I attended John Gray's workshop called "Beyond Mars and Venus - Relationship Skills for Today's Complex World" at the 2018 New Living Expo. I found the workshop to be very informative and useful for the OTW2Wellnes Blog, because relationships affect our health and wellness in such a huge way. If you've ever been with someone who stressed you out to no end, then you know what I mean!
John Gray is the author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. During his workshop, he spoke about how to improve the relationship with your partner by bringing balance to masculine and feminine energies and understanding his or her biology to become a better communicator and more empathetic. John Gray was a very charismatic and funny speaker, and I liked that he used several of his own personal experiences with his wife to further explain key concepts.
Here are my takeaways:
Masculine energy is about freedom while feminine energy is about fulfillment. Not only do these energies need to be in balance in a relationship, but they also need to be in balance within ourselves.
It helps to know what happens physiologically in order to better understand your partner's behaviors. Any criticism about the other person or the relationship may make him/her feel defensive. When people are in situations that makes them feel "fight or flight," stress hormones go up. Elevated levels of stress interrupt blood flow to the frontal cortex of the brain. This is the part of the brain that manages the ability to follow reason and control impulses. When the frontal cortex is out the door, then people become no different from animals. They are reactive and instinctual, because they're in this survival mode. The matter at hand can no longer be seen with a clear or logical point of view. Communication between you and partner breaks down as a result. Therefore, don't try to fix the other person or make them change if they don't want to. Higher shifts in consciousnesses through mindfulness and mediation can allow you and your partner to not be in judgement of each other and help you both learn how to hold space for each other's authenticity.
Knowing biological processes of men and women may also help you be better at understanding your partner's needs. Men who have heart attacks reportedly have low testosterone. It's not that low testosterone is the cause of heart attacks, but rather low testosterone is linked to higher levels of stress. High or chronic stress are known risk factors of heart disease. With that said, men need 30-50x's more testosterone to be in a state of well-being. Men's testosterone increases when they complete missions (i.e. projects). Even just the confidence in achieving missions increases testosterone. So if your male partner wants to build a car, let it happen. Encourage him. For women to feel well-being, they need higher levels of estrogen. Estrogen levels go down when women are stressed, but it helps women dissipate their feelings of stress when they talk about their emotions. So if your female partner wants to talk about her day, listen to her. And don't feel obligated to provide a response unless she seeks one from you. Furthermore, John talked about how hormonal changes during women's menstrual cycles influence their needs. He claimed that it's important for men to consider the 5-day time frame after their female partners' menstruation. Women particularly need more attention at this time, because estrogen levels go up two-fold. John jokingly alluded that this would be a great time to take a woman on a date. During ovulation, which is around twelve days after a woman's period, progesterone kicks in and shifts women's needs for more social interaction and "me"-time.
Lastly, don't get caught up in the illusion that you can make your partner happy. The reality is that we create our own happiness, and we need to take ownership of our feelings. When you're in a good place, then you'll know how to help your partner be happier.
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