“People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn't stop you from having your own opinion.” ( Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl)

Friday, 1 March 2013


A week after our daughter Lauren was born, my wife Bonnie and I were completely 
exhausted. Each night Lauren kept waking us. Bonnie had been torn in the delivery and 
was taking painkillers. She could barely walk. After five days of staying home to help, 
I went back to work. She seemed to be getting better.
While I was away she ran out of pain pills. Instead of calling me at the office, she asked 
one of my brothers, who was visiting, to purchase more. My brother, however, did not 
return with the pills. Consequently, she spent the whole day in pain, taking care of a 
I had no idea that her day had been so awful. When I returned home she was very 
upset. I misinterpreted the cause of her distress and thought she was blaming me.
She said, "I've been in pain all day.... I ran out of pills. I've been stranded in bed and 
nobody cares!"
I said defensively, "Why didn't you call me?"
She said, "I asked your brother, but he forgot! I've' been waiting for him to return all 
day. What am I supposed to do? I can barely walk. I feel so deserted!"
At this point I exploded. My fuse was also very short that day. I was angry that she 
hadn't called me. I was furious that she was blaming me when I didn't even know she 
was in pain. After exchanging a few harsh words, I headed for the door. I was fired, 
irritable, and had heard enough. We had both reached our limits.
Then something started to happen that would change my life.
Bonnie said, "Stop, please don't leave. This is when I need you the most. I'm in pain. I 
haven't slept in days. Please listen to me."
I stopped for a moment to listen.
She said, "John Gray, you're a fair-weather friend! As long as I'm sweet, loving Bonnie 
you are here for me, but as soon as I'm not, you walk right out that door."
Then she paused, and her eyes filled up with tears. As her tone shifted she said, "Right 
now I'm in pain. I have nothing to give, this is when I need you the most. Please, come 
over here and hold me. You don't have to say anything. I just need to feel your arms 
around me. Please don't go."
I walked over and silently held her. She wept in my arms. After a few minutes, she 
thanked me for not leaving. She told me that she just needed to feel me holding her.
At that moment I started to realize the real meaning of love unconditional love. I had always thought of myself as a loving person. But she was right. I had been a 
fair-weather friend. As long as she was happy and nice, I loved back. But if she was 
unhappy or upset, I would feel blamed and then argue or distance myself.That day, for the first time, I didn't leave her. I stayed, and it felt great. I succeeded in
giving to her when she really needed me. This felt like real love. Caring for another
person. Trusting in our love. Being there at her hour of need. I marvelled at how easy it
was for me to support her when I was shown the way.

How had I missed this? She just needed me to go over and hold her. Another woman
would have instinctively known what Bonnie needed. But as a man, I didn't know that
touching, holding, and listening were so important to her. By recognizing these
differences I began to learn a new way of relating to my wife. I would have never
believed we could resolve conflict so easily.

* Men Are from Mars,Women Are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D.*

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