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Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex Paperback – April 3, 2012
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“Gray offers a Berlitz of the heart, a translation of that foreign language your spouse is speaking. And hearing.” (USA Today)
From the Back Cover
Rediscover the most famous relationship book ever published
Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to Earth and amnesia set in: they forgot they were from different planets.
Based on years of successful counseling of couples and individuals, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus has helped millions of couples transform their relationships. Now viewed as a modern classic, this phenomenal book has helped men and women realize how different they can be in their communication styles, their emotional needs, and their modes of behavior—and offers the secrets of communicating without conflicts, allowing couples to give intimacy every chance to grow.
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On the other hand, I definitely felt that much of his advice was very heavily slanted in the man's favor, at significant risk of turning the woman into a doormat. For example, when a man withdraws, the author advises the woman to basically just accept it if the man doesn't want to come out and provide the needed or requested support. This ranges from simple requests like "could you take out the trash" to rather necessary errands: "could you take me to the shop to pick up my car so I can go to work" or "could you pick up our kid from school" (taking examples from the book). If someone resisted doing those last two things, especially on a regular basis, I would seriously question his/her priorities, as well as their suitability as a partner and parent.
I would also regard an unwillingness to provide emotional support as a yellow flag, especially if the onus for emotional maintenance falls on one party-- in this book's case, it's usually the woman. Is the man upset? The woman has to give him space and be caring and accepting, no matter how he responds. Is the woman upset? She has to figure out why she's upset, tell the man she's upset, then sit back and... basically leave the rest up to him. If he becomes caring and accepting in turn, great. If he's still distant, then the onus falls back on her to do more work. In other words, many, if not most, of the author's proposed sacrifices seem to fall on the woman to bear, because men are the way they are (i.e., from Mars). I can't really think of a section in which he says, "men, if a woman responds this way, just accept it-- that's how women are."
Overall, I'd keep and re-read the book for its insights, but it's very much picking out what works and glossing over the rest.
- Guys don't talk about their problems unless they need your help.
- Men and women speak different languages and interpret things differently.
*Another disclaimer: valid as in it applies to my relationship, might not apply to everyone's.
I think it does a great job of allowing people to see the differences between men and women, and embraces those as real.
It has helped my boyfriend and I communicate better and have verbiage to describe what we are feeling or what we perceive them to be doing.