This is my favorite part of the Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus book.

Women instinctively appreciate the little things. The only exceptions are when a woman doesn't realize a man needs to hear her appreciation or when she feels the score is uneven. When a woman feels unloved and neglected it is hard for her automatically to appreciate what a man does do for her. She feels resentful because she has given so much more than he has. This resentment blocks her ability to appreciate the little things.

Resentment, like getting the flu or a cold, is not healthy. When a woman is sick with resentment she tends to negate what a man has done for her because, according to the way a woman keeps score, she has done so much more.

When the score is forty to ten in favor of the woman, she may begin to feel very resentful. Something happens to a woman when she feels she is giving more than she is getting. Quite unconsciously she substracts his score of ten from her score of forty and concludes the score in their relationship is thirty to zero. This makes sense mathematically and is understandable, but it doesn't work.

When she substracts his score from her score he ends up with a zero, and he is not a zero. He has not given zero; he has given ten. When he comes home she has a coldness in her eyes or in her voice that says he is a zero. She is negating what he has done. She reacts to him as if he has given nothing - but he has given ten.

The reason a woman tends to reduce a man's points this way is because she feels unloved. The unequal score makes her feel that she isn't important. Feeling unloved, she finds it very difficult to appreciate even the ten points he can legitimately claim. Of course, this isn't fair, but it is how it works.

What generally happens in a relationship at this point is the man feels unappreciated and loses his motivation to do more. He catches the resentment flu. She then continues to feel more resentful, and the situation gets worse and worse. Her resentment flu gets worse.

What she can do

The way of solving this problem is to understand it compassionately from both sides. He needs to be appreciated, while she needs to feel supported. Otherwise their sickness gets worse.

The solution to this resentment is for her to take responsibility. She needs to take responsibility for having contributed to her problem by giving more and letting the score get so uneven. She needs to treat herself as if she has the flu or a cold and take a rest from giving so much in the relationship. She needs to pamper herself and allow her partner to take care of her more.

When a woman feels resentful, she usually will not give her partner a chance to be supportive, or, if he tries, she will negate the value of what he has done and give him another zero. She closes the door to his support. By taking responsibility for giving too much, she can give up blaming him for the problem and start a new scorecard. She can give him another chance and, with her new understanding, improve the situation.

What he can do

When a man feels unappreciated, he stops giving support. A way he can responsibly deal with the situation is to understand that it is hard for her to give points for his support and appreciate him when she is sick with resentment.

He can release his own resentment by understanding that she needs to receive for a while before she can give again. He can remember this as he attentively gives his love and affection in little ways. For a while he should not expect her to be as appreciative as he deserves and needs. It helps if he takes responsability for giving her the flu because he neglected to do the little things that she needs.

With this foresight he can give without expecting much in return until she recovers from her flu. Knowing that he can solve this problem will help him release his resentment as well. If he continues giving and she focuses on receiving his support with love, the balance can be quickly restored.