Friday, July 20, 2007

Chapter 2
Mr. Fix‐It and the
Home‐Improvement Committee

The most frequently expressed complaint women have about men is that men donʹt listen.
Either a man completely ignores her when she speaks to him, or he listens for a few beats,
assesses what is bothering her, and then proudly puts on his Mr. Fix‐It cap and offers her a
solution to make her feel better. He is confused when she doesnʹt appreciate this gesture of
love. No matter how many times she tells him that heʹs not listening, he doesnʹt get it and keeps
doing the same thing. She wants empathy, but he thinks she wants solutions.
The most frequently expressed complaint men have about women is that women are always
trying to change them. When a woman loves a man she feels responsible to assist him in
growing and tries to help him improve the way he does things. She forms a home‐Improvement
committee, and he becomes her primary focus. No matter how much he resists her help, she
persists‐waiting for any opportunity to help him or tell him what to do. She thinks sheʹs
nurturing him, while he feels heʹs being controlled. Instead, he wants her acceptance.
These two problems can finally be solved by first understanding why men offer solutions and
why women seek to improve. Letʹs pre
tend to go back in time, where by observing life on Mars and Venus ‐‐beforethe planets
discovered one another or came to Earth‐we can gain some insights into men and women.
WE ON MARS
Martians value power, competency, efficiency, and achievement. They are always doing things
to prove themselves and develop their power and skills. Their sense of self is defined through
their ability to achieve results. They experience fulfillment primarily through success and
accomplishment.
Everything on Mars is a reflection of these values. Even their dress is designed to reflect their
skills and competence. Police officers, soldiers, businessmen, scientists, cab drivers,
technicians, and chefs all wear uniforms or at least hats to reflect their competence and power.
They donʹt read magazines like Psychology Today, Self, or People. They are more concerned
with outdoor activities, like huntM fishing, and racing cars. They are interested m the news,
weather, and sports and couldnʹt care less about romance novels and self‐help books.
They are more interested in ʺobjectsʺ and ʺthingsʺ rather than people and feelings. Even today
on Earth, while women fantasize about romance, men fantasize about powerful cars, faster
computers, gadgets, gizmos, and new more powerful technology Men are preoccupied with the
ʺthingsʺ that can help them express power by creating results and achieving their goals.
Achieving goals is very important to a Martian because it is a way for him to prove his
competence and thus feel good about himself. And for him to feel good about himself he must
achieve these goals by himself. Someone else canʹt achieve them for hirn. Martians
pride themselves in doing things all by themselves. Autonomy is a symbol of efficiency,
power, and competence.
Understanding this Martian characteristic can help women understand why men resist so much
being corrected or being told what to do. To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that
he doesnʹt know what to do or that he canʹt do it on his own. Men are very touchy about this,
because the issue of competence is so very important to them.
Because he is handling his problems on his own, a Martian rarely talks about his problems
unless he needs expert advice. He reasons: ʺWhy involve someone else when I can do it by
myself?ʺ He keeps his problems to himself unless he requires help from another to find a
solution. Asking for help when you can do it yourself is perceived as a sign of weakness.
However, if he truly does need help, then it is a sign of wisdom to get it. In this case, he will
find someone he respects and then talk about his problem. Talking about a problem on Mars is
an invitation for advice. Another Martian feels honored by the opportunity. Automatically he
puts on his Mr. FIX‐It hat, listens for a while, and then offers some jewels of advice.
This Martian custom Is one of the reasons men instinctively offer solutions when women talk
about problems. When a woman innocently shares upset feelings or explores out loud the
problems of her day, a man mistakenly assumes she is looking for some expert advice. He puts
on his Mr. Fix‐It hat and begins giving advice; this is his way of showing love and of trying to
help.
He wants to help her feel better by solving her problems. He wants to be useful to her. He feels
he can be valued and thus worthy of her love when his abilities are used to solve her problems.
Once he has offered a solution, however, and she continues to
be upset it becomes increasingly difficult for him to listen because his solution is being
rejected and he feels increasingly useless.
He has no idea that by just listening with empathy and interest he can be supportive. He does
not know that on Venus talking about problems is not an invitation to offer a solution.
LIFE ON VENUS
Venusians have different values. They value love, communication, beauty, and relationships.
They spend a lot of time supporting, helping, and nurturing one another. Their sense of self is
defined through their feelings and the quality of their relationships. They experience
fulfillment through sharing and relating.
Everything on Venus reflects these values. Rather than building highways and tall buildings,
the Venusians are more concerned w ith living together in harmony, community, and loving
cooperation. Relationships are more important than work and technology. In most ways their
world is the opposite of Mars.
They do not wear uniforms like the Martians (to reveal their competence). On the contrary, they
enjoy wearing a different outfit every day, according to how they are feeling. Personal
expression, especially of their feelings, is very important. They may even change outfits several
times a day as their mood changes.
Communication is of primary importance. To share their personal feelings is much more
important than achieving goals and success. Talking and relating to one another is a source of
tremendous fulfillment.
This is hard for a man to comprehend. He can come close to understanding a womanʹs
experience of sharing and relating by comparing it to the satisfaction he feels when he wins a
race, achieves a goal, or solves a problem.
instead of being goal oriented, women are relationship oriented; they are more concerned with
expressing their goodness, love, and caring. Two Martians go to lunch to discuss a project or
business goal; they have a problem to solve. In addition, Martians view going to a restaurant as
an efficient way to approach food: no shopping, no cooking, and no washing dishes. For
Venusians, going to lunch is an opportunity to nurture a relationship, for both giving support
to and receiving support from a friend. Womenʹs restaurant talk can be very open and intimate,
almost like the dialogue that occurs between therapist and patient.
On Venus, everyone studies psychology and has at least a masterʹs degree in counseling. They
are very involved in personal growth, spirituality, and everything that can nurture life, healing,
and growth. Venus is covered with parks, organic gardens, shopping centers, and restaurants.
Venusians are very intuitive. They have developed this ability through centuries of
anticipating the needs of others. They pride themselves in being considerate of the needs and
feelings of others. A sign of great love is to offer help and assistance to another Venusian
without being asked.
Because proving oneʹs competence is not as important to a Venusian, offering help is not
offensive, and needing help is not a sign of weakness. A man, however, may feel offended
because when a woman offers advice he doesnʹt feel she mists his ability to do it himself.
A woman has no conception of this male sensitivity because for her it is another feather in her
hat if someone offers to help her. It makes her feel loved and cherished. But offering help to a
man can make him feel incompetent, weak, and even unloved.
On Venus it is a sign of caring to give advice and suggestions. Venusians firmly believe that
when something is working it can always work better. Their nature is to want to improve
things. When they care about someone, they freely point out what can be improved and suggest
how to do it. Offering advice and constructive criticism is an act of love.
Mars is very different. Martians are more solution oriented. If
something is working, their motto is donʹt change it. Their instinct is to leave it alone if it is
working. ʺDonʹt fix it unless it is brokenʺ is a common expression.
When a woman tries to improve a man. he feels she is trying to fix him. He receives the
message that he is broken. She doesnʹt realize her caring attempts to help him may humiliate
him. She mistakenly thinks she is just helping him to grow.
GIVE UP GIVING ADVICE
Without this insight into the nature of men, itʹs very easy for a woman unknowingly and
unintentionally to hurt and offend the man she loves most.
For example, Tom and Mary were going to a party. Tom was driving. After about twenty
minutes and going around the same block a few times, it was dear to Mary that Tom was lost.
She finally suggested that he call for help. Tom became very silent. They eventually arrived at
the party, but the tension from that moment persisted the whole evening Mary had no idea of
why he was so upset.
From her side she was saying ʺI love and care about you, so I am offering you this help.ʺ
From his side, he was offended. What he heard was ʺI donʹt trust you to get us there. You are
incompetent!ʺ
Without knowing about life on Mars, Mary could not appreciate how important it was for Tom
to accomplish his goal without help. Offering advice was the ultimate insult. As we have
explored, Martians never offer advice unless asked. A way of honoring another Martian is
always to assume he can solve his problem unless he is asking for help.
Mary had no idea that when Tom became lost and started circling the same block, it was a very
special opportunity to love and support him. At that time he was particularly vulnerable and
needed some extra love. To honor him by not offering advice would have been a gift equivalent
to his buying her a beautiful bouquet of flowers or writing her a love note.
After learning about Martians and Venusians, Mary learned how to support Tom at such
difficult times. The next time he was lost, instead of offering ʺhelpʺ she restrained herself from
offering any advice, took a deep relaxing breath, and appreciated in her heart what Tom was
trying to do for her. Tom greatly appreciated her warm acceptance and trust.
Generally speaking, when a woman offers unsolicited advice or tries to ʺhelpʺ a man, she has
no idea of how critical and unloving she may sound to him. Even though her intent is loving,
her suggestions do offend and hurt. His reaction may be strong, especially if he felt criticized as
a child or he experienced his father being criticized by his mother.
For many men, it is very important to prove that they can get to their goal, even if it is a small
thing like driving to a restaurant or party. Ironically he may be more sensitive about the little
things than the big. His feelings are like this: ʺIf 1 canʹt be trusted to do a small thing like get
us to a party, how can she trust me to do the bigger things?ʺ Like their Martian ancestors, men
pride themselves on being experts, especially when it comes to fixing mechanical things,
getting places, or solving problems. These are the times when he needs her loving acceptance
the most and not her advice or criticism.
LEARNING TO LISTEN
Likewise, if a man does not understand how a woman is different, he can make things worse
when he is trying to help. Men need to remember that women talk about problems to get close
and not necessarily to get solutions.
So many times a woman just wants to share her feelings about her day, and her husband,
thinking he is helping, interrupts her by
offering a steady flow of solutions to her problems. He has no idea why she isnʹt pleased.
For example, Mary comes home from an exhausting day. She wants and needs to share her
feelings about the day.
She says, ʺThere is so much to do; I donʹt have any time for myself.ʺ
Tom says, ʺYou should quit that job. You donʹt have to work so hard. Find something you like
to do.ʺ
Mary says, ʺBut 1 like my job. They just expect me to change everything at a momentʹs notice.ʺ
Tom says, ʺDonʹt listen to them. just do what you can do.ʺ
Mary says, ʺI am! 1 canʹt believe 1 completely forgot to call my aunt today.ʺ
Tom says, ʺDonʹt worry about it, sheʹll understand.ʺ
Mary says, ʺDo you know what she is going through? She needs me.ʺ
Tom says, ʺYou worry too much, thatʹs why youʹre so unhappy.ʺ
Mary angrily says, ʺI am not always unhappy. Canʹt you just listen to me?ʺ
Tom says, ʺI am listening.ʺ
Mary says, ʺWhy do 1 even bother?ʺ
After this conversation, Mary was more frustrated than when she arrived home seeking
intimacy and companionship. Tom was also frustrated and had no idea what went wrong. He
wanted to help, but his problem‐solving tactics didnʹt work.
Without knowing about life on Venus, Tom didnʹt understand how important it was just to
listen without offering solutions. His solutions only made things worse. You see, Venusians
never offer solutions when someone is talking. A way of honoring another
Venusian is to listen patiently with empathy, seeking truly to understand the otherʹs feelings.
Tom had no idea that just listening with empathy to Mary express her feelings would bring her
tremendous relief and fulfillment. When Tom heard about the Venusians and how much they
needed to talk, he gradually learned how to listen.
When Mary now comes home tired and exhausted their conversations are quite different. They
sound like this:
Mary says, ʺThere is so much to do. I have no time for me.ʺ
Tom takes a deep breath, relaxes on the exhale, and says, ʺHumph, sounds Ii ike you had a hard
day.ʺ
Mary says, ʺThey expect me to change everything at a momentʹs notice. 1 donʹt know what to
do.ʺ
Tom pauses and then says, ʺ ʺHmmm.ʺ
Mary says, ʺI even forgot to call my aunt.ʺ
Tom says with a slightly wrinkled brow, ʺOh, no.ʺ
Mary says, ʺShe needs me so much right now. 1 feel so bad.ʺ
Tom says, ʺYou are such a loving person. Come here, let me give you a hug.ʺ
Tom gives Mary a hug and she relaxes in his arms with a big sigh of relief. She then says, ʺI
love talking with you. You make me really happy. Thanks for listening. I feel much better.ʺ
Not only Mary but also Tom felt better. He was amazed at how much happier his wife was
when he finally learned to listen. With this new awareness of their differences, Tom learned
the wisdom of listening without offering solutions while Mary learned the wisdom of letting
go and accepting without offering unsolicited advice or criticism.
To summarize the two most common mistakes we make in relationships:
1. A man tries to change a womanʹs feelings when she is upset by becoming Mr. Fix‐It and
offering solutions to her problems that invalidate her feelings.
2. A woman tries to change a manʹs behavior when he makes mistakes by becoming the
home‐improvements committee and offering unsolicited advice or criticism.
IN DEFENSE OF MR. FIX‐IT AND
THE HOME‐IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE
In pointing out these two major mistakes 1 do not mean that everything is wrong with Mr.
Fix‐It or the home‐improvement committee. These are very positive Martian and Venusian
attributes. The mistakes are only in timing and approach.
A woman greatly appreciates Mr. Fix‐It, as long as he doesnʹt come out when she is upset. Men
need to remember that when women seem upset and talk about problems is not the time to
offer solutions; instead she needs to be heard, and gradually she will feel better on her own.
She does not need to be fixed.
A man greatly appreciates the home‐improvement committee, as long as it is requested. Women
need to remember that unsolicited advice or criticismespecially if he has made a mistake‐make
him feel unloved and controlled. He needs her acceptance more than her advice, ʹIn order to
learn from his mistakes. When a man feels that a woman Is not trying to improve him, he is
much more likely to ask for her feedback and advice.
Understanding these differences makes it easier to respect our partnerʹs sensitivities and be
more supportive. In addition we recognize that when our partner resists us it is probably
because we have made a mistake in our timing or approach. Letʹs explore this in greater detail.
WHEN A WOMAN RESISTS A MANʹS SOLUTIONS
When a woman resists a manʹs solutions he feels his competence is being questioned. As a
result he feels mistrusted, unappreciated, and stops caring. His willingness to listen
understandably lessens.
By remembering that women are from Venus, a man at such times can instead understand why
she is resisting him. He can reflect and discover how he was probably offering solutions at a
time when she was needing empathy and nurturing.
Here are some brief examples of ways a man might mistakenly invalidate feelings and
perceptions or offer unwanted solutions. See if you can recognize why she would resist:
1. ʺYou shouldnʹt worry so much.ʺ
2. ʺBut that is not what I said.ʺ
3. ʺItʹs not such a big deal.ʺ
4. ʺOK, Iʹm sorry. Now can we just forget it.ʺ
5. ʺWhy donʹt you just do it?ʺ
6. ʺBut we do talk.ʺ
7. ʺYou shouldnʹt feel hurt, thatʹs not what I meant.ʺ
8. ʺSo what are you trying to say?ʺ
9. ʺBut you shouldnʹt feel that way.ʺ
10. ʺHow can you say that? Last week 1 spent the whole day with you. We had a great time.ʺ
11. ʺ OK, then just forget it.ʺ
12. ʺAll right, Iʹll dean up the backyard. Does that make you happy?ʺ
13. ʺ1 got it. This is what you should do.ʺ
14. ʺLook, thereʹs nothing we can do about it.ʺ
15. ʺIf you are going to complain about doing it, then donʹt do it.ʺ
16. ʺWhy do you let people treat you that way? Forget them.ʺ
17. ʺIf youʹre not happy then we should just get a divorce.ʺ
18. ʺAll right, then you can do it from now on.ʺ
19. ʺFrom now on, 1 will handle it.ʺ
20. ʺOf course 1 care about you. Thatʹs ridiculous.ʺ 2 1. ʺWould you get to the point?ʺ 22. ʺAll we
have to do is... 23. ʺThatʹs not at all what happened.ʺ
Each of these statements either Invalidates or attempts to explain upset feelings or offers a
solution designed suddenly to change her negative feelings to positive feelings. The first step a
man can take to change this pattern is simply to stop making the above comments (we explore
this topic more fully in chapter 5). To practice listening without offering any invalidating
comments or solutions is, however, a big step.
By clearly understanding that his timing and delivery are being rejected and not his solutions,
a man can handle a womanʹs resistance much better. He doesnʹt take it so personally. By
learning to listen, gradually he will experience that she will appreciate him more even when at
first she is upset with him.
WHEN A MAN RESISTS
THE HOME‐IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE
When a man resists a womanʹs suggestions she feels as though he doesnʹt care; she feels her
needs are not being respected. As a result she understandably feels unsupported and stops
trusting him.
At such times, by remembering that men are from Mars, she can instead correctly understand
why he is resisting her. She can reflect and discover how she was probably giving him
unsolicited advice or criticism rather than simply sharing her needs, providing information, or
making a request.
Here are some brief examples of ways a woman might unknowingly annoy a man by offering
advice or seemingly harmless criticism. As you explore this list, remember that these little
things can add up to create big walls of resistance and resentment. In some of the statements
the advice or criticism is hidden. See if you can recognize why he might feel controlled.
1. ʺHow can you think of buying that? You already have one.ʺ
2. ʺThose dishes are still wet. Theyʹll dry with spotsʺ
3. ʺYour hair is getting kind of long, isnʹt It?ʺ
4. ʺThereʹs a parking spot over there, turn [the car] around.ʺ
5. ʺYou want to spend time with your friends, what about me?ʺ
6. ʺYou shouldnʹt work so hard. Take a day off.ʺ
7. ʺDonʹt put that there. It will get lost.ʺ
8. ʺYou should call a plumber. Heʹll know what to do.ʺ
9. ʺWhy are we waiting for a table? Didnʹt you make reservations? ʺ
10. ʺYou should spend more time with the kids. They miss you. ʺ
11. ʺYour office is still a mess. How can you think in here? When are you going to clean it up> ʺ
12. ʺYou forgot to bring it home again. Maybe you could put it in a special place where you can
remember it.ʺ
13. ʺYouʹre driving too fast. Slow down or youʹll get a ticket.ʺ
14. ʺNext time we should read the movie reviews.ʺ
15. ʺI didnʹt know where you were.ʺ (You should have called.)
16. ʺSomebody drank from the juice bottle.ʺ
17. ʺDonʹt eat with your fingers. Youʹre setting a bad example.ʺ
18. ʺThose potato chips are too greasy. Theyʹre not good for your heart.ʺ
19. ʺYou are not leaving yourself enough time.ʺ
20. ʺYou should give me more [advance] notice. 1 canʹt just drop everything and go to lunch
with you.ʺ
21. ʺYour shirt doesnʹt match your pants.ʺ
22. ʺBill called for the third time. When are you going to call him back?ʺ
23. ʺYour toolbox is such a mess. 1 canʹt find anything. You should organize it.ʺ
When a woman does not know how to directly ask a man for support (chapter 12) or
constructively share a difference of opinion (chapter 9), she may feel powerless to get what she
needs without giving unsolicited advice or criticism (again, we explore this topic more fully
later on). To practice giving acceptance and not giving advice and criticism is, however, a big
step.
By clearly understanding he is rejecting not her needs but the way she is approaching him,
she can take his rejection less personally and explore more supportive ways of communicating
her needs. Gradually she will realize that a man wants to make improvements when he feels he
is being approached as the solution to a problem rather than as the problem itself.
If you are a woman, 1 suggest that for the next week practice restraining from giving any
unsolicited advice or criticism. The men in your life not only will appreciate it but also will be
more attentive and responsive to you.
If you are a man, 1 suggest that for the next week you practice listening whenever a woman
speaks, with the sole intention of respectfully understanding what she is going through.
Practice biting your tongue whenever you get the urge to offer a solution or change how she is
feeling. You will be surprised when you experience how much she appreciates you.
Chapter 1
Men Are from Mars
Women Are from Venus
Imagine that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. One day long ago the Martians,
looking through their telescopes, discovered the Venusians. just glimpsing the Venusians
awakened feelings they had never known. They fell in love and quickly invented space travel
and flew to Venus.
The Venusians welcomed the Martians with open arms. They had intuitively known that this
day would come. Their hearts opened wide to a love they had never felt before.
The love between the Venusians and Martians was magical. They delighted in being together,
doing things together, and sharing together. Though from different worlds, they reveled in
their differences. They spent months learning about each other, exploring and appreciating
their different needs, preferences, and behavior patterns. For years they lived together in love
and harmony.
Then they decided to fly to Earth. In the beginning everything was wonderful and beautiful.
But the effects of Earthʹs atmosphere took hold, and one morning everyone woke up with a
peculiar kind of amnesiaselective amnesia!
Both the Martians and Venusians forgot that they were from different planets and were
supposed to be different. In one morning everything they had learned about their differences
was erased from their memory. And since that day men and women have been in conflict.
REMEMBERING OUR DIFFERENCES
Without the awareness that we are supposed to be different, men and women are at odds with
each other. We usually become angry or frustrated with the opposite sex because we have
forgotten this important truth. We expect the opposite sex to be more like ourselves. We desire
them to ʺwant what we wantʺ and ʺfeel the way we feel.ʺ
We mistakenly assume that if our partners love us they will react and behave in certain
ways‐the ways we react and behave when we love someone. This attitude sets us up to be
disappointed again and
in and prevents us from taking the necessary time to communicate lovingly about our
differences.
Men mistakenly expect women to think, communicate, and react the way men do; women
mistakenly expect men to feel, communicate, and respond the way women do. We have
forgotten that men and women are supposed to be different. As a result our relationships are
filled with unnecessary friction and conflict.
Clearly recognizing and respecting these differences dramatically reduce confusion when
dealing with the opposite sex. When you remember that men are from Mars and women are
from Venus, everything can be explained.
AN OVERVIEW OF OUR DIFFERENCES
Throughout this book I will discuss in great detail our differences. Each chapter will bring you
new and crucial insights. Here are the major differences that we will explore:
In chapter 2 we will explore how menʹs and womenʹs values are inherently different and try to
understand the two biggest mistakes we make in relating to the opposite sex: men mistakenly
offer solutions and invalidate feelings while women offer unsolicited advice and direction.
Through understanding our MartianlVenusian background it becomes obvious why men and
women unknowingly make these mistakes. By remembering these differences we can correct
our mistakes and immediately respond to each other in more productive ways.
In chapter 3 weʹll discover the different ways men and women cope with stress. While Martians
tend to pull away and silently think about whatʹs bothering them, Venusians feel an instinctive
need to talk about whatʹs bothering them. You will learn new strategies for getting what you
want at these conflicting times.
We will explore how to motivate the opposite sex in chapter 4. Men are motivated when they
feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished. We will discuss the three
steps for improving relationships and explore how to overcome our greatest challenges: men
need to overcome their resistance to giving love while women must overcome their resistance
to receiving it.
In chapter 5 youʹll learn how men and women commonly misunderstand each other because
they speak different languages. A Martian/Venusian Phrase Dictionary is provided to translate
commonly misunderstood expressions. You will learn how men and women speak and even
stop speaking for entirely different reasons. Women will learn what to do when a man stops
talking, and men will learn how to listen better without becoming frustrated.
In chapter 6 you will discover how men and women have different needs for intimacy. A man
gets close but then inevitably needs to Pull away. Women will learn how to support this
pulling‐away process
so he will spring back to her like a rubber band. Women also will learn the best times for
having intimate conversations with a man.
We will explore in chapter 7 how a womanʹs loving attitudes rise and fall rhythmically in a
wave motion. Men will learn how correctly to interpret these sometimes sudden shifts of
feeling. Men also will learn to recognize when they are needed the most and how to be
skilfully supportive at those times without having to make sacrifices.
In chapter 8 youʹll discover how men and women give the kind of love they need and not what
the opposite sex needs. Men primarily need a kind of love that is trusting, accepting, and
appreciative. Women primarily need a kind of love that is caring, understanding, and
respectful. You will discover the six most common ways you may unknowingly be turning off
your partner.
In chapter 9 we will explore how to avoid painful arguments. Men will learn that by acting as if
they are always right they may invalidate a womanʹs feelings. Women will learn how they
unknowingly send messages of disapproval instead of disagreement, thus igniting a manʹs
defenses. The anatomy of an argument will be explored along with many practical suggestions
for establishing supportive communication.
Chapter 10 will show how men and women keep score differently. Men will learn that for
Venusians every gift of love scores equally with every other gift, regardless of size. Instead of
focusing on one big gift men are reminded that the little expressions of love are just as
important; 101 ways to score points with women are listed. Women, however, will learn to
redirect their energies into ways that score big with men by giving men what they want.
In chapter 11 youʹll learn ways to communicate with each other during difficult times. The
different ways men and women hide feelings are discussed along with the importance of
sharing feelings. The Love Letter Technique is recommended for expressing negative feelings
to your partner, as a way of finding greater love and forgiveness.
You will understand why Venusians have a more difficult time
asking for support in chapter 12, as well as why Martians commonly resist requests. You will
learn how the phrases ʺcould youʺ and ʺcan youʺ turn off men and what to say instead. You will
learn the secrets for encouraging a man to give more and discover in various ways the power of
being brief, direct, and using the correct wording.
in chapter 13 youʹll discover the four seasons of love. This realistic perspective of how love
changes and grows will assist you in overcoming the inevitable obstacles that emerge in any
relationship. You will learn how your past or your partnerʹs past can affect your relationship in
the present and discover other important insights for keeping the magic of love alive.
In each chapter of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus you will discover new secrets for
creating loving and lasting relationships. Each new discovery will increase your ability to have
fulfilling relationships.
GOOD INTENTIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH
Falling in love is always magical. It feels eternal, as if love will last forever. We naively believe
that somehow we are exempt from the problems our parents had, free from the odds that love
will die, assured that it is meant to be and that we are destined to live happily ever after.
But as the magic recedes and daily life takes over, it emerges that men continue to expect
women to think and react like men, and women expect men to feel and behave like women.
Without a clear awareness of our differences, we do not take the time to understand and respect
each other. We become demanding, resentful, judgmental, and intolerant.
With the best and most loving intentions love continues to die. Somehow the problems creep
in. The resentments build. Communication breaks down. Mistrust increases. Rejection and
repression result. The magic of love is lost.
We ask ourselves:
How does it happen?
Why does it happen?
Why does it happen to us?
To answer these questions our greatest minds have developed brilliant and complex
philosophical and psychological models. Yet still the old patterns return. Love dies. It happens
to almost everyone.
Each day millions of individuals are searching for a partner to experience that special loving
feeling. Each year, millions of couples join together in love and then painfully separate because
they have lost that loving feeling. From those who are able to sustain love long enough to get
married, only 50 percent stay married. Out of those who stay together, possibly another 50
percent are not fulfilled. They stay together out of loyalty and obligation or from the fear of
starting over.
Very few people, indeed, are able to grow in love. Yet, it does happen. When men and women
are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom.
Through understanding the hidden differences of the opposite sex we can more successfully
give and receive the love that is in our hearts. By validating and accepting our differences,
creative solutions can be discovered whereby we can succeed in getting what we want. And,
more important, we can learn how to best love and support the people we care about.Love is magical, and it can last, if we remember our differences.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus

Introduction
A week after our daughter Lauren was born, my wife Bonnie and 1 were completely exhausted.
Each night Lauren kept waking us. Bonnie had been torn in the delivery and was taking
painkillers. She could barely walk. After five days of staying home to help, I went back to
work. She seemed to be getting better.
While 1 was away she ran out of pain pills. Instead of calling me at the office, she asked one of
my brothers, who was visiting, to purchase more. My brother, however, did not return with the
pills. Consequently, she spent the whole day in pain, taking care of a newborn.
I had no idea that her day had been so awful. When I returned home she was very upset. I
misinterpreted the cause of her distress and thought she was blaming me.
She said, ʺIʹve been in pain all day.... I ran out of pills. Iʹve been stranded in bed and nobody
cares!ʺ
1 said defensively, ʺWhy didnʹt you call me?ʺ
She said, ʺI asked your brother, but he forgot! Iʹveʹ been waiting for him to return all day. What
am I supposed to do? 1 can barely walk. I feel so deserted!ʺ
At this point 1 exploded. My fuse was also very short that day. I was angry that she hadnʹt
called me. 1 was furious that she was blaming me when I didnʹt even know she was in pain.
After exchanging a few harsh words, I headed for the door. I was fired,
irritable, and had heard enough. We had both reached our limits.
Then something started to happen that would change my life.
Bonnie said, ʺStop, please donʹt leave. This is when I need you
the most. Iʹm in pain. I haven ʹt slept in days. Please listen to me.ʺ
I stopped for a moment to listen.
She said, ʺJohn Gray, youʹre a fair‐weather friend! As long as Iʹm sweet, loving Bonnie you are
here for me, but as soon as Iʹm not, you walk right out that door.ʺ
Then she paused, and her eyes filled up with tears. As her tone shifted she said, ʺRight now Iʹm
in pain. 1 have nothing to give, this is when 1 need you the most. Please, come over here and
hold me. You donʹt have to say anything. I just need to feel your arms around me. Please donʹt
go.ʺ
I walked over and silently held her. She wept in my arms. After a few minutes, she thanked me
for not leaving. She told me that she just needed to feel me holding her.
At that moment I started to realize the real meaning of loveunconditional love. I had always
thought of myself as a loving person. But she was right. I had been a fair‐weather friend. As
long as she was happy and nice, I loved back. But if she was unhappy or upset, I would feel
blamed and then argue or distance myself.
That day, for the fast time, I didnʹt leave her. 1 stayed, and it felt great. I succeeded in giving to
her when she really needed me. This felt like real love. Caring for another person. Trusting in
our love. Being there at her hour of need. I marveled at how easy it was for me to support her
when 1 was shown the way.
How had I missed this? She just needed me to go over and hold her. Another woman would
have instinctively known what Bonnie needed. But as a man, 1 didnʹt know that touching,
holding, and listening were so important to her. By recognizing these differences I began to
learn a new way of relating to my wife. 1 would have never believed we could resolve conflict
so easily.
In my previous relationships, I had become indifferent and unloving at difficult times, simply
because I didnʹt know what else to do. As a result, my first marriage had been very painful and
difficult.
Ibis incident with Bonnie revealed to me how 1 could change this pattern.
It inspired my seven years of research to help develop and refine the insights about men and
women in this book. By learning in very practical and specific terms about how men and
women are different, 1 suddenly began to realize that my marriage did not need to be such a
struggle. With this new awareness of our differences Bonnie and 1 were able to improve
dramatically our communication and enjoy each other more.
By continuing to recognize and explore our differences we have discovered new ways to
improve all our relationships. We have learned about relationships in ways that our parents
never knew and therefore could not have taught us. As 1 began sharing these insights with my
counseling clients, their relationships were also enriched. Literally thousands of those who
attended my weekend seminars saw their relationships dramatically transform overnight.
Seven years later individuals and couples still report successful benefits. 1 receive pictures of
happy couples and their children, with letters thanking me for saving their marriage. Although
their love saved their marriage, they would have divorced if they hadnʹt gained a deeper
understanding of the opposite sex.
Susan and Jim had been married nine years. Like most couples they started out loving each
other, but after years of increasing frustration and disappointment they lost their passion and
decided to give up. Before getting a divorce, however, they attended my weekend relationship
seminar. Susan said, ʺWe have tried everything to make this relationship work. We are just too
different.ʺ
During the seminar they were amazed to learn that their differences were not only normal but
were to be expected. They were comforted that other couples had experienced the same patterns
of relating. In just two days, Susan and Jim gained a totally new understanding of men and
women.
They fell in love again. Their relationship miraculously changed. No longer heading toward a
divorce, they looked forward to sharing the rest of their lives together. Jim said, ʺThis
information about
our differences has given me back my wife. This is the greatest gift I could ever receive. We are
loving each other again.ʺ
Six years later, when they invited me to visit their new home and family, they were still loving
each other. They were still dunking me for helping them to understand each other and stay
married.
Although almost everyone would agree that men and women are different, how different is
still undefined for most people. Many books in the last ten years have forged ahead,
attempting to define these differences. Though important advances have been made, many
books are one‐sided and unfortunately reinforce mistrust and resentment toward the opposite
sex. One sex is generally viewed as being victimized by the other. A definitive guide was
needed for understanding how healthy men and women are different.
To improve relations between the sexes it is necessary to create an understanding of our
differences that raises self‐esteem and personal dignity while inspiring mutual trust, personal
responsibility, increased cooperation, and greater love. As a result of questioning more than
25,000 participants in my relationship seminars 1 have been able to define in positive terms
how men and women are different. As you explore these differences you will feel walls of
resentment and mistrust melting down.
Opening the heart results m greater forgiveness and increased motivation to give and receive
love and support. With this new awareness, you will, 1 hope, go beyond the suggestions in this
book and continue to develop ways in which you can relate lovingly to the opposite sex.
All of the principles in this book have been tested and tried. At least 90 percent of the more
than 25,000 individuals questioned have enthusiastically recognized themselves ʹm these
descriptions. If you find yourself nodding your head while reading this book, saying ʺYes, yes
this is me youʹre talking about,ʺ then you are definitely not alone. And just as others have
benefited from applying the insights in this book, you can as well.
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus reveals new strategies for reducing tension in
relationships and creating more
love by first recognizing in great detail how men and women are different. It then offers
practical suggestions about how to reduce frustration and disappointment and to create
increasing happiness and intimacy. Relationships do not have to be such a struggle. Only when
we do not understand one another is there tension, resentment, or conflict.
So many people are frustrated in their relationships. They love their partners, but when there is
tension they do not know what to do to make things better. Through understanding how
completely different men and women are, you will learn new ways for successfully relating
with, listening to, and supporting the opposite sex. You will learn how to create the love you
deserve. As you read this book you may wonder how anybody succeeds in having a successful
relationship without it.
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is a manual for loving relationships in the 1990s. It
reveals how men and women differ in all areas of their lives. Not only do men and women
cornmunicate differently but they think, feel, perceive, react, respond, love, need, and
appreciate differently. They almost seem to be from different planets, speaking different
languages and needing different nourishment.
This expanded understanding of our differences helps resolve much of the frustration in
dealing with and trying to understand the opposite sex. Misunderstandings can then be
quickly dissipated or avoided. Incorrect expectations are easily corrected. When you remember
that your partner is as different from you as someone from another planet, you can relax and
cooperate with the differences instead of resisting or trying to change them.
Most important, throughout this book you will learn practical techniques for solving the
problems that arise from our differences. This book is not just a theoretical analysis of
psychological differences but also a practical manual for how to succeed in creating loving
relationships.
The truth of these principles is self‐evident and can be validated by your own experience as
well as by common sense. Many exam
ples will simply and concisely express what you have always intuitively known. This
validation will assist you in being you and in not losing yourself in your relationships.
In response to these insights, men often say ʺThis is exactly how 1 am. Have you been
following me around? I no longer feel like something is wrong with me.ʺ
Women often say ʺFinally my husband listens to me. I donʹt have to fight to be validated. When
you explain our differences, my husband understands. Thank you!ʺ
These are but a few of the thousands of inspirational comments that people have shared after
learning that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The results of this new program
for understanding the opposite sex are not only dramatic and immediate but also long lasting.
Certainly the journey of creating a loving relationship can be rocky at times. Problems are
inevitable. But these problems either can be sources of resentment and rejection or can be
opportunities for deepening intimacy and increasing love, caring, and trust. The insights of this
book are not a ʺquick fixʺ to eliminate all problems. Instead they provide a new approach
whereby your relationships can successfully support you in solving lifeʹs problems as they
arise. With this new awareness you will have the tools you need to get the love you deserve and
to give your partner the love and support he or she deserves.
1 make many generalizations about men and women in this book. Probably you will find some
comments truer than others ... after all, we are unique individuals with unique experiences.
Sometimes in my seminar couples and individuals will share that they relate to the examples of
men and women but in an opposite way. The man relates to my descriptions of women and the
woman relates to my descriptions of men. I call this role reversal.
If you discover you are experiencing role reversal, I want to assure you that everything is all
right. I suggest that when you do not relate to something in this book, either ignore it (moving
on to
something you do relate to) or look deeper inside yourself. Many men have denied some of
their masculine attributes in order to become more loving and nurturing. Likewise many
women have denied some of their feminine attributes in order to earn a living in a work force
that rewards masculine attributes. If this is the case, then by applying the suggestions,
strategies, and techniques in this book you not only will create more passion in your
relationships but also will increasingly balance your masculine and feminine characteristics.
In this book 1 do not directly address the question of why men and women are different. This
is a complex question to which there are many answers, ranging from biological differences,
parental influence, education, and birth order to cultural conditioning by society, the media,
and history. (These issues are explored in great depth in my book Men, Women, and
Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex.)
Although the benefits of applying the insights in this book are immediate, this book does not
replace the need for therapy and counseling for troubled relationships or survivors of a
dysfunctional family. Even healthy individuals may need therapy or counseling at challenging
times. 1 believe strongly in the powerful and gradual transformation that occurs in therapy,
marriage counseling, and twelve‐step recovery groups.
Yet repeatedly 1 have heard people say that they have benefited more from this new
understanding of relationships than from years of therapy. 1 however believe that their years of
therapy or recovery work provided the groundwork that allowed them to apply these insights
so successfully to their life and relationships.
If our past was dysfunctional, then even after years of therapy or attending recovery groups we
still need a positive picture of healthy relationships. This book provides that vision. On the
other hand, even if our past has been very loving and nurturing, times have changed, and a new
approach to relationships between the sexes is still required. It is essential to learn new and
healthy ways of relating and communicating.
1 believe everyone can benefit from the insights in this book. The
only negative response I hear from participants in my seminars and in the letters I receive is ʺI
wish someone had told me this before.ʺ
It is never too late to increase the love in your life. You only need to learn a new way. Whether
you are in therapy or not, if you want to have more fulfilling relationships with the opposite
sex, this book is for you.
It is a pleasure to share with you Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. May you always
grow in wisdom and in love. May the frequency of divorce decrease and the number of happy
marriages increase. Our children deserve a better world.