If men knew the basics, then couples would be happier, and lawyers would have to concentrate on real estate. —Dr. David Lake, www.eftdownunder.com
I admit to often making jokes about “testosterone poisoning” when explaining male behavior. There is no doubt that our drives and our needs are strong and often primitively simple. Of course, on one level we know that. And on another, it is extremely helpful to be bopped upside the head with some humor and directness about what it takes to be successful in relationship.
I met David Lake in person at the Carol Look and Steve Wells seminar. When you meet someone who exudes the qualities of acceptance and presence we all want in a friend, it is such a blessing. It took no time for me to decide to purchase his manual She’ll Be Right: When Men Aren’t Getting It. Within the first few paragraphs, you get a clear sense of where David is coming from.
It’s never too late to catch up on what women have known about relationships for centuries. After all, marriage was invented by women, for women and families. Men invented the harem.
The core message is that people don’t necessarily understand marriage and relationships, but they do understand friendship. He makes this pointed advice to men:
Guys, you would never treat your best friend to the kind of withering criticism that you have inflicted on her (your loved one) in the past (or the present—shame, shame). If you did, your friend would move further down the bar and refuse to drink with you. Getting back to simple things like friendship puts a lot of marriages on an even keel.
Granted, living with someone brings any problems into sharp contrast. Yet, if we are treating, respecting, and acting as a devoted friend FIRST and FOREMOST, don’t many of those issues get resolved without permanent hurts? David, of course, recommends strongly the use of EFT for relationships. EFT allows us to grow and heal without requiring the other person to change first.
The Job Description
It is fascinating to me how easily most women can be happy in a relationship if the little things are done right. But they have to be HER little things. It really isn’t hard to figure out what these little things are, either. Women focus a lot of attention on these little things, these little thoughtful considerations, as markers of the health of the relationship. David refers to these simple acts as bringing disproportionate credit, especially when we help without being asked.
David says that women want a little fun, playful talk, romance, and non-sexual touching every day. (Even really tolerant, sexually interested women get sick and tired of being GROPED as the only contact they have with their mate.) Relaxed cuddles, hugs, and words of appreciation and respect go so far and are enjoyable for both. These are the ‘little’ things that are so important to most women feeling safe and connected… the precursor to the Big Thing that most men want. This is one area where sexual differences do seem most distinct. David powerfully sums it up this way (which also explains the reason why men aren’t getting IT):
Men, you know how GOOD you feel about things AFTER sex? Well, women want to feel good BEFORE they have sex, or often they won’t have sex at all!
You Don’t Have the Right to Criticize Your Partner
In my article on Positive and Negative Emotions in Marriage, four emotions are identified as predictive killers of relationship: Defensiveness, Stonewalling, Criticism, and Contempt. David is once again to the point:
Criticism is arsenic to a relationship—eventually love dies after being chronically ill. Nothing gives you the right to criticize your friend unless you are ALREADY PERFECT. Get your own act together completely before attempting to fix any of her obvious problems. If in doubt… ask HER what she thinks your problems are… and take it on board!