Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, Jack Nicholson
Director: James L Brooks
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Running Time: 121 minutes
How Do You Know, from legendary director/writer James L Brooks, is a humourous and romantic look at the 'How Do You Know' question. When everything she's ever known is suddenly taken from her, Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) begins a fling with Matty (Owen Wilson), a major league baseball player and self-centred ladies man. Before their relationship takes off, Lisa meets up with George (Paul Rudd), a straight-arrow businessman facing his own serious issues, both with his father (Jack Nicholson) and the law.
How Do You Know
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When it comes to knowing if you've met the perfect partner, more than intuition is needed to convince Australians it is the real deal. A national survey commissioned for the home entertainment release of romantic comedy How Do You Know, has revealed that while women value security as the most important quality when starting a relationship, men rate passion and romance as the most essential. The results showed that men and women were on the same page when it came to making a serious commitment, such as moving in together, getting engaged or married. Almost 60 per cent of both sexes wouldn't dream of committing unless they felt the relationship offered security and comfort. The research has also revealed that Australian relationships are not as modern as most would like to think, with strong traditional family values coming through in the results.
When it came to naming what people would put first, their career or their relationship, relationships secured a landslide amongst both genders, with 82 per cent more concerned with protecting their partners than climbing the career ladder.
Dr John Gray, author of the international relationship bible Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, who discussed the survey results, said that it was no surprise that men and women had different points of view at the outset of their relationships.
"The two genders have dramatically different communication styles, emotional needs and personal values. Once a couple has made a commitment to each other, they must work on bridging these gaps to improve their relationship," he said.
When it came to deal breakers in a relationship, Australians are willing to see their partners through job losses and excessive hours in the office, but drew the line when the balance of a relationship tipped towards excess drama and stress over joy and happiness.
"Both Martians and Venusians score the give and take in a relationship differently," said Gray. "Men tend to give larger blocks of points for what they consider to be big acts of love and giving, while women count each act as an individual point.
"When one party in a relationship begins to believe that the balance is off and that they have given more than they have received, resentment develops. At this point, communication becomes very important to help bring the relationship back into balance," he added.
Question: Where you surprised by the difference in what both sexes valued in a relationship?
Dr John Gray: It was actually what I would expect in most cases, the good news is that in Australia there was a greater respect and value for relationships over career and that was surprising to me because in Americas we're starting to loose that and that's unfortunate.
Question: Overall what is the biggest challenge Australian couple are facing nowadays?
Dr John Gray: Well I think the biggest challenge here is what woman are facing all around the world and that is that fast-paced life has a bigger affect on woman in terms of stress hormones than a man. Men's bodies are built for urgency and emergency on a hormonal level whereas with a woman's body it puts there hormones out of balance and that can certainly affect their energy levels and moods and that will certainly affect their relationships.
Question: What types of strong traditional family values were seen in the results?
Dr John Gray: Well we saw strong traditional family values in couples who were prioritising relationship over having a career and that both men and women were looking for security as the primary reason for getting involved in a relationship. Security in the old days would have been a man who makes money whereas nowadays I think the interpretation of security is not just someone who makes money but someone who you can feel comfortable and secure with because they will be there for you, be faithful and they're committed to you. That is what people are looking for today, particularly woman because when you have that commitment from a man that helps to lower the stress along with a little extra romance and better communication.
Question: What are your thoughts on the people (18%) who were more concerned with climbing the career ladder than protecting their partner?
Dr John Gray: Probably in their thirties they will wake up and realise they might have wasted some time and maybe there is some hope then.
Question: Can you tell us about the book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?
Dr John Gray: I wrote the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus twenty years ago and the principles that are talked about in that book are really helpful in terms of relationships, even today. However, relationships have changed a lot today and as I mentioned before we are experiencing higher levels of stress and that creates even more problems in our relationship. Ironically when woman are stressed they're exhausted and they continue doing things. When men are stressed they're exhausted and they do nothing. The woman becomes more stressed because she wonders why he isn't doing anything and he is wondering why she is becoming more stressed.
Question: How do men and women differ most in regards to love and relationships?
Dr John Gray: One of the key differences which has always been true when it comes to love and relationships is that men experience love most profoundly when they're having sex and woman need to experience love through a mans behaviours and then she gets in the mood for sex. So, there is always a battle of the sexes because he wants sex and she wants love. The truth is we both want love but it shows up in different ways.
Question: What is the most important factor for both sexes to consider to ensure their relationship is successful?
Dr John Gray: The most important fact is to recognise there is a lot of extra challenge on relationships nowadays and we should take it easy on our partners and ourselves. When we are feeling stressed naturally we are going to be less patient, more irritable, have less energy and we'll have less to give to the relationship. Rather than expecting our partners to make us happy we need to focus on making ourselves happy and feeling good. That might mean not always catering to our partners needs but making sure that we help and we are responsible for getting what we need to make us happy and then we can overflow and freely give our love and support to our partners rather than keeping score; and thinking why aren't they giving to me when I gave to them because that tends to be the downfall of relationships. What we can realise is by supporting ourselves we are actually providing a foundation to support our partner and our relationship.
Question: Can you talk about the importance of balance in a relationship?
Dr John Gray: The balance between work and home is very, very critical. Generally speaking it's the woman who traditionally would let the man know if he was working too much and that he was missed. When men and woman are working a lot that balance can be thrown off very easily which is why I focus on ways woman can lower stress in their lives. One of those ways is learning a whole new way of communicating where you talk to your partner about how you feel about your day not how you feel about them; talk about your frustrations and some of the stresses you have experienced during the day. In the beginning you can say 'I'm just going to download my day to you, it will only take five to ten minutes and you don't have to say anything or do anything, just be present that is all I require. I start to feel lonely, like I'm the only person who knows my life, I want you to know my life, I don't want you to fix anything or say anything or even do anything and when we're done just give me a hug and that's all I'll need'.
Question: How can a couple address the topic of jealousy within the relationship?
Dr John Gray: Most of the time people are jealous they're being irrationally jealous and we need a reality check. It's a good idea to talk to friends to see if your jealous is warranted because sometimes jealously is warranted; such as a man is being very attentive to another woman and it embarrasses you. One of the ways I have worked on this with woman is to say 'there is nothing wrong with a guy being interested in other woman, that's why he is interested in you, the point is he has picked you over other woman and it is probably embarrassing when it looks like he is picking that other woman. So let's be reasonable about it, let's not make him wrong for being interested in looking, when she's showing a little extra skin and let's not make her wrong for saying 'I want to be the most special person in the room''. One of the resolutions of that is when you notice he is looking at another woman, give him an elbow in the side and he'll know 'oop I'm looking too long' and he should turn and give the woman extra attention. Make it playful rather than 'bad boy'.
In my case, when I'm looking too long my wife gives me an elbow and says 'you're looking too long' and I say 'no, I'm not' and she says 'you're drooling' (laughing).
Question: Do you believe there is that 'one perfect match' for everyone out there?
Dr John Gray: Unfortunately I don't think so; some people just aren't mature enough to have relationships, if they were mature enough there would be a perfect person for them. I think there is more than one, there are plenty of people who could honestly be 'the one'. You'll find someone who has the potential for that and you'll make them 'the one' by making them special in your life and you prioritise the person and you give more to them than anybody else; you make them more important than anybody else. There are certainly lots of possibilities for 'the one' and I know if I was to die before my wife then I would certainly want her to find another 'the one' because she should continue to have the special love that we share and she can find that again.
How Do You Know DVD
Interview by Brooke Hunter