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Chris Linnares, Published February 09 2012

Listen to women’s desires – through complaints

OK girlfriend, just pretend that you accidentally left the SheSays section near your man and let me take it from there.

This week I went on a radio show to share ideas with men on how to surprise women on Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t believe men were willing to sit down and listen. Let’s face it, moments like these don’t happen often in a woman’s life.

As the interview progressed, one guy says: “I do so much for her and she never appreciates me. She is always ‘crabby,’ so I don’t feel like doing anything for her for Valentine’s.”

He was surprised by my response when I commented that it was a really good sign that his wife was complaining – “It’s just wonderful if your woman is crabby at you!”

Before you totally write me off, allow me to explain my theory first.

For more than a decade, I’ve been working with empowering women’s groups. When a woman comes to our group complaining about her boyfriend or husband, I am not worried about her relationship. I can see that behind her anger, there is a fire in her heart – a part of her still believes in his ability to fulfill her needs.

What worries me and should worry you is when a woman starts feeling that her voice isn’t heard. Instead of complaining or being “demanding,” she becomes quiet and emotionally withdrawn, expressing her feelings only by crying into her pillow in the silence of the night.

It is such moments, when two partners are sleeping in the same bed, so disconnected from each other’s needs and desires that reminds me of what Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Where elbows are together and hearts apart.”

But why am I talking about a woman’s complaints in a column about Valentine’s Day? Because I believe the best way to find out how to surprise your woman is to exchange lists of the ‘Top Ten Ideas for Valentine’s Day’ for just one good idea – L-I-S-T-E-N to her!

The problem is that a lot of women, including myself, reveal our desires in a not so positive ways – we complain. I am not saying that this is the best way to express what we want; I hope that one day I will have this lesson down, and I will always be able to express what I want in a loving way. But my point here is that if your woman is not able to express what she wants in a more loving way, she is expressing it in a “crabby way”.

If you really want to score points this Valentine’s Day you need to get beyond the self-pity of “She doesn’t appreciate me,” and be willing to explore what is behind a woman’s complaining heart.

For example, if your woman is complaining that you don’t help her around the house, what would be a good way to surprise her on this Valentine’s Day? Clean the house for her. Make her a dinner – mac ‘n’ cheese can be romantic, too!

If your woman is complaining that you always find time for your hobbies such as hunting, sports or watching TV for five hours straight on Sundays,what she maybe is trying to say is: “I miss us.” In this case, a great gift could be surprise her with a couples massage or just take her out for a romantic dinner, where eye contact and heartfelt conversation is on the menu. (It’s not too complicated to find a sitter. I promise you. It’s less painful than you think –just start your search a month in advance and you will be fine.)

I wish I had all the answers, but the truth is that if Freud, after 30 years studying human psychology, couldn’t figure out what women want, who am I to speak for all womankind?

I am just a self-professed romantic woman who is using this space to share the desires of her heart. I’m a woman that knows that at the end of Valentine’s Day, it’s not how many gifts and surprises we had come up with, but how we treat one another every day of the year.

On Feb. 14 you can buy flowers, dinner or jewelry, but you cannot buy respect, compassion, friendship and – most of all – love.

Have a priceless Valentine’s Day, every day!

Tune in to win

Tune in on Monday for a special edition of Chris Linnares’ video series “Happy Body Hot Life” at shesaystv.areavoices.com for tips and advice on making your Valentine’s Day sweet and romantic.

One lucky viewer of the blog will also win a Valentine’s Day dinner at Maxwell’s in West Fargo.

Chris Linnares is an international author, Brazilian psychotherapist and creator of Diva Dance. She is the founder of Naturally Diva and Diva Connection Foundation for women’s health and empowerment.