DEAR JOHN: My husband and I have been married three years. He used to regularly suggest what we would do on a “date” night out. But lately, it's usually left up to me, even if it's as simple as going to a movie or out to dinner. Since we've settled into such a regular routine, I guess I've let him off the hook in the dating department. How can I till him know that he's let me down?
— In Need, in Trenton, N.J.
DEAR IN NEED: Getting lazy about the dating aspect of a relationship is a classic Martian trait. In thousands of relationships, the guy stops planning dates because he is trying to avoid making a mistake. In doing so, he is making an even bigger mistake: He is taking some of the romance out of your shared life.
Men are quick to take credit for success. They love to hear things like: “That was a great dinner,” or “What a fun film.” Quite often, though, a man will take you out on a date and quite innocently you might share your dissatisfaction with the restaurant. Or upon leaving the cinema, you casually comment that you found the film to be disappointing. In telling him these things, you were not trying to imply that his choice made for a lousy date. Still, there is a good chance this is how he heard your criticism.
Women need to remember that Martians thrive on approval. If the movie is a dud or the dinner a disappointment, you don't have to pretend that you liked it, but it is essential to let him know how much you appreciate the fact that he wanted the evening to be a success.
DEAR JOHN: My wife and I have been married for about 12 years. About six months ago, I quit wearing my wedding band. She, of course, is upset that the ring is off. Why should this be such a big deal?
— Ring Free, in Fort Worth, Texas
DEAR RING FREE: Most women appreciate when a man wears his wedding band because it is an ongoing symbol of his commitment and devotion to the relationship they have built together. If the issue is that the ring just doesn't fit properly, consider getting the band stretched or tightened. If that's not the case and in reality you're simply not a ring guy, slip it on for special occasions anyway. She will appreciate your telling the world that there is one special someone who is more important than anyone else in your life.
John Gray is the author of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” Visit his website, www.marsvenus.com, for advice on dating, marriage, parenting, romance and workplace issues.