Men and women have different underlying negative beliefs about themselves. Generally speaking, men are primarily concerned about their productivity. Their self-talk centers around whether or not they're able to produce enough. Can they do a good enough job in the world? Can they be good providers?

Women, on the other hand, worry about their attractiveness. Their self-talk centers around the question am I attractive enough, interesting enough, smart enough to hold my partner's attention? With these underlying negative self-beliefs it becomes very difficult for couples to understand each other.

Most women do not doubt the productivity of the man they're with, despite his self-doubt. They have more faith in his ability than he does. Men don't doubt the woman's attractiveness. It's a given that they find her attractive or they wouldn't be in a relationship with her.

The problem is, when we're functioning from our own negative beliefs no one else exists. We're too caught up in ourselves to sense that the other person even has an issue. Most men would be shocked to learn that the woman they've chosen for a partner worries that she's not attractive. Most women can't conceive that their man doubts his ability to produce. In relationship counseling it becomes necessary to unwind those negative beliefs in the presence of each partner. This allows couples to go to a deeper understanding of the person they're involved with.

Couples often come to therapy ready to defend their position. Often the man will be upset with the woman because he thinks she wants too much. What the man doesn't realize is the woman's appetite is great because she has total faith in his ability to produce and provide. The man, doubting his ability, focuses only on his fear that he'll not be able to afford everything she desires.

Women often come to therapy complaining that the man's focus of attention is not on her. These women have a secret fear that something else is more attractive. The women complain that he spends too much time watching football or playing golf. In doing this, the woman is believing that his preoccupation with sports is a result of her unattractiveness. She forgets that he's a separate person who like many men, really enjoys sports. The truth is it's not only not her fault---it's not even about her.

These are arguments that neither party should really want to win. They're both arguing to defend their fears. Both partners are arguing for their limitations and if either one of them wins that's what they'll be stuck with---their limitations.

As a therapist, Denny has found that if the woman wins and convinces the man that she's right, and if he then joins her in not believing in her attractiveness, the relationship is in deep trouble. The same is true if the man convinces the woman that he is no longer productive. The relationship has little chance to survive when both partners buy one partner's basic fear, whether that fear is doubting attractiveness or productivity.

Take a look and see if you can spot where this dynamic lives in your relationship. Recognition of this dynamic and being willing to own your part and make a course correction can bring your relationship back into loving harmony.

In our first book The New Perspective: Ten Tools for Self-Transformation, we made the case for the idea that your beliefs create your reality. Now we're reminding you that life lived from negative beliefs is based in fear and creates a reality you do not prefer. Shifting your perspective to positive self acceptance creates a positive reality based in love, joy and happiness. You live in a free will universe and you choose your beliefs moment to moment. Your beliefs today determine your reality tomorrow.

(From the book "Art of Relationship: The New Perspective." Other books by Ron and Denny Reynolds, published by Trafford Publishing include "The New Perspective: Ten Tools for Self-Transformmation," and "We Are Here: The Voice of The New Perspective.")

Author's Bio: 

Ron and Denny Reynolds apply to relationships the Spiritual principles outlined in their first book The New Perspective: Ten Tools for Self-Transformation. They've discovered that conscious awareness brings an enhanced sense of love and harmony to every partnership. In addition to using these principles in their own relationship, Ron and Denny have assisted the growth of other couples in countless workshops and retreats. Denny has been a Marriage and Family Therapist for more than twenty years, practicing in Lafayette, California. Ron is a retired radio and television broadcaster and now devotes time to Spiritual teaching and writing. They have two grown sons and a happy life embracing more than forty-seven years together.
Visit their web site at