The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
Life gets busy. Has Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus been gathering dust on your bookshelf? Instead, pick up the key ideas now.
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Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is a 1992 book on the common relationship problems between men and women. The book believes these differences are a result of psychological differences between the sexes. At the most basic level, the book states that we can distinguish between the sexes based on how they respond to stress. This book has now sold more than 15 million copies and is the highest-ranked work of non-fiction from the 1990s.
John Gray’s Perspective
John Gray is an American relationship counselor, lecturer, and author. He has a background in yoga but then transitioned towards becoming a personal relationship counselor. He also has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in the Science of Creative Intelligence.
Fix-It and the Home Improvement Committee
“Not to be needed is a slow death for a man.” – John Gray
The book starts by describing how each sex works and the type of praise they enjoy.
Men generally prefer to work on their own. They see assistance as an attempt to undermine their capabilities. They exercise their ability to solve problems quickly and love to have these abilities recognized and appreciated. Therefore, they also hate to have their skills ignored or mocked. Men do not generally use feelings to guide their behavior as they believe this produces unreliable results.
Women are entirely different. Women prefer to co-operate and generally avoid working on their own where possible. To women, others working independently are viewed as undermining the team’s efforts to work interactively. Women believe that abilities are generally unimportant, as they result in cold and aggressive competitiveness. Instead, women exercise their feelings through interacting with other women.
Men desire their abilities to be appreciated. Women desire their assistance to be appreciated.
Men Go to Their Caves and Women Talk
As well as differing in the ways they work, men and women differ in how they react to tough problems.
When faced with a difficult problem, the typical reaction for men is to become non-communicative. The reason they do this is that they are hoping to solve this problem by themselves. They do not want interference from others. If men communicate, this is so they can get the point across quickly. In fact, they generally avoid listening where possible.
In comparison, women are always seeking out communication as they want to work out how they can help others. Women also like to show their feelings during this time. They like to communicate for the sake of communicating, and they are more than happy to listen.
How to Motivate the Opposite Sex
“If I seek to fulfill my own needs at the expense of my partner, we are sure to experience unhappiness, resentment, and conflict. The secret of forming a successful relationship is for both partners to win.” – John Gray
Generally, men instinctively look after themselves. This selfishness can be at the detriment of those around them. In a relationship, men have to learn to care for another person: their partner.
On the other hand, women have the instinct to look after others, even at the expense of themselves. In a relationship, women have to learn how to be cared for. If women learn this, then both members of the relationship can have their needs met.
Both sexes winning is better than a relationship based on instinctive behaviors. Issues can arise when one of the partners continues to act on their instincts. They will not be successful in pleasing their partner. This partner could then revert to their instinctive behavior, leading to the relationship unraveling.
Need to feel that their attention is required. Men must express their desire to fulfill their partner’s needs and for her to accept his care.
Need to feel that their needs are being accepted and considered. Therefore, women must express their desire for his care and encourage their man that they are worthy of fulfilling their needs.
Must remember to appreciate, accept, and forgive the other. Must avoid blaming the other when failure occurs.
“Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.” – John Gray
Speaking Different Languages
Men tend to talk in a very literal way. Their primary purpose is to provide information. Therefore, men generally like to sort out their thoughts before communicating. Non-communication can arise, as men want to spend time alone considering their thoughts. Men must reassure women that they are just taking time to think.
Women tend to use language more dramatically and artistically. This allows women to express their feelings fully. Women sort their thoughts out during the process of communicating them. While providing this stream of concerns, women must reassure their partners that they are capable of caring for them.
Both men and women must focus on avoiding the blame game. When partners are dealing with problems, blaming yourself or the partner is not useful.
Language While Struggling
When troubled, men do not want their partner to express concern for him. Instead, men want to be told that the problem at hand is within the man’s abilities. They want to be left to sort the problem out themselves. Sympathy will only feel like the woman is undermining the man’s abilities.
When women are troubled, they love their partner to express concerns for her. Women don’t like being told that the problem is simple. Describing her problems as simple rejects the woman’s concerns. A solution should only be sought when all of the woman’s feelings have been considered.
Too quick a solution justifies his abilities but devalues her concerns; too enduring a problem justifies her concerns but devalues his abilities.
Men Are Like Rubber Bands
“Remember, if a man needs to pull away like a rubber band, when he returns he will be back with a lot more love. Then he can listen. This is the best time to initiate conversation.” – John Gray
Men run away from things when they feel that their self-sufficiency is being threatened. Subsequently, men can become unapproachable. They should be given space during this time, and, if granted, this support should feel better soon enough. This temperamental behavior can be challenging for women, though. Like rubber bands, men snap back into their natural state if given time.
As well as the woman’s reaction being appropriate, men must also give women assurance that they will return to their usual happiness soon.
Women Are Like Waves
“When a woman’s wave rises she feels she has an abundance of love to give, but when it falls she feels her inner emptiness and needs to be filled up with love.” – John Gray
Women periodically sink into a depression when they feel they need to express their emotions. These emotions will have built up over time and can relate to recent or long-standing problems. If they cannot find any real troubles, women might still find other worries. When women feel like this, they will no longer be givers. They will demand the right to express their feelings. If supported and given time to express their feelings, women will recover and soon be back to their usual selves. As men spring between unhappiness and happiness, women’s slow sink into depression and back up to happiness may be hard for men to understand.
Additionally, women must assist their partners by not being overly concerned when they are sinking into their depression. Women should explain to their partners that it is not their partner’s fault.
Issues can arise when a man’s periodic need to be free coincides with a woman’s periodic need to be heard. At this point, the woman should make do with being heard by her friends instead.
How To Avoid Arguments
Arguments are less about what is said and more about the tone of voice and body language. Communication should always be loving and respectful.
One of the most significant flaws of men is their inability to pay sufficient attention to women’s feelings during an argument. On the other hand, one of the most significant flaws of women is being overly critical of men. Either of these flaws can be the trigger for an argument. Each of these flaws can also trigger the flaw in the partner to arise, which further develops the argument.
When men make mistakes, they become frustrated and angry. During this time, women should leave their partners alone so that they can calm down.
Apologies are viewed as different things by different sexes. Men consider apologies to be admissions of guilt. Women consider apologies to be expressions of compassion. This difference leads to issues, as men are much less willing to apologize.
Within arguments, the tone is often different between sexes. Men generally use aggressive words to ensure that they win the argument. Women generally back down during arguments as they don’t want to engage with these aggressive words.
Additionally, men and women adopt different approaches in attempts to avoid arguments. To do this, men will withdraw and refuse to talk. On the other hand, women will pretend that the disagreement has been forgotten and will move on. The peace will always be a cold one, though, and the issues will remain. Therefore, men should listen without getting defensive. Plus, women should try and express their feelings without being critical.
Scoring Points with the Opposite Sex
Men value results and women value the thought. Issues can arise from this difference in values.
If men do not receive what they want, they may suspend giving. In this instance, women will continue to give even though they feel they are giving more. However, the woman will start to feel unloved, unappreciated, and resentful.
There are a few things that men and women can do to overcome these differences. Men should try and identify little ways to show they value their partner without being asked to do so. Men should also avoid the mistake of assuming their partner is happy giving without receiving anything back.
On the other hand, women should avoid pretending that they are happy with the inequality of giving. If women start to feel resentful, they should start to slowly reduce their giving and learn to ask for things in return. Also, women should provide remarks of appreciation when their partner does something loving. These remarks will encourage their partner.
How to Communicate Difficult Feelings
“If we are to feel the positive feelings of love, happiness, trust, and gratitude, we periodically also have to feel anger, sadness, fear, and sorrow.” – John Gray
Avoiding negative feelings doesn’t make them go away. We must embrace negative feelings with compassion, and then we can heal these feelings.
To avoid pain and fear, men tend to show anger and ego. They do this because they are always in the pursuit of success. To avoid these same feelings, women can lapse into depression.
Constructive communication is a critical skill to learn. To engage with this communication, we must also unlearn the repression of negative feelings. One way to do this is to start writing our feelings down. Writing our feelings down allows us to express our negative emotions in a controlled manner, rather than letting them explode. After this, we will be in a better position to explain ourselves calmly.
How to Ask for Support and Get It
Men enjoy proving their worth by doing things. However, they generally wait to be asked and struggle remembering to offer their services. Therefore, women must learn to control their expectations. Men will not always be able to anticipate women’s needs. Women should ask for help when they need it but avoid making it sound like a demand.
Questions that begin with the words ‘Could you’ or ‘Can you’ are often interpreted by men as questioning their abilities. Therefore, they respond more positively to the same questions if they begin instead with ‘Would you’ or ‘Will you’.
It is best to allow a man to do things in a way and at a time that works for him. If a man complains about a request, this is generally a good thing. It means he is considering doing it, and the best approach is to wait for him to come to a decision.
Keeping the Magic of Love Alive
“When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom.” – John Gray
Love inevitably changes over time. The honeymoon period won’t last forever, and we all have flaws that will make relationships difficult. However, understanding the other sex means we can sustainably love each other at a healthier and longer level. To do this, we must accept that our partner is different from us and adapt accordingly.
We rate this timeless book 4.4/5.
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