A divorced guy I know had me enthralled during a conversation about the end of his marriage. He said the veritable straw that broke the relationship's back was ‘the dirty plates left on the bench instead of stacked in the dishwasher'. His wife went from politely reminding to eventually nagging him — until finally she just packed up and left it all behind.

Sounds like a common scenario, right? The kind we see in TV comedy sketches or hear from friends at weekend barbecues.

This guy really believed that his marriage ended because of a bunch of dirty dishes he overlooked one too many times. But was it really down to this detail or might it have been that she quite simply got tired of being ‘invisible'? The guy wore blinkers that stopped him from seeing the full picture, so eventually she stopped talking and left his field of vision entirely.

There is a lesson in this for us all, including those of us in the business and commercial world. A woman wants to be heard, loved, respected and understood. She wants to know that the relationship is working for both of you. She is keeping up her end of the contract — she chose to buy into you in the first place, and she remains loyal through repeat purchase. She is your fan and talks to everyone about you in the most positive light. At the same time, she too loves to be recognised and rewarded and seen in a positive light. So she expects reciprocal behaviour from you.

Nothing annoys me more ...

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