to know her loving self. (A Martian stops talking to find himself again. Too much intimacy, he fears, will rob him of himself.) Without this vital understanding of our differences and needs it is easy to see why couples struggle so much in relationships. Getting Burned by the Dragon It is important for women to understand not to try and get a man to talk before he is ready. While discussing this topic in one of my seminars. a Native American shared that in her tribe mothers would instruct young women getting married to remember that when a man was upset or stressed he would withdraw into his cave. She was not to take it personally because it would happen from time to time. It did not mean that he did not love her. They assured her that he would come back. But most important they warned the young woman never to follow him into his cave. If she did then she would get burned by the dragon who protected the cave. Much unnecessary conflict has resulted from a woman following a man into his cave. Women just haven't understood that men really do need to be alone or silent when they are upset. When a man withdraws into his cave a woman just doesn't understand what is happening. She naturally tries to get him to talk. If there is a problem she hopes to nurture him by drawing him out and getting him to talk about it. She asks "Is there something wrong?" He says "No." But she can feel he is upset. She wonders why he is withholding his feelings. Instead of letting him work it out inside his cave she unknowingly interrupts his internal process. She asks again "I know something is bothering you, what is it?" He says "It's nothing." She asks "It's not nothing. Something's bothering you. What are you feeling?" He says "Look, I'm fine. Now leave me alone!" She says "How can you treat me like this? You never talk to me anymore. How am I supposed to know what you are feeling? You don't love me. I feel so rejected by you." At this point he loses control and begins saying things that he will regret later. His dragon comes out and hums her.