Q&A with John Gray: “He forgets all our important dates!”

By John Gray

Cynthia L. writes: “My boyfriend never remembers any of the dates that are important to me. Valentine’s Day is no big deal to him. My birthday? Forget about it! It’s just another day to him. And of course I’m the one that remembers the anniversaries of day we met. It takes him a while to notice I’m pouting about it. Then he just laughs at me. How can I make him see that this means something to me?”

You tell him. As with any serious communication, when and how will determine if you’ll get your point across. Here are a few tips on how to get his attention, and his commitment:

Tip #1. Timing is everything.

So don’t bring up this topic when:

(a) you’re in a crowd of friends. This gives him a reason to play the clown, and puts your friends in the awkward spot of taking sides;

(b) you’ve just had an argument. That just puts more fuel on the fire of anger you’ve just put out; or

(c) he’s in a silly mood anyway.

Instead, wait until he’s open and receptive. Believe it or not, that could be after lovemaking…

Tip #2. The tone of your voice tunes him in to the importance.

Don’t scold or pout or cry. That immediately puts him on the defensive, which is the opposite effect of what you want. Instead, keep your voice level and sincere.


 If he’s the kind of guy how tries to deflect any serious discussion with a joke, you can order to get his full attention by taking both his hands in yours, looking him in the eye, and saying sincerely: “Whe need to talk about something important to me.”

Then pause. This motivates him him acknowledge he hears you, with a nod, a serious demeanor, or a even a “What is it, babe?”

Tip #3. Say it with respect.

If you try to bully him into doing something, or if you play a guilt trip, he’ll resent it. Instead, speak from your heart. Say something like this:

“Honey, I don’t ask have many requests. But knowing you appreciate our relationship and want to celebrate it is very important to me. I love Valentine’s Day. And it really want you to honor my birthday.” 

Then pause again. This signals him that it’s time for him to say something back—hopefully, something that reassures you that he’s onboard to listen.

Tip #4. Ask him to commit.

To get what you want, you’re going to have to ask for it. That said, after he acknowledges that he’s listening seriously, continue with this: “Here’s what I’m hoping you’ll do: perhaps put these dates on your (online or Blackberry) calendar, a week prior. Mention to me that you’ve planned something. I know it will be something special, because I know how much our relationship means to you, too. And thanks, honey.”

Does this sound a bit presumptive? It should.  What he’ll hear is what you want him to know: That these dates are important to you, and that you trust him to honor this, with actions that will make you happy.

And that’s the bottom line.

More SMW Relationship Articles

Q&A with John Gray: “Why Am I a Lousy First Date?”

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Keith Ablow on Those Three Little Words (“I Love You”)

John Gray is the author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. the
number one best-selling relationship book of the last decade. In the
past ten years, over 30 million Mars and Venus books have been sold in
over 40 languages throughout the world.
His latest book is Mars and Venus Collide: Improving Relationships While Understanding How Men and Women Cope with Stress.  Check out John’s website: www.MarsVenusLiving.com