In the world of self-help books, very few titles can compare to the popularity of John Gray’s Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.
When this title was first published in 1992, it not only helped educate countless men and women from around the globe, but it managed to nestle its way into popular culture and become an instant classic.
Despite the fun and catchy title, this book actually tackles a very serious relationship in many male/female relationships today: a lack of effective communication.
Instead of focusing blame on one person or one gender, this book dives into some of the inherent differences between the way males and females communicate.
Communication is one of the most important factors in finding the right balance in a long-term relationship.
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
Based on the concept that men and women are living on different “planets,” this book helps not only to highlight these differences for the opposing gender but to offer solutions on how both men and women can meet in the middle to have better, more productive communication strategies.
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is a great read for any man or woman, whether they are in a relationship, have been in a difficult relationship in the past, or if they want to be in a successful relationship in the future.
Any person interested in improving their relationship strategies, or looking for relationship advice in general, should read through his entire book.
However, for those looking for some of the key takeaways, this article proves some of the best lessons on effective communication from John Gray’s book.
Men And Women Express Love Differently
In Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, there is a big emphasis placed on love — after all it is a relationship advice book.
One of the biggest takeaways about love from the book actually has nothing to do with talking — it is all about showing. This is one of the biggest keys to keeping love alive in long-term relationships.
This is a very important lesson throughout Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, as communication isn’t always about talking or telling someone something, it is often about showing them or using non-verbal communication in order to get your message across.
According to Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, men will give and give until they are pleased with what they have done. This can be with emotions, money, effort, work, or physical objects. However, women will typically give with the hope that the man will return the gesture.
This is where a lot of disconnect can happen.
Where communication falls short
Both the man and the woman may feel as though they are doing everything they can to show their love and that they are giving love the way they want to receive it. However, the opposing party may not recognize this, and may actually think that their partner isn’t showing love at all.
This is one tip that both men and women should keep in the back of their minds as they continue to take John Gray’s relationship advice, as many communication disconnects actually stem from this one major issue.
If both parties can understand that the other partner simply has a different interpretation of what it means to show and give love, they can move forward.
And on top of all of this, everyone has a different love language.
How to Improve Communication In a Relationship
There are so many little things that men and women can both do in order to improve their communication lines, yet one of the classic disconnects between these two genders often comes when women are not as direct with men while communicating.
There is an old story about men and women communicating that perfectly depicts how this lack of directness can cause misunderstandings.
A man and a woman are driving down the street. The woman points at the ice cream store and says “look! The ice cream store is open.” The man says “yes, it is,” and keeps driving. Later that evening, the woman is upset and asks “why didn’t you stop for ice cream when I asked?” The man is confused and says, “I never heard you ask to stop for ice cream.”
It is a rather small, and rather inconsequential example, but it is one that many people in male/female relationships can relate to.
What went wrong?
Both parties thought they said and heard different things in the same conversation. This is one of the reasons why communication tends to be more effective when women are more direct.
According to John Gray, if a woman wants to go do something with a man, she shouldn’t just ask him what he wants to do. She should, instead, tell him what she wants to do, and then ask him to join.
This is an example of direct communication that doesn’t blur the lines and allows both parties to communicate more clearly.
How to make communication work
John Gray goes on to suggest the following scenario:
- The woman gives the man three options of what she wants to do on a date, a week in advance.
- The man gets to decide but doesn’t tell the woman until the date happens.
- This allows the woman to anticipate the date all week, while the man gets to feel as though he made a decision, while still receiving clear communication on what types of dates the woman wanted to go on.
It may sound like a lot of work, but the key is to start with direct communication on the woman’s part. It can open up new doorways to successful interaction that both parties may have never thought were possible.
Men and Women Have Different Emotional Processes
Emotions have a great deal to do with how we communicate. They can entice us to say certain things, hold different things in, or even respond in ways we may have never thought we would. Emotions can also change our body language and the way we give off signals to one another, even when we don’t realize we are doing it.
Women’s emotions go up and down and have really high-highs and really low-lows. In general, women’s emotions tend to fluctuate more than men’s do.
Men tend to be a bit more steady with their emotions, which can be both positive and negative. While they may not have as deep of a dive into depression, they may also not experience as high of a high when they are happy.
This impacts how each sex processes “alone time.”
Men are much more prone to want alone time when they feel scared or uncomfortable. Men need to be left alone where they feel safe. It scientifically helps them to build up their testosterone and think more clearly. If given the time to retreat to his safe space, a man will come out of this alone time once he has handled the problem internally.
A woman, on the other hand, may feel better by talking it out. She may not understand why her male partner wants to spend time alone processing the issue.
Allowing women and men to process emotions in a way that is comfortable and natural to them is an essential component to keeping communications lines free and open.
Learn to Show Appreciation
So much of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is about the differences between men and women, but there is one big similarity between men and women in relationships—showing understanding is key.
Men and women are different. They are different physically, biologically, emotionally, almost in every way. Yet, the reason so many of these relationships can work out, in the end, is because these differences provide a balance. You just need to find that balance.
Get to know your partner more intimately
If you take the time to really get to understand your partner, it can go a long way in helping them feel loved, valued, and appreciated. Men and women are different, and it is important to accept and understand this. You may be speaking different languages, but if you take the time to really talk to your partner and attempt to understand the place they are coming from it can speak volumes.
Take the time to do things like asking questions, put yourself in the other person’s shoes, or even read relationship advice books, like Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, to show the other person that you want to understand them better because you appreciate who they are and that you want to communicate more clearly.
It can help restore energy in your romantic relationship so that you and your partner can continue to keep your relationship as healthy as possible.