Dear John: I blew it again! It was our 14th wedding anniversary and I completely missed it. And my wife was really upset. She acts as if I forgot because I don't love her, but that's not at all true. Well, she has barely spoken to me for the past two weeks, and in the bedroom ... forget about that.
What can I do to really make this up to her? I've apologized a dozen times, but it doesn't seem to do any good. Please help! — In the Doghouse in Newport Beach, Calif.
Dear Doghouse: Your opening words, "I blew it again," tell me that this is probably a pattern of behavior. This tells her that you simply don't care. I don't think that is really the case, but it's kind of obvious why she might feel that way. Show her that you want to make amends, but don't just tell her. In a practical sense, that means doing something big. You missed the anniversary, and I'm guessing you've missed other big dates, like birthdays?
It's time to set things straight. Do something exciting, something a little over the top. Clear the calendar for a night, take her to dinner, and give her a key to a hotel room as a surprise. Have a bottle of chilled champagne waiting for the two of you in the room. And some flowers would be nice, too.
Here's the bottom line: Your wife is your life partner, not your buddy or business partner. Your buddy doesn't care if you don't remember the first time you played golf together, but a woman loves to be cherished. And part of being cherished is being remembered on special occasions. So, get a calendar program and set it up to alert you when a big date is coming up. Just because it's not a big deal to you doesn't mean it's not a big deal to her.
Dear John: My husband and I had an argument over our lovemaking and he's been keeping his distance from me for the past two weeks. It all started when I suggested certain things he could do to increase my pleasure during our lovemaking. He did not respond well to what I said, and our sex life has fallen off a cliff ever since. Please help if you can. — Love Lost in Williamsport, Pa.
Dear Love Lost: My guess is that you made the innocent mistake of telling your husband what you wanted rather than showing him. I know, it sounds like a small difference, but to a man's psyche it can make all the difference in the world. Think of it as a game of warmer and colder. When he does the right thing in bed, make responsive sounds that tell him you like what's happening. That's showing. On the other hand, if you say, "I really prefer for you to do this and not that," you're telling him. But worse than it appears to you, the message he gets is that he's an inept lover, which hits his secret, insecure fear (one that nearly all men have) that you have never considered him to be a good lover. Don't go there, because that will put him off and get the kind of reaction that you're describing.
Don't worry, however, he'll come back around soon enough. Most men can't resist the lure of the bedroom for very long. When he does come around, please remember that simple rule: show him, don't tell him.
John Gray is the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus." Visit his website, http://www.marsvenus.com, for advice on dating, marriage, parenting, romance and workplace issues. Or e-mail him at email@example.com. To find out more about John Gray and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.