If you have ever had the men/Mars-women/Venus conversation, you are about to be thrilled with this edition of Frank Relationships.
Janice Hoffman: www.janicehoffman.com
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FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: RELATIONSHIP RULES
Guests: Janice Hoffman
Date: April 21, 2014
Frank: If you’ve ever had the men Mars, women Venus conversation, you’re about to be thrilled over this edition of Frank Relationships.
Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look into relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at franklove.com. You can also download the podcast of this and other archive shows on iTunes or with your favorite podcast app.
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Today’s guest is going to show us how we can easily reduce our relationship stress levels. The secret? Understanding each other’s differences, why we think, behave and say the things we do. So let’s create some win-win relationships as we talk with the Director of The Mars Venus Institute and the author of Relationships Rules: 12 Strategies for Creating a Love That Lasts, Janice Hoffman. Good morning.
Janice: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
Frank: You bet.
Janice: A pleasure to be here.
Frank: Absolutely. Today’s guest is going to break it down. Why are men and women different?
Janice: Well, the age old question, are we really that different and the answer is, “yes.” We really are that different and really what makes us different is that we have a different value system and it’s tied into our self-esteem. And so, if I treat my partner the way I would treat my girlfriend, it’s not going to be good for his self-esteem, which is not going to be good for my self-esteem and ultimately that’s how it affects us.
Frank: And so–
Janice: And if we don’t feel good about ourselves, we’re not going to feel good in the relationship. We’re not going to behave appropriately.
Frank: Men value what?
Janice: Men value trust, acceptance and appreciation and it isn’t that women don’t value those things, they value other things more than those things.
Janice: So what women value is being cared for, being understood–her definition of understanding and being shown respect and I think we all agree respect is something that is kind of fading away from our society and culture, given that there was a lot of it 10, 20, 30 years ago.
People didn’t think that not showing up for an appointment or not calling or we didn’t have texting, but nobody would ever think to text somebody to break-up a relationship. And it’s just so different, so impersonal now, that we really, if we’re going to have healthy loving passionate relationships, we have to put in the time, just like we put the time into our house and our education and the things we enjoy.
Frank: Let’s play with that a little bit. So, 20, 30 years ago, not showing up for an appointment, I don’t know if that’s really the case, that people didn’t ignore appointments back then. And if they did, my recollection-and in fact, one of my beefs with many physicians and doctors is that-and I’ve just picked that out of the sky in terms of appointments, is that they often would run as late as they wanted to, but the patients wouldn’t. So, I’m just throwing that out there to see if we can chew on that a little.
Janice: Yeah, there’s a joke with you-which is *(inaudible) 05:27 between a God and a doctor, one know they’re not God, something like that. But so, it looks kind of hard example, but it really comes back to what we value because our emotional state is tied into that.
Frank: Uh-huh, and so when you talk about appointments and when you talk about respect, tell me a little bit more about why you think it’s remised today or missing today and why you think it was so much more present years ago.
Janice: If you go back to not only that long ago, someone’s handshake was good as a promise and as good as their word and their word was good. At least in my experience, it just isn’t the case anymore. People make appointments, we’ll use that example and if they don’t show up, “Oh well, I forgot,” or “I forgot to put it on the calendar,” or “I put it on the wrong day.” The inconvenience that it causes people isn’t acknowledged and it just seems like, 10, 20, 30 years ago, it was more of a big deal if someone didn’t show up when they said they were going to or call when they said they were going to and now it just seems like it just gets kind of brushed under the table like it’s not that big of a deal. It’s not that big of a deal to keep your word, it’s not that big of a deal to keep your promises, that your handshake doesn’t mean something or your word doesn’t mean something.
It’s just seems to be going out the window and because women have been in the workforce and we have all this equality, women have, unfortunately, taken on some of the worst qualities of men, like aggressiveness and more women are incarcerated for violent crimes than ever before in history. Women initiate relationships, they initiate sex and they want what they want when they want it and we’ve kind of switched roles without changing genders.
Here we have these gender differences that are hard and fast, at least for the most part and then we switched up the roles. Men get massages, they shave their chest, they stay home with the babies. Men have taken on some of the best qualities of women and so people don’t know what their roles are in a relationship.
It used to be that mom knew what her role was, is take care of the house, take care of the kids and she didn’t work. She knew what her job was and he knew what his job was, to protect the family, procreate and provide for his family.
Janice: Everybody knew what their job was. Now you have dads staying home while mom goes to work or maybe they both work, but she makes more money and maybe they weren’t thinking about having kids and low and behold, they do, so they never really decided who’s going to stay home with the kids, if they’re both going to work or if one was going to- it’s so many things discuss that you’re very important, because we just have gone on hormones.
Frank: Is the result, ultimately a negative one that has come from these changes that you’ve mentioned?
Janice: It builds up: one infraction, one missed appointment, one missed call, we can let people off the hook or we can make an excuse for them or whatever, but it adds up over a period of time, it feels like a lack of respect, let’s say. And if somebody doesn’t show up, what it feels like, it must not be very important to you, because this keep happening. You’re not making it a priority. I’m not asking you to come early, I’m asking you to just be on time or just to do what you said you would do. I’m not asking you for more than that and so it seems to me that respect is not as prevalent as it used to be, it’s not as important as it used to be and yet we still want it.
In a love relationship if a man shows a woman respect, it makes her feel more special than every other woman in the room and that’s what’s going to grow attraction. Mutual attraction between the two of them and a man doesn’t do things to let her know she’s special, even though she’s attracted to him, it’s going to fade away, because he’s not doing the things to maintain it.
Frank: And what’s the other side of that for her?
Janice: Well, for the other side of that for her is, she has to help him maintain the attraction to her, by doing things-
Frank: And how does she do that?
Janice: Well, by going twice essentially and doing things that are going to feel his emotional tank. So understanding, “Well, what kinds of things does he want in his tank,” and that’s where it gets back to trust and understanding and appreciation.
The appreciation example is, if you go to work-most people work and they don’t go to work just for the pure joy of being there, they go there because it’s the end of the week, they’re going to get a paycheck for all their hard work, all their effort. Well, a man goes home in the relationship and puts in far more than 40 hours and what does he get out of the relationship, not a paycheck, we wants to be appreciated for his efforts, wants to know that what he does matters to somebody and it doesn’t, he’s just working to take care of the house or the family and all that for nothing. He wants to know that he’s being appreciated for his efforts.
And so if she doesn’t let him know, “I really appreciate this, you come home on time from work and I really appreciate you help me with the kids or really appreciate that you put them in a bed so that I can have a little alone time for myself, because I’ve been with them all day.” Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be, “I really appreciate you bought me a house,” because it could be just the little things like, “Thank you for taking out the trash early. I don’t like that job, I hate it and it’s one less thing I have to think about, because I know that you’re going to take care of it.”
Frank: And what happens when you begin to fall into areas where you don’t like what your partner’s doing. Every relationship has them, but how do you manage those?
Janice: Can you give me an example, because there’s many thing somebody could not like.
Frank: Right. So, you said you said that she might appreciate him for coming straight home after work. I assume instead of stopping at the local pub, what if–
Janice: Showing up whatever, yeah.
Frank: What if he did stop at the local pub and she didn’t like it, how do you suggest couples manage situations and scenarios like that?
Janice: You go to your partner and say, “There’s something I need to talk to you about, when would be a good time for you?” Right there you’re showing respect.
Frank: I agree.
Janice: Instead of saying-exactly. Whenever I call any body, especially if it’s business, the first thing I always say to them after, “Hello,” is “Is this a good time for you,” because-and that’s a mutually beneficial question, because if I have really good news and I call my partner and say, “Guess what? I’m going to be on the Frank Relationship Show,” and he’s like, “You know I have a client here right now, I can’t talk, ” all the windows come blowing out, I just like deflated.
Frank: I like that.
Janice: So if I say, “I have some really good news that I want to share with you, is this a good time,” and he says, “No, but in 15 minutes, my client will be gone and I can give you my full attention.” I’m happy to wait 15 minutes, because I’m going to have his full attention.
Janice: And so then you make and appointment to talk and you say, “You know, I’m with the kids all day-” and you have to take ownership, if you’re asking some body to do something or it’s going to come across in a way that they’re going to think that they’re being blamed for something, even a smidgen of being blamed, they’re going to get defensive and all they’re going to think about is how they’re going to respond. That’s what people do when they get defensive. “How am I going to respond to this? My defenses are up.”
So, if you really want to communicate with somebody and you really want them to hear what you have to say, take ownership. You say, “You know what? I’m with the kids all day or I worked hard all day and the truth is, I really look forward to seeing you at the end of the day. I look forward to you walking in the door and seeing your face and having you rejoin the family and when you go to the bar, it makes me feel like the bar is more important than us.” And so, you take the-the point of all that is, is you pick a time that’s where you going to have your partner’s full attention, you show them respect by asking and then you say, “You know-” I mean, because the truth is, that I don’t hate that you go to the bar, I hate that you’re not with me.
Frank: And in scenarios of that nature, is he left to make the best decision that he can without being beat up on or if you come to him so-and I guess I mean softly–
Janice: Yeah, let’s say he says, “You know, I really need that down time and I like seeing my friends, and now you have a stalemate.” She doesn’t want him to go and he likes to go once in awhile and they negotiate something that will work for both of them. “Well, how about if you just go one night a week, would that work for you?” And he says, “That would work for me,” because let’s say he’s going two nights a week or three nights a week and so they make an agreement to let her know what night that’s going to be, it maybe changes from week-to-week, maybe it’s the same night every week and so now she can make adjustments, because she knows what night he’s not going to be there. Maybe she even gets *(inaudible) 15:00, maybe she even goes out, but the thing about showing respect to women is, if you let me know-women say this all the time, if you just let me know, this is not needy. I don’t need to know when you’re going to take me out, because I’m needy, I need to know so I can plan my time.
And so, if you let me know what night of the week you’re going to go hang out at the pub and see your friends, then that frees me up to know that you’re not going to come home and plan accordingly and that is a sign of respect. That’s one way you can show respect that women really crave.
Frank: That seems a little altruistic, because sometimes women or people want you to do what they want you to do and it’s often the case, so she says, “I don’t want you going to the pub and its not so much about you letting me know when you’re going to go or when you’re not going to be home, it’s that I don’t want you doing that. I want you here with me,” and it’s not always said lovingly. “I want your butt in the house, come home from work, get in the house, I’ve been in here with all these kids all day.” How does he deal?
Janice: Well, you really hit on it. When you don’t speak lovingly, it’s very hard to get what you want from somebody. If I’m not speaking lovingly and I’m asking you to not do a behavior, pretty much you do a behavior, how motivated are you going to be. You’re going to call it out. [Made wrong–] 16:30
Frank: And did.
Janice: And I’m asking you to do something and then maybe you’re even thinking, “Yeah well, even if I do what you want, you’re going to find something wrong with it, so why put effort into it?” One of the things we women have to do and this is like such a kind of an issue for me right now is, we have to stop de-motivating them. Men are getting de-motivated in terms of wanting to do nice things for us, because they do a nice thing for us and it wasn’t good enough or they bought us flowers and they weren’t the right kind of flowers or they took us out, but they didn’t take us to where we wanted to go. Holy, you just have to reel that one back and help the guy out.
Frank: Here, here, that’s right. Help a guy out.
Janice: Men aren’t mind readers and I teach a class based on the four agreements book and one of the grievances is don’t make assumptions. Don’t assume he knows you so well that he knows what you want, when you want it and how you want it, because he doesn’t. He knows you so well, he’s not a mind reader and women tend to think that, “If you know me and you know what I like and you know what I don’t like and I told you what I like and what I don’t like and you still do what I don’t like then I must think the only reason you’re doing it, is to make me mad, to irritate me. So, now I’m going to get back at you. I’m going to show you what it feels like to be irritated.” That’s not healthy for a relationship, but certainly doesn’t grow passion.
Frank: You’ve got a significant history with John Gray, who’s the author of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Would you tell me about it?
Janice: I always say it was God calling, because in 1993, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus came out and it was a huge hit. People that weren’t around back in 1993 and the years following that, don’t understand what a big deal, Men are from Mars was. We’ve never seen anything like it since then.
Janice: And I was teaching a support group based on a course in miracles. I was also trained by another author and taught a support group on attititude or healing, which is very tied into the course of miracles and I also had a meditation group. I have my own little recipe for meditation that people seem to really like and I taught meditation for actually 13 years. I have my own group. And so, when Men are from Mars came out, I thought, “This will be great. I’ll start a Mars, Venus support group.” I called the number in the back of the book, told them my idea and they said, “Oh we don’t have anything like that right now and thanks for calling and have a nice day.”
I really didn’t think anything of it after the call and two and a half years later, my phone rang and it was his office-John Gray’s office calling and woman asked me if I would like to be trained by John Gray to teach the eight-hour workshop that he was teaching every single Saturday all across the country. Because he was so popular and because it was an eight-hour workshop, he could only teach on Saturday *(inaudible) 19:31 and I just jumped at the opportunity of course, and went out to train. It was in Arizona and I fell in love with his staff, I fell in love with the materials, I fell in love with John and I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Frank: And what was your motivation behind writing Relationship Rules?
Janice: Having become the trainer directly in the Mars Venus Institute, John really-he didn’t shut the company down completely, but it’s not the thriving business it was back then, but we trained over 500 facilitators nationwide and overseas and then we started training counselors to teach them the Mars Venus workshops through their therapy and their clients. And so, I started speaking on the Mars Venus material, first just to get people enrolled in workshops and then speaking on the material itself and I learned in speaking about the material, that there were things I could say or there were ideas I had come up with that John Gray hadn’t come up with, where he couldn’t say, because he was a man, in talking about–
Frank: Oh, boy.
Janice: A woman’s monthly cycle, he had to be really, really careful what he said. I can be a little bit, more blunt than that, because I’m a woman.
Frank: And what do you have to say about that?
Janice: It’s a drag and God is a man, because he wouldn’t have created that if he was a woman. That’s what I’m saying.
Janice: You know, it’s a drag.
Frank: But I’m sure you have to tell other women that. I’m sure there’s something-
Frank: What’s your message to women when you’re talking about your monthly cycle, if there is a message?
Janice: There is a message, because in some cultures, it’s actually a time when a woman is cared for and they actually go away from the family and they go to a place where they’re cared for by other women and it’s honored. It isn’t like, “Oh, you’re on the rag” or “You can’t have sex, because you’re bleeding.” Nobody will ever say those things in those cultures. I think that we should respect our bodies and honor the fact that we have the ability to reproduce and that’s the means-
Frank: How does that tie into relationships?
Janice: Because if you’re wanting to have sex with someone on the cycle or if-if I think everybody knows you’re, people are moody-women are moody or there are things bothering them more during that time of the month of being understanding of that, really. It’s not something we choose. We certainly don’t choose menopause. That’s like almost like, really? After all those years, you’re going to slap me in the face with menopause?
Frank: We all have our road to hoe don’t we? Men–
Janice: I believe men have their own menopause.
Frank: Okay, we get a little bit of credit. We get some empathy.
Janice: Oh, yeah.
Frank: Okay, I appreciate it. You mentioned the course in miracles. I was reading some of it and it’s quite a volume, sometime ago and talking about guilt. And guilt is one of those things that come up in relationships all the time. What’s your understanding of guilt and what do you say about using it the way we wheeled it off in our partners in relationships?
Janice: There’s complaints the men have about women is that they play games. They don’t just come out and ask what they want, because men do and they don’t understand why women can’t be more like them and just be direct and so, people use guilt to get what they want. Whatever means are using, isn’t working, so they’re resorting to guilt.
Frank: And you say that’s a good thing, a bad thing indifferent, what?
Janice: I don’t. That’s a horrible way to communicate.
Janice: If I feel like you’re not keeping up your half of the housework and I’m being very logical about it and saying, “Well, the house is half yours, it’s not all my house, you should do half the housework. That’s a very reasonable and fair,” then you’re looking at it from a totally different point of view and laying some guilt on somebody because they didn’t keep up their half of the bargain.
Sometimes when people are making somebody else feel guilty, it’s because they think that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do when the other person didn’t know what was being expected of them. Having the expectations with somebody and not communicating that expectations and making then wrong when they don’t do what you wanted them to do, we’re not mind readers.
Janice: We can’t know what you want, unless you communicate that to me. In a romantic relationship it’s not romantic to not communicate what I want. If I say, “You know, what I want you to do tonight is take me out to this kind of restaurant,” and spell it all out for you, then it feels like you’re just following instructions, trying to say out of the doghouse, but it’s not romantic, because you didn’t think of it yourself.
Frank: I’ve got a–
Janice: We use guilt that way to try and get what we want and it really, backfires in the end. I really believe it does.
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You’re listening to Frank Relationships; we’re talking with Janice Hoffman, Director of The Mars Venus Institute and the author of Relationships Rules: 12 Strategies for Creating a Love That Lasts. She’s taken all that she’s learned from the Mars Venus Institute and condensed it into 12 easy to use strategies. Janice, how can we find you and your book?
Janice: Your listeners can find me at janicehoffman.com and they can sign up for my relationship tips. They can visit my blog. It has lots of interesting articles and lots of helpful information and they can order my book or my ebook on Relationships Rules: 12 Strategies for Creating a Love That Lasts. They can certainly email me with any questions they have at email@example.com
Frank: Janice@janicehoffman.com. Got it. What are the 12 rules?
Janice: It’s hard to put them into 12, because it seems like there are so many, and I didn’t want to do the obvious ones like, communicate, listen. I wanted to be more specific than that. The very first one is, “Help your partner be successful in making you happy,” and it’s kind of odd thought to think that you have to help your partner be successful in making you happy, but that’s what it takes. Like we said before, none of us are mind readers and so if I’m going to give you what you want, you have to tell me what you want.
It’s not romantic if I say, what I want for my birthday is, “I want a new coat” or “I want a pair of earrings” or “I want to go out to dinner” and then you do that that just feels like you’re following instructions.
Janice: So how can I make you help me be happy? How can I help you be more successful? One of the ways I can help you is I can create a wish list, which I recommend to women all the time. Create a wish list-
Frank: A place he can reference just if he decides he wants to do something nice for you, he can just go check it out?
Janice: Yeah, I have a wish list. It starts with incense, less than a dollar, ends with diamonds as big as you want and everything in between. So, whatever your price range is, there’s all kinds of things and I keep it current and when my partner wants to buy me something, he doesn’t have to come to me and say, “What do you want for your anniversary? What do you want for Christmas? What do you want for your birthday,” because he can go right to the list and then it feels romantic, because I didn’t have to give him instructions.
Frank: I like that.
Janice: That’s one way you can help your partner-yeah.
Frank: Number two?
Janice: The second one is and it seems obvious, but it’s, “Listen without interrupting,” and it’s like, “Okay I know to listen without interrupting,” but there’s a real gold nugget in listening without interrupting, especially if you decide ahead of time.
Say your partner comes to you and says, “I need to talk to you.” So, you decide ahead of time, “I’m just going to listen to what she had to say? I’m not going to interrupt her, I’m not going to try to fix her, I’m just going to listen, because I really want to know, what she has to say.”
She says, my car’s not working, blah, di blah, blah and you just listen and then she says, “Well, I was supposed to pick up the kids from school today and I totally spaced it out, and one of the other mothers called,” and you keep listening and what happens is, the more you listen, the more you give her eye contact, let her know that you’re listening, not just stare away or do whatever, when she knows you’re listening, then what happens is, there’s layers of feeling safe and with each layer of feeling safe comes more information.
When you get to about the fourth and fifth layer, she’ll tell you something that she would never, ever tell you and you would never maybe even know, if it wasn’t the fact that you made a decision just to listen and created those levels of safety to where she can tell you something that the only reason she can tell you this, because she feels so safe and the only reason she feels so safe, is because you created that.
Janice: So, really, it’s a win-win for both of you. You get to learn something new about your partner, you would never know any other way and your partner has the beautiful gift at feeling heard, because I think people-men and women, children, everybody, I think people are so needing it. The sort of people that don’t feel heard in the world, they don’t feel their message is heard, they feel invisible, they feel like they don’t matter and it’s so important, because people have a voice and listen to what they have to say, whether you agree with it or you disagree with it or it makes you mad, it’s not your story, it’s their story. Just give them the respect and show them that you care by listening to what they have to say and not trying to fix them and see what happens. See what you learn about that person.
Frank: Number three?
Janice: The third rule is, “Help your partner relieve stress,” and I think everybody has stress in their lives-some days more than others and it’s the stress that can actually put distance between our partner and ourselves, if we don’t know how to help them relieve stress and they don’t know how to help us relieve stress. And without recognizing that we’re different, we can think that men-as a woman, men process stress the same way that women or I do and I mean, it’s completely the opposite.
Men don’t have the need to talk about what’s bothering them to relieve stress and if I don’t know that you have a different value system, then I’m going to think that you need to talk about what’s bothering you. If you have a bad day and you come home and I say, “How was your day,” and you said, “I’ve had better days than today” and I say, “What happened?” You say, “You know, it was just a tough day at work,” and I say, “Well, was it your boss, was it somebody at work? Was it-”
Frank: “Leave me alone and let me think.”
Janice: Exactly, by the third question its like, “What’s with the interrogation,” right?
Janice: “I had a bad day, I don’t want to relive it,” because there’s nothing that in reliving the day for a man that’s going to relieve his stress. It’s going to make him feel more stressed out to have to relive what stressed him out in the first place.
It’s exact opposite is true for women. If I talk about what’s bothering me, that’s how I let it go. The words past through my lips through a listening ear, a kind and compassionate, empathic listening ear and then I let it go without understanding that men women want to relieve stress differently, we can actually push our partner away, thinking, asking a lot of questions, because in my world and on Venus, asking a lot of questions is a sign of caring.
If I’m with my girlfriend and she says, “I’ve had a really bad day at work and everything went wrong and I say, “Well, check out this recipe I just tried.” She’s going to say, in her mind, if not out loud, “Did you not hear what I said?”
Janice: “I just said, I had a bad day and you just acted like it didn’t even happen,” and that’s where the trust comes in for men. I trust you that if you had a bad day, but you know how to self-craft. I don’t need to ask you a bunch of questions and be your mommy for the next half hour. I trust that you can get this handled.
Frank: And I trust-
Janice: And you know what a man’s saying, “Yeah.”
Frank: Well, it’s also trust that–
Janice: “That’s right I can get it done, because I’m the ‘can do’ guy.”
Frank: Right, it also is, “I trust that you will-” from a woman’s prospective, relate it to a man, she can trust that if he wanted her opinion, he would ask for it or if he wanted her to help him come up with a solution, he would ask for it, about his problem.
Janice: Right, except for she just unwillingly will offer unsolicited advice, because she loves him and wants to be helpful.
Janice: She doesn’t understand that the unsolicited advice actually is a negative towards his self-esteem, because it’s like saying, “I don’t trust you to be able to get this problem solved.”
Frank: What’s interesting about the points that you’ve given, the three points that you’ve given thus far is you talk pretty much down the line between the men and the women dynamic. It’s doesn’t sound like one is all male and the other is all female or that any of them are all one or the other. I appreciate that. What’s–
Janice: We all want to be loved. We all want to be loved. We all want to give love, but how you give love and how I give love, one of us takes a dirt road and one of us takes a paved road. One of us takes a bus, one of us takes a plane. It’s the vehicle we take, because we all wanting to go to the same destination, but how we do it is very different and without understanding our differences, you can misinterpret somebody’s behavior and have it end up being a real negative or a problem in a relationship. Let’s say every time I talk about my partner about money, it turns into an argument. I learned real early on don’t talk about money if you don’t want to argue.
Then that becomes this kind of “no-go zone” that we can’t talk about money without getting into an argument and that puts distance between us. Then, after awhile we can’t talk about sex without having an argument. That just always leads to an argument and that puts distance between us.
Well, we can’t talk about the kids without having an argument, so now that puts distance between us. You have enough “no-go zones” that create distance, what do you have in the relationship that brings you close together, because there’s all of these things you can’t talk about.
Frank: How do you identify those pieces that bring you close together when you know exactly what you can’t talk about? What do you do? Are there some exercises or some thought patterns or processes that you suggest?
Janice: Yeah, and there’s definitely processes and techniques that people can learn. And I say all the time, you know, we’re just not taught this. None of us want to be uncooperative, none of us want to be mean, none of us want to be un-thoughtful or not caring or not showing love. A lot of things we do, we’re just kind of unconsciously doing them, because no one taught us these things are important and nobody teaches the value of listening. Nobody teaches the value-help your partner be successful in making you happy. Don’t make him jump through hoops to make you happy, because it’s exhausting.
Janice: If I’m always trying to figure out what’s going to make you happy and it changes day to day, because it’s also a woman, because we have this thing called hormones and so day to day what we want changes. I have the formula in the book.
Women at any given day, at any given time, a woman will take what a man does, says and gives, add it all together and then that’s how he feels about her in that particular moment, which is always changing, which is why we’re always reevaluating the formula.
Frank: How do you suggest a man deal with that in a very practical manner?
Janice: He can just ask her, “What do you want?” And let’s say, getting back to the example, she wants him to come home straight from work and he really wants to go hang with his friends at the pub and they’re at a stalemate and this is a real typical thing therapists will do is, they’re ask you to come up with the three things you want.
You don’t want them to go to the pub at all and he wants to go to the pub, so we’re at a stalemate. What are the three things that you want? “I really want him to come home from work and not go to the pub or I really want him to–I could handle him going to the pub one day a week or I would like him to take me when he goes.” You give them three options, don’t go at all or go one day a week or take me with you and then he says, “Well, I really need to go,” so he gives back his three options and then each one picks one from the three.
It isn’t like, I get everything I want and you get everything you want or you get nothing of what you want. It’s, I’m going to get some of what I want and you’re going to get some of what you want. We don’t live in a perfect world and the point of that is, when you start getting what you want, even if it’s only one out of three, it’s better than zero.
Janice: And when you’re getting what you want you feel loved and you’re more willing to be appreciative, you’re more willing to be understanding, you’re more willing to be thoughtful, you’re motivated to be those things, because you’re getting what you want.
We each have like a love tank and if our love tank is empty, it’ very difficult of us to give love. You know that saying, “You can’t give what you don’t have,” and just like a car runs out of gasoline, even our bodies, we have to put food in our bodies for it to run. It doesn’t just run on air. We have to put energy into our relationships, so it has something to run on, we have something to run on. And that’s where it gets back to what we value. The caring, the understanding and the respect that women value and when our love tank is full of those things, we have all this love to give.
Frank: That sounds like something our friend Dr. Gary Chapman might say.
Janice: It’s actually something John Gray said. He claimed the whole love tank thing.
Janice: But it’s so true, I mean even if you take the example of a happy woman has sex with an unhappy man, it doesn’t matter who’s happy or who’s unhappy, but just for example, the happy woman will be unhappy after sex and the unhappy man will be happy after sex, because they’ve acknowledged that they exchanged fluid, but they exchanged energy. He gets the benefit of her great mood and energy and she feels depleted after sex and has no clue why, because she took on his energy when they had sex and became one. They take on each other’s energy.
Frank: There are 12 rules, you’ve given us three. Is there one that’s most important and if it is, has it been one of the three that you’ve given or is there another one?
Janice: You know, I think they’re all equally important, but the one that men especially have told me that they love is number 10, which is, “Take responsibility for your own happiness,” and I think this comes from this kind of unspoken agreement that we make when we start dating somebody or get married. Because, let’s say I’m single and I know that I’m a hundred percent responsible for my own happiness. If I’m going to do something, if I’m unhappy or if I want to be around people, whatever it is, I know I am 100 percent responsible for that.
And then, I enter into a relationship, I meet somebody, we fall in love and he says, “I’m here for you and I want to make you happy,” and he starts doing all these things to make me happy and as if unconsciously we’ve made this agreement that I’m going now relinquish some of the responsibility of my happiness over to you and somehow you’ve agreed to take on the responsibility of my happiness. And how that shows up is, have got something planned, you do something that makes me upset and you don’t come through and I think to myself, “It must be his fault, because before I was in a relationship with this man, I was happy and now I’m in a relationship with him and I’m unhappy. So therefore, it must be his fault.” He did it all the time.
Frank: That is a homerun right there and do you irritate women by telling them-by sharing this little secret with them?
Janice: They haven’t told me I’ve irritated them. I’m sure I’ve irritated some women, because sometimes you don’t want to hear the truth and sometimes it’s hard to hear-for whatever reason.
What I found with women is, they don’t want to give up the idea that “If you know me and you love me, you will know what I want.” They really don’t want to let it go and I’m not saying let it go. I’m saying, “Help a guy out.”
Frank: I’m saying that too.
Janice: Think about it. He goes to work all week long and does whatever it takes to bring home the paycheck and have a good job and gets loaded and all that kind of stuff and then he’s suppose to come home and be a mind reader. I’m not trying to take men’s side, but if you went and put in 40-plus hours a week and then you were expected to read minds, that might be a lot of pressure. So, help a guy out.
Frank: What do women complain the most about?
Janice: That men don’t listen. There’s this new–have you heard this joke, “What do you get when you cross a man and a baby? A maybe,” and the reason it’s funny, because what’s the definition of man or something about showing up, the reason it’s funny is because of the irony, which comes back to the beginning of our conversation about just doing what you say you’ll do and how much that’s changed over the years.
Frank: And what’s the biggest complaint that men have about women?
Janice: It’s kind of changed. Men think that women play games big time and they don’t understand why they don’t ask for what they want. The other thing that I’ve noticed about men is, not so much a complaint, but they’re withholding love and the reason they’re withholding love-they’ll think of doing something nice for their partner and then they’ll think, “The last time I brought her flowers, I got the wrong kind of flowers,” and maybe he’s refilling flowers on the corner, so he doesn’t have a choice of what kind of flowers he gets her and he’s thinking about her and he wants to do something nice or romantic and then a thought comes into his head, “Well, I’m going to get raked over the coals for bring home the wrong flowers,” so he doesn’t do anything.
Frank: Sounds like a downward spiral.
Janice: It kind of is. We do not want to teach men ever, ever, ever, ever, ever to withhold-we don’t want to teach anybody to withhold love and if men are withholding love for fear of being judged or being criticized then that isn’t just withholding love, they’re pulling away in other ways that maybe aren’t as obvious.
That doesn’t create passion, that doesn’t grow a loving relationship. And so, what I tell women, if they do something and it looks like they’re trying to do something nice for you, but in your eyes it didn’t come through the way you wanted them to.
Frank: Jump for joy.
Janice: Then just enjoy it. Enjoy the fact that he bought you flowers. Forget the fact that they’re the wrong kind, that you don’t like that kind of flower. He went through the effort, he thought of you, he decided where to go to buy the flowers, he drove there, he got out of the car, he went inside, picked them out, he paid for them, the lady wrapped them up real nice and they put a little card in there, got back in the car, came home, figured out the best time to give them to you. A lot of effort goes into that and we sometimes will unless we’re educated and told.
I have a teen day program called *(inaudible) 45:13 and one of the things I tell the girls in the class is, “Do you know how much effort it goes into approaching you for the first time?”
Janice: Because women think, “If you want a piece of this, just come over and ask for it. You want to get to know me, just come over and say, ‘I want to get to know you.'” Well hello, it is not that easy.
Frank: Come to me.
Janice: First of all, women don’t travel alone most of the time. They’re with their friends, so he has to wait for a time that you’re not with your girlfriends, he’s not going to go over there in a shark-fested women and say the wrong thing, so he wants to wait until you’re alone. He has to wait for your girlfriends to leave and he has to figure out what to say to not sound too corny, too sleazy, too whatever, right. You know.
He’s got the perfect phase, the perfect question and timing has to be just right and so there’s all this effort that goes into approaching a woman for the first time, that women just have no idea how much-I say to men all the time, how many [men went through this] 46:10 and all the hands go up. How many men in the room have wanted to talk to a woman or introduce yourself to a woman and everything just ne-things just never lined up and it was a missed opportunity? Everybody, because you just don’t walk up to somebody, just because you think they’re attractive. You wait for the right moment, you try and say the right thing and so there’s a lot that goes into it.
And when women have a greater understanding of what men do, think say, motivates them, what challenges they have and you understand where they’re coming from and why they behave the way they do, then when they do something that you don’t like or upset you, it’s a lot easier to just let it go, because you understand.
Frank: Yeah. You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with Janice Hoffman, Director of The Mars Venus Institute and author of Relationships Rule:, 12 Strategies for Creating a Love That Lasts. She’s taken all that she’s learned from the Mars Venus and condensed it into 12 easy-to-use strategies. Janice, how can I find you and your book?
Janice: You can find me on janicehoffman.com and it’s just janicehoffman.com, no www in front of it and also you can find my book on Amazon and on Kindle and any Barnes and Noble and feel free to sign up for my relationship tips so we can stay in touch. I have lots of really good information on my blog, they can learn a lot about the differences between men and women, just by reading some of those blog entries.
Frank: The promotional code for the Asli Pure gift pack is softskin, one word, no spaces, all lower case. That’s “softskin.” Visit us at franklove.com and enter to win this week’s gift pack of Asli Pure Skin Care products.
Janice, what’s your take away message?
Janice: My take-away message is, I would encourage everybody listening today, just do one thing for their relationship and whether it’s something they heard or talking about something that they normally do or like to do, just take the time to make your relationship a priority just like you make getting enough fluids and drinking water everyday a priority, just like you eat nutritional food and you exercise and you practice kindness to other people, practice being thoughtful just for today with your partner and it doesn’t mean you have to go pull the moon out of the sky and deliver it on a silver platter. Just do one nice little thing.
In my book one of the rules is, everyday do something for your relationship even if it’s just a compliment. “You look nice today,” or “I like the way your hair looks,” or “Did you get a hair cut,” or “How can I help you? If everyday you said to your partner, once a day, a different time everyday, don’t mix it in at the same time, “How can I help you?” Just that question alone produces the hormones that make us feel good about ourselves and most people when you say, “How can I help you,” they don’t take you up on it, just the fact that you asked is a huge stress reliever, that somebody cares and notices that we possibly we need help.
Janice: It’s amazing.
Frank: You’ve been listening to Frank Relationships, we’ve been talking with Janice Hoffman, Director of The Mars Venus Institute and author of Relationships Rules: 12 Strategies for Creating a Love That Lasts. She’s taken all that she’s learned from the Mars Venus Institute and condensed it into 12 easy-to-use strategies. Last time Janice, tell me please, how to find you and your book?
Janice: You can find me at janicehoffman.com on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble. If they order my book off my website, they can get an autographed copy and autographed just the way you like it and it’s the same price. And this is quickly, so I encourage them to do that.
Frank: Okay. Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed what men and women want, The 12 relationship rules and respect.
I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had learning about the rules of relationships. As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that’ll help you create a relationship that’s as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter @mrfranklove or franklove.com.
On behalf of my producer, Phileta Legette, and my engineer, Jeff Newman, keep rising. This is Frank Love.
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