Scoring Points with the Opposite Sex

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex - John Gray 1992

Scoring Points with the Opposite Sex

Aman thinks he scores high with a woman when he does something very big for her, like buying her a new car or taking her on a vacation. He assumes he scores less when he does something small, like opening the car door, buying her a flower, or giving her a hug. Based on this kind of score keeping, he believes he will fulfill her best by focusing his time, energy, and attention into doing something large for her. This formula, however, doesn’t work because women keep score differently.

When a woman keeps score, no matter how big or small a gift of love is, it scores one point; each gift has equal value. Its size doesn’t matter; it gets a point. A man, however, thinks he scores one point for one small gift and thirty points for a big gift. Since he doesn’t understand that women keep score differently, he naturally focuses his energies into one or two big gifts.


When a woman keeps score, no matter how big or small a gift of love is, it scores one point; each gift has equal value.


A man doesn’t realize that to a woman the little things are just as important as the big things. In other words, to a woman, a single rose gets as many points as paying the rent on time. Without understanding this basic difference in score keeping, men and women are continually frustrated and disappointed in their relationships.

The following case illustrates this:

In counseling, Pam said, “I do so much for Chuck and he ignores me. All he cares about is his work.”

Chuck said, “But my work pays for our beautiful house and allows us to go on vacations. She should be happy.”

Pam replied, “I don’t care about this house or the vacations if we are not loving each other. I need more from you.”

Chuck said, “You make it sound like you give so much more.”

Pam said, “I do. I am always doing things for you. I do the wash, fix the meals, clean the house—everything. You do one thing—you go to work, which does pay the bills. But then you expect me to do everything else.”

Chuck is a successful doctor. Like most professionals his work is very time consuming but very profitable. He couldn’t understand why his wife, Pam, was so discontent. He earned a “good living” and he provided a “good life” for his wife and family, but when he came home his wife was unhappy.

In Chuck’s mind, the more money he made at work, the less he needed to do at home to fulfill his wife. He thought his hefty paycheck at the end of the month scored him at least thirty points. When he opened his own clinic and doubled his income, he assumed he was now scoring sixty points a month. He had no idea that his paycheck earned him only one point each month with Pam—no matter how big it was.

Chuck did not realize that from Pam’s point of view, the more he earned, the less she got. His new clinic required more time and energy. To pick up the slack she began to do even more to manage their personal life and relationship. As she gave more, she felt as if she was scoring about sixty points a month to his one. This made her very unhappy and resentful.

Pam felt she was giving much more and getting less. From Chuck’s point of view he was now giving more (sixty points) and should get more from his wife. In his mind the score was even. He was satisfied with their relationship except for one thing—she wasn’t happy. He blamed her for wanting too much. To him, his increased paycheck equaled what she was giving. This attitude made Pam even more angry.

After listening to my relationship course on tape, both Pam and Chuck were able to let go of their blame and solve their problem with love. A relationship headed for divorce was transformed.

Chuck learned that doing little things for his wife made a big difference. He was amazed at how quickly things changed when he started devoting more time and energy to her. He began to appreciate that for a woman little things are just as important as big things. He now understood why his work scored only one point.

Actually, Pam had good reason to be unhappy. She truly needed Chuck’s personal energy, effort, and attention much more than their wealthy life-style. Chuck discovered that by spending less energy making money and devoting just a little more energy in the right direction his wife would be much happier. He recognized that he had been working longer hours in hopes of making her happier. Once he understood how she kept score, he could come home with a new confidence because he knew how to make her happy.


There are a variety of ways a man can score points with his partner without having to do much. It is just a matter of redirecting the energy and attention he is already giving. Most men already know about many of these things but don’t bother to do them because they don’t realize how important the little things are to a woman. A man truly believes the little things are insignificant when compared to the big things he is doing for her.

Some men may start out in a relationship doing the little things, but having done them once or twice they stop. Through some mysterious instinctive force, they begin to focus their energies into doing one big thing for their partners. They then neglect to do all the little things that are necessary for a woman to feel fulfilled in the relationship. To fulfill a woman, a man needs to understand what she needs to feel loved and supported.

The way women score points is not just a preference but a true need. Women need many expressions of love in a relationship to feel loved. One or two expressions of love, no matter how important, will not, and cannot, fulfill her.

This can be extremely hard for a man to understand. One way to look at it is to imagine that women have a love tank similar to the gas tank on a car. It needs to be filled over and over again. Doing many little things (and scoring many points) is the secret for filling a woman’s love tank. A woman feels loved when her love tank is full. She is able to respond with greater love, trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement. Lots of little things are needed to top off her tank.

Following is a list of 101 of the little ways a man can keep his partner’s love tank full.


1. Upon returning home find her first before doing anything else and give her a hug.

2. Ask her specific questions about her day that indicate an awareness of what she was planning to do (e.g., “How did your appointment with the doctor go?”).

3. Practice listening and asking questions.

4. Resist the temptation to solve her problems—empathize instead.

5. Give her twenty minutes of unsolicited, quality attention (don’t read the newspaper or be distracted by anything else during this time).

6. Bring her cut flowers as a surprise as well as on special occasions.

7. Plan a date several days in advance, rather than waiting for Friday night and asking her what she wants to do.

8. If she generally makes dinner or if it is her turn and she seems tired or really busy, offer to make dinner.

9. Compliment her on how she looks.

10. Validate her feelings when she is upset.

11. Offer to help her when she is tired.

12. Schedule extra time when traveling so that she doesn’t have to rush.

13. When you are going to be late, call her and let her know.

14. When she asks for support, say yes or no without making her wrong for asking.

15. Whenever her feelings have been hurt, give her some empathy and tell her “I’m sorry you feel hurt.” Then be silent; let her feel your understanding of her hurt. Don’t offer solutions or explanations why her hurt is not your fault.

16. Whenever you need to pull away, let her know you will be back or that you need some time to think about things.

17. When you’ve cooled off and you come back, talk about what was bothering you in a respectful, nonblaming way, so she doesn’t imagine the worst.

18. Offer to build a fire in wintertime.

19. When she talks to you, put down the magazine or turn off the TV and give her your full attention.

20. If she usually washes the dishes, occasionally offer to wash the dishes, especially if she is tired that day.

21. Notice when she is upset or tired and ask what she has to do. Then offer to help by doing a few of her “to do” items.

22. When going out, ask if there is anything she wants you to pick up at the store, and remember to pick it up.

23. Let her know when you are planning to take a nap or leave.

24. Give her four hugs a day.


Give her four hugs a day.


25. Call her from work to ask how she is or to share something exciting or to tell her “I love you.”

26. Tell her “I love you” at least a couple of times every day.

27. Make the bed and clean up the bedroom.

28. If she washes your socks, turn your socks right side out so she doesn’t have to.

29. Notice when the trash is full and offer to empty it.

30. When you are out of town, call to leave a telephone number where you can be reached and to let her know you arrived safely.

31. Wash her car.

32. Wash your car and clean up the interior before a date with her.

33. Wash before having sex or put on a cologne if she likes that.

34. Take her side when she is upset with someone.

35. Offer to give her a back or neck or foot massage (or all three).

36. Make a point of cuddling or being affectionate sometimes without being sexual.

37. Be patient when she is sharing. Don’t look at your watch.

38. Don’t flick the remote control to different channels when she is watching TV with you.

39. Display affection in public.

40. When holding hands don’t let your hand go limp.

41. Learn her favorite drinks so you can offer her a choice of the ones that you know she already likes.

42. Suggest different restaurants for going out; don’t put the burden of figuring out where to go on her.

43. Get season tickets for the theater, symphony, opera, ballet, or some other type of performance she likes.

44. Create occasions when you both can dress up.

45. Be understanding when she is late or decides to change her outfit.

46. Pay more attention to her than to others in public.

47. Make her more important than the children. Let the children see her getting your attention first and foremost.

48. Buy her little presents—like a small box of chocolates or perfume.

49. Buy her an outfit (take a picture of your partner along with her sizes to the store and let them help you select it).

50. Take pictures of her on special occasions.

51. Take short romantic getaways.

52. Let her see that you carry a picture of her in your wallet and update it from time to time.

53. When staying in a hotel, have them prepare the room with something special, like a bottle of champagne or sparkling apple juice or flowers.

54. Write a note or make a sign on special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays.

55. Offer to drive the car on long trips.

56. Drive slowly and safely, respecting her preferences. After all, she is sitting powerless in the front seat.

57. Notice how she is feeling and comment on it—“You look happy today” or “You look tired”—and then ask a question like “How was your day?”

58. When taking her out, study in advance the directions so that she does not have to feel responsible to navigate.

59. Take her dancing or take dancing lessons together.

60. Surprise her with a love note or poem.

61. Treat her in ways you did at the beginning of the relationship.

62. Offer to fix something around the house. Say “What needs to be fixed around here? I have some extra time.” Don’t take on more than you can do.

63. Offer to sharpen her knives in the kitchen.

64. Buy some good Super Glue to fix things that are broken.

65. Offer to change light bulbs as soon as they go out.

66. Help with recycling the trash.

67. Read out loud or cut out sections of the newspaper that would interest her.

68. Write out neatly any phone messages you may take for her.

69. Keep the bathroom floor clean and dry it after taking a shower.

70. Open the door for her.

71. Offer to carry the groceries.

72. Offer to carry heavy boxes for her.

73. On trips, handle the luggage and be responsible for packing it in the car.

74. If she washes the dishes or it is her turn, offer to help scrub pots or other difficult tasks.

75. Make a “to fix” list and leave it in the kitchen. When you have extra time do something on that list for her. Don’t let it get too long.

76. When she prepares a meal, compliment her cooking.

77. When listening to her talk, use eye contact.

78. Touch her with your hand sometimes when you talk to her.

79. Show interest in what she does during the day, in the books she reads and the people she relates to.

80. When listening to her, reassure her that you are interested by making little noises like ah ha, uhhuh, oh, mmhuh, and hmmmm.

81. Ask her how she is feeling.

82. If she has been sick in some way, ask for an update and ask how she is doing or feeling.

83. If she is tired offer to make her some tea.

84. Get ready to go to sleep together and get in bed at the same time.

85. Give her a kiss and say good-bye when you leave.

86. Laugh at her jokes and humor.

87. Verbally say thank you when she does things for you.

88. Notice when she gets her hair done and give a reassuring compliment.

89. Create special time to be alone together.

90. Don’t answer the phone at intimate moments or if she is sharing vulnerable feelings.

91. Go bicycling together, even if it’s just a short ride.

92. Organize and prepare a picnic. (Remember to bring a picnic cloth.)

93. If she handles the laundry, bring the clothes to the cleaners or offer to do the wash.

94. Take her for a walk without the children.

95. Negotiate in a manner that shows her that you want her to get what she wants and you also want what you want. Be caring, but don’t be a martyr.

96. Let her know that you missed her when you went away.

97. Bring home her favorite pie or dessert.

98. If she normally shops for the food, offer to do the food shopping.

99. Eat lightly on romantic occasions so that you don’t become stuffed and tired later.

100. Ask her to add her thoughts to this list.

101. Leave the bathroom seat down.


It’s magic when a man does little things for his woman. It keeps her love tank full and the score even. When the score is even, or almost even, a woman knows she is loved, which makes her more trusting and loving in return. When a woman knows she’s loved, she can love without resentment.

Doing little things for a woman is also healing for a man. In fact, those little things will tend to heal his resentments as well as hers. He begins to feel powerful and effective because she’s getting the caring she needs. Both are then fulfilled.

What a Man Needs

Just as men need to continue doing little things for a woman, she needs to be particularly attentive to appreciate the little things he does for her. With a smile and a thanks she can let him know he has scored a point. A man needs this appreciation and encouragement to continue giving. He needs to feel he can make a difference. Men stop giving when they feel they are being taken for granted. A woman needs to let him know that what he is doing is appreciated.

This doesn’t mean that she has to pretend that everything is now perfectly wonderful because he has emptied the trash for her. But she can simply notice that he has emptied the trash and say “thanks.” Gradually more love will flow from both sides.

What a Man Needs a Woman to Accept

A woman needs to accept a man’s instinctive tendencies to focus all his energies into one big thing and minimize the importance of the little things. By accepting this inclination, it will not be as hurtful to her. Rather than resenting him for giving less, she can constructively work with him to solve the problem. She can repeatedly let him know how much she appreciates the little things he has done for her and that he works hard and attentively.

She can remember that his forgetting to do the little things doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her but that he has become too focused on big things again. Instead of fighting him or punishing him, she can encourage his personal involvement by asking for his support. With more appreciation and encouragement a man will gradually learn to value the little things as well as the big. He will become less driven to be more and more successful and begin to relax more and spend more time with his wife and family.


I remember when I first learned to redirect my energies into the little things. When Bonnie and I were first married, I was almost a workaholic. In addition to writing books and teaching seminars, I had a counseling practice for fifty hours a week. In the first year of our marriage, she let me know again and again how much she needed more time with me. Repeatedly she would share her feelings of abandonment and hurt.

Sometimes she would share her feelings in a letter. We call this a Love Letter. It always ends with love and includes feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and sorrow. In chapter 11 we will explore more deeply the methods and importance of writing these Love Letters. She wrote this Love Letter about my spending too much time at work.

Dear John,

I’m writing you this letter to share with you my feelings. I don’t mean to tell you what to do. I just want you to understand my feelings.

I am angry that you spend so much time at work. I am angry that you come home with nothing left for me. I want to spend more time with you.

It hurts to feel like you care more about your clients than me. I feel sad that you are so tired. I miss you.

I’m afraid you don’t want to spend time with me. I am afraid of being another burden in your life. I am afraid of sounding like a nag. I am afraid my feelings are not important to you.

I’m sorry if this is hard to hear. I know you are doing your best. I appreciate how hard you work.

I love you, Bonnie

After reading about her feeling neglected I realized that I truly was giving more to my clients than I was to her. I would give my undivided attention to my clients and then come home exhausted and ignore my wife.

When a Man Overworks

I was ignoring her not because I didn’t love her or care for her but because I had nothing left to give. I naïvely thought I was doing the best thing by working hard to provide a better life (more money) for her and our family. Once I understood how she felt, I developed a plan for solving this problem in our relationship.

Instead of seeing eight clients a day I started seeing seven. I pretended that my wife was my eighth client. Every night I came home an hour earlier. I pretended in my mind that my wife was my most important client. I started giving her that devoted and undivided attention I would give a client. When I arrived home I started doing little things for her. The success of this plan was immediate. Not only was she happier but I was too.

Gradually, as I felt being loved for the ways I could support her and our family, I became less driven to be a great success. I started to slow down, and to my surprise not only our relationship but also my work flourished, becoming more successful without my having to work as hard.

I found that when I was succeeding at home, my work reflected that success. I realized that success in the work world was not achieved through hard work alone. It was also dependent on my ability to inspire trust in others. When I felt loved by my family, not only did I feel more confident, but others also trusted and appreciated me more.

How a Woman Can Help

Bonnie’s support played a big part in this change. In addition to sharing her honest and loving feelings, she was also very persistent in asking me to do things for her and then giving me a lot of appreciation when I did them. Gradually, I started to realize how wonderful it is to be loved for doing little things. I was relieved from feeling that I had to do great things to be loved. It was a revelation.


Woman possess the special ability to appreciate the little things of life as much as the big things. This is a blessing for men. Most men strive for greater and greater success because they believe it will make them worthy of love. Deep inside, they crave love and admiration from others. They do not know that they can draw that love and admiration to them without having to be a greater success.


Most men strive for greater and greater success because they believe it will make them worthy of love.


A woman has the ability to heal a man of this addiction to success by appreciating the little things he does. But she may not express appreciation if she doesn’t understand how important it is to a man. She may let her resentment get in the way.


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 subtracts 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 subtracts 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 responsibility 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 taking a rest from giving and focuses on receiving his support with love, the balance can be quickly restored.


A man rarely intends to take more and give less. Yet men are notorious for giving less in relationships. Probably you have experienced this in your relationships. Women commonly complain that their male partner starts out more loving and then gradually becomes passive. Men also feel unfairly treated. In the beginning women are so appreciative and loving, and then they become resentful and demanding. This mystery can be understood when we realize how men and women keep score differently.

There are five major reasons a man stops giving. They are:

1. Martians Idealize Fairness. A man focuses all his energies into a project at work and thinks he has just scored fifty points. Then he comes home and sits back, waiting for his wife to score her fifty points. He does not know that in her experience he has only scored one point. He stops giving because he thinks he has already given more.

In his mind this is the fair and loving thing to do. He allows her to give fifty points worth of support to even the score. He doesn’t realize that his hard work at the office scores only one point. His model of fairness can work only when he understands and respects how women give one point for each gift of love. This first insight has practical applications for both men and women. They are:

For Men: Remember that for a woman, big things and little things score one point. All gifts of love are equal and equally needed—big and small. To avoid creating resentment, practice doing some of the little things that make a big difference. Do not expect a woman to be satisfied unless she gets an abundance of little expressions of love as well as the big.

For Women: Remember that men are from Mars; they are not automatically motivated to do the little things. They give less not because they do not love you but because they believe they have already given their share. Try not to take it personally. Instead, repeatedly encourage their support by asking for more. Don’t wait until you desperately need his support or until the score is greatly uneven to ask. Don’t demand his support; trust that he wants to support you, even if he needs a little encouragement.

2. Venusians Idealize Unconditional Love. A woman gives as much as she can and only notices that she has received less when she is empty and spent. Women don’t start out keeping score like men do; women give freely and assume men will do the same.

As we have seen, men are not the same. A man gives freely until the score, as he perceives it, gets uneven, and then he stops giving. A man generally gives a lot and then sits back to receive what he has given.

When a woman is happy giving to a man, he instinctively assumes she is keeping score and he must have more points. The last thing he would consider is that he has given less. From his vantage point he would never continue giving when the score became uneven in his favor.

He knows that if he is required to give more when he feels he has already given a greater amount, he will definitely not smile when he gives. Keep this in mind. When a woman continues to give freely with a smile on her face, a man assumes the score must be somewhat even. He does not realize that Venusians have the uncanny ability to give happily until the score is about thirty to zero. These insights also have practical applications for both men and women:

For Men: Remember that when a woman gives with a smile on her face it doesn’t necessarily mean the score is close to even.

For Women: Remember that when you give freely to a man, he gets the message the score is even. If you want to motivate him to give more, then gently and gracefully stop giving more. Allow him to do little things for you. Encourage him by asking for his support in little ways and then appreciating him.

3. Martians Give When They Are Asked. Martians pride themselves in being self-sufficient. They don’t ask for help unless they really need it. On Mars it is rude to offer help unless you are first asked.

Quite the opposite, Venusians don’t wait to offer their support. When they love someone, they give in any way they can. They do not wait to be asked, and the more they love someone the more they give.

When a man doesn’t offer his support a woman mistakenly assumes he doesn’t love her. She may even test his love by definitely not asking for his support and waiting for him to offer it. When he doesn’t offer to help, she resents him. She does not understand that he is waiting to be asked.

As we have seen, keeping the score even is important to a man. When a man feels he has given more in a relationship, he will instinctively begin to ask for more support; he naturally feels more entitled to receive and starts asking for more. On the other hand, when he has given less in a relationship, the last thing he is going to do is ask for more. Instinctively he will not ask for support but will look for ways that he might give more support.

When a woman doesn’t ask for support, a man mistakenly assumes the score must be even or that he must be giving more. He does not know that she is waiting for him to offer his support.

This third insight has practical applications for both men and women.

For Women: Remember that a man looks for cues telling him when and how to give more. He waits to be asked. He seems to get the necessary feedback only when she is asking for more or telling him he needs to give more. In addition, when she asks, he knows what to give. Many men don’t know what to do. Even if a man senses he is giving less, unless she specifically asks for support in the little ways, he may devote even more of his energy to big things like work, thinking that greater success or more money will help.

For Men: Remember that a woman instinctively does not ask for support when she wants it. Instead, she expects you to offer it if you love her. Practice offering to support her in little ways.

4. Venusians Say Yes Even When the Score Is Uneven. Men don’t realize that when they ask for support, a woman will say yes even if the score is uneven. If they can support their man, they will. The concept of keeping score is not on her mind. Men have to be careful not to ask for too much. If she feels she is giving more than she is getting, after a while she will resent that you do not offer to support her more.

Men mistakenly assume that as long as she says yes to his needs and requests, she is receiving equally what she wants. He mistakenly assumes the score is even when it isn’t.

I remember taking my wife to the movies about once a week for the first two years of our marriage. One day she became furious with me and said, “We always do what you want to do. We never do what I want to do.”

I was genuinely surprised. I thought that as long as she said yes and continued to say yes that she was equally happy with the situation. I thought she liked the movies as much as I did.

Occasionally she would suggest to me that the opera was in town or that she would like to go to the symphony. When we drove by the local playhouse, she would make a remark like “That looks like fun, let’s see that play.”

But then later in the week I would say, “Let’s go to this movie, it’s got a great review.”

And she would happily say, “OK.”

Mistakenly, I got the message that she was as happy as I was about going to the movies. In truth she was happy to be with me, the movie was OK, but what she wanted was to go to the local cultural events. That is why she kept mentioning them to me. But because she kept saying yes to the movies, I had no idea that she was sacrificing her wants to make me happy.

This insight has practical applications for both men and women.

For Men: Remember that if she says yes to your requests, it doesn’t mean the score is even. The score may be twenty to zero in her mind and she will still happily say “Sure I’ll pick up your clothes at the cleaners” or “OK, I’ll make that call for you.”

Agreeing to doing what you want doesn’t mean that it is what she wants. Ask her what she wants to do. Collect information about what she likes, and then offer to take her to those places.

For Women: Remember that if you immediately say yes to a man’s requests, he gets the idea that he has given more or that the score is at least even. If you are giving more and getting less, stop saying yes to his requests. Instead, in a graceful way, begin asking him to do more for you.

5. Martians Give Penalty Points. Women don’t realize that men give penalty points when they feel unloved and unsupported. When a woman reacts to a man in an untrusting, rejecting, disapproving, or unappreciative way, he gives minus or penalty points.

For example, if a man feels hurt or unloved because his wife has failed to appreciate something he’s done, he feels justified in taking away the points she has already earned. If she has given ten, when he feels hurt by her, he may react to her by taking away her ten points. If he is more hurt he may even give her a negative twenty. As a result she now owes him ten points, when a minute before she had ten points.

This is very confusing to a woman. She may have given the equivalent of thirty points, and then in one angry moment he takes them away. In his mind he feels justified in not giving anything because she owes him. He thinks it is fair. This may be fair mathematically, but it is not really fair.

Penalty points are destructive to relationships. They make a woman feel unappreciated and a man less giving. If he negates in his mind all the loving support she has given, when she does express some negativity, which is bound to happen occasionally, he then loses his motivation to give. He becomes passive. This fifth insight has practical applications for both men and women.

For Men: Remember that penalty points are not fair and do not work. At moments when you feel unloved, offended, or hurt, forgive her and remember all the good she has given rather than penalize her by negating it all. Instead of punishing her, ask her for the support you want, and she will give it. Respectfully let her know how she has hurt you. Let her know how she has hurt you and then give her an opportunity to apologize. Punishment does not work! You will feel much better by giving her a chance to give you what you need. Remember she is a Venusian—she doesn’t know what you need or how she hurts you.

For Women: Remember that men have this tendency to give penalty points. There are two approaches to protect yourself from this abuse.

The first approach is to recognize that he is wrong in taking away your points. In a respectful way let him know how you feel. In the next chapter we will explore ways to express difficult or negative feelings.

The second approach is to recognize he takes away points when he feels unloved and hurt and he immediately gives them back when he feels loved and supported. As he feels more and more loved for the little things he does, he will gradually give penalty points less and less. Try to understand the different ways he needs love so that he doesn’t get hurt as much.

When you are able to recognize how he has been hurt, let him know that you are sorry. Most important, then give him the love he didn’t get. If he feels unappreciated, give him the appreciation he needs; if he feels rejected or manipulated, give him the acceptance he needs; if he feels mistrusted, give him the trust he needs; if he feels put down, give him the admiration that he needs; if he feels disapproval, give him the approval he needs and deserves. When a man feels loved he will quit using penalty points.

The most difficult part of the above process is knowing what hurt him. For the most part, when a man withdraws into his cave, he doesn’t know what hurt him. Then, when he comes out, he generally doesn’t talk about it. How is a woman supposed to know what actually hurts his feelings? Reading this book and understanding how men need love differently is a good beginning and gives you an edge that women have never had before.

The other way a woman can learn what happened is through communication. As I have mentioned before, the more a woman is able to open up and share her feelings in a respectful way, the more a man is able to learn to open up and share his hurt and pain.


Men give points differently from women. Every time a woman appreciates what a man has done for her, he feels loved and gives her a point in return. To keep the score even in a relationship, a man really doesn’t require anything but love. Women don’t realize the power of their love and many times unnecessarily seek to earn a man’s love by doing more things for him than they want to do.

When a woman appreciates what a man does for her, he gets much of the love he needs. Remember, men primarily need appreciation. Certainly a man also requires equal participation from a woman in doing the domestic duties of day to-day life, but if he is not appreciated, then her contribution is nearly meaningless and completely unimportant to him.


Certainly a man also requires equal participation from a woman in doing the domestic duties of day-to-day life, but if he is not appreciated, then her contribution is nearly meaningless and completely unimportant to him.


Similarly, a woman cannot appreciate the big things a man does for her unless he is also doing a lot of little things. Doing a lot of little things fulfills her primary needs to feel cared for, understood, and respected.

A major source of love for a man is the loving reaction that a woman has to his behavior. He has a love tank too, but his is not necessarily filled by what she does for him. Instead it is mainly filled by how she reacts to him or how she feels about him.

When a woman prepares a meal for a man, he gives her one point or ten points, depending on how she is feeling toward him. If a woman secretly resents a man, a meal she may cook for him will mean very little to him—he may even give minus points because she was resenting him. The secret to fulfilling a man lies in learning to express love through your feelings, not necessarily through your actions.

Philosophically speaking, when a woman feels loving, her behavior will automatically express that love. When a man expresses himself in loving behavior, automatically his feelings will follow and become more loving.

Even if a man is not feeling his love for a woman, he can still decide to do something loving for her. If his offering is received and appreciated, then he will begin to feel his love for her again. “Doing” is an excellent way to prime a man’s love pump.

However, women are very different. A woman generally does not feel loved if she doesn’t feel cared about, understood, or respected. Making a decision to do something more for her partner will not help her feel more loving. Instead it may actually fuel her resentment. When a woman is not feeling her loving feelings, she needs to focus her energies directly on healing her negative feelings and definitely not on doing more.

A man needs to prioritize “loving behavior,” for this will ensure that his partner’s love needs are met. It will open her heart and also open his heart to feel more loving. A man’s heart opens as he succeeds in fulfilling a woman.

A woman needs to prioritize “loving attitudes and feelings,” which will ensure that her partner’s love needs are fulfilled. As a woman is able to express loving attitudes and feelings toward a man, he feels motivated to give more. This then assists her in opening her heart even more. A woman’s heart opens more as she is able to get the support she needs.

Women are sometimes unaware of when a man really needs love. At such times a woman can score twenty to thirty points. These are some examples:


What happens: 1. He makes a mistake and she doesn’t say “I told you so” or offer advice.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 2. He disappoints her and she doesn’t punish him.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 3. He gets lost while driving and she doesn’t make a big deal out of it.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 4. He gets lost and she sees the good in the situation and says “We would never have seen this beautiful sunset if we had taken the most direct route.”

Points he gives her: 20—30

What happens: 5. He forgets to pick up something and she says “It’s OK. Would you do it next time you are out?”

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 6. He forgets to pick up something again and she says with trusting patience and persistence “It’s OK. Would you still get it?”

Points he gives her: 20—30

What happens: 7. When she has hurt him and she understands his hurt, she apologizes and gives him the love he needs.

Points he gives her: 10—40

What happens: 8. She asks for his support and he says no and she is not hurt by his rejection but trusts that he would if he could. She does not reject him or disapprove of him.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 9. Another time she asks for his support and he again says no. She does not make him feel wrong but accepts his limitations at that time.

Points he gives her: 20—30

What happens: 10. She asks for his support without being demanding when he assumes the score is somewhat even.

Points he gives her: 1—5

What happens: 11. She asks for support without being demanding when she is upset or he knows she has been giving more.

Points he gives her: 10—30

What happens: 12. When he withdraws she doesn’t make him feel guilty.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 13. When he comes back from his cave she welcomes him and doesn’t punish him or reject him.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 14. When he apologizes for a mistake and she receives it with loving acceptance and forgiveness. The bigger the mistake he makes the more points he gives.

Points he gives her: 10—50

What happens: 15. When he asks her to do something and she says no without giving a list of reasons why she can’t do it.

Points he gives her: 1—10

What happens: 16. When he asks her to do something and she says yes and stays in a good mood.

Points he gives her: 1—10

What happens: 17. When he wants to make up after a fight and starts doing little things for her and she starts appreciating him again.

Points he gives her: 10—30

What happens: 18. She is happy to see him when he gets home.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 19. She feels disapproving and instead of expressing it she goes in another room and privately centers herself and then comes back with a more centered and loving heart.

Points he gives her: 10-20

What happens: 20. On special occasions she overlooks his mistakes that might normally upset her.

Points he gives her: 20—40

What happens: 21. She really enjoys having sex with him.

Points he gives her: 10—40

What happens: 22. He forgets where he put his keys and she doesn’t look at him as though he was irresponsible.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 23. She is tactful or graceful in expressing her dislike or disappointment about a restaurant or movie when on a date.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 24. She doesn’t give advice when he is driving or parking the car and then appreciates him for getting them there.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 25. She asks for his support rather than dwelling on what he has done wrong.

Points he gives her: 10—20

What happens: 26. She shares her negative feelings in a centered way without blaming, rejecting, or being disapproving of him.

Points he gives her: 10—40

When a Woman Can Score More Points

Each of the above examples reveals how men score points differently from women. But a woman is not required to do all of the above. This list reveals those times when he is most vulnerable. If she can be supportive in giving him what he needs he will be very generous in giving points.

As I mentioned in chapter 7, a woman’s ability to give love at difficult times fluctuates like a wave. When a woman’s ability to give love is increasing (during the upswing of her wave) is the time when she can score many bonus points. She should not expect herself to be as loving at other times.

Just as a woman’s ability to give love fluctuates, a man’s need for love fluctuates. In each of the above examples, there is no fixed amount for how many points a man gives. Instead there is an approximate range; when his need for her love is greater he tends to give her more points.

For example, if he has made a mistake and feels embarrassed, sorry, or ashamed, then he needs her love more; therefore he gives more points if she responds by being supportive. The bigger the mistake, the more points he gives her for her love. If he doesn’t receive her love he tends to give her penalty points according to how much he needed her love. If he feels rejected as the result of a big mistake he may give a lot of penalty points.


If a man has made a mistake and feels embarrassed, sorry, or ashamed, then he needs her love more…. The bigger the mistake, the more points he gives.



A man may become so angry at a woman when he has made the mistake and the woman is upset. His upset is proportional to the size of his mistake. A little mistake makes him less defensive, while a big mistake makes him much more defensive. Sometimes women wonder why a man doesn’t say he is sorry for a big mistake. The answer is he is afraid of not being forgiven. It is too painful to acknowledge that he has failed her in some way. Instead of saying he is sorry he may become angry with her for being upset and give her penalty points.


When a man is in a negative state, treat him like a passing tornado and lie low.


When a man is in a negative state, if she can treat him like a passing tornado and lie low, after the tornado has passed he will give her an abundance of bonus points for not making him wrong or for not trying to change him. If she tries to stop the tornado it will create havoc, and he will blame her for interfering.

This is a new insight for many women because on Venus when someone is upset the Venusians never ignore her or even consider lying low. Tornadoes don’t exist on Venus. When someone is upset everyone gets involved with one another and tries to understand what is bothering her by asking a lot of questions. When a tornado passes on Mars everyone finds a ditch and lies low.


It helps greatly when women understand that men score points differently. That men give penalty points is very confusing to women and doesn’t make it safe for women to share their feelings. Certainly, it would be wonderful if all men could see how unfair penalty points are and change overnight—but change takes time. What can be reassuring for a woman, however, is to know that just as a man quickly gives out the penalty points he also takes them back.

A man giving penalty points is similar to a woman feeling resentful when she gives more than he does. She subtracts his score from hers and gives him a zero. At such times a man can just be understanding that she is sick with the resentment flu and give her some extra love.

Similarly, when a man is giving penalty points, a woman can realize that he has his own version of resentment flu. He needs some extra love so he can get better. As a result, he immediately gives her bonus points to even the score again.

Through learning how to score big with a man, a woman has a new edge for supporting her man when he seems distant and hurt. Instead of doing little things for him (from the list 101 Ways to Score Points with a Woman, page 203), which is what she would want, she can more successfully focus her energies in giving him what he wants (as listed in How Women Can Score Big with Men, page 225).


Both men and women can benefit greatly by remembering how differently we keep score. Improving a relationship takes no more energy than we are already expending and doesn’t have to be terribly difficult. Relationships are exhausting until we learn how to direct our energies into the ways that our partner can fully appreciate.