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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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Relationship counselor John Gray focuses on the differences between men and women--men are from Mars, and women are from Venus, after all--and offers a simple solution: couples must acknowledge and accept these differences before they can develop happier relationships. In this unabridged version, Gray gives a spirited delivery of his message, especially when role-playing typical male/female interactions. Although it takes some time to adjust to his slightly nasal tone, the information is sound and gives both men and women helpful hints on improving themselves and their union. (Running time: 9.5 hours, 6 cassettes) --Sharon Griggins --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Psychotherapist Gray ( What You Feel You Can Heal ) adds to the growing number of self-help books that assess marital and relationship problems in terms of distinct and pervasive gender differences. Unfortunately, his overuse of gimmicky, often silly analogies and metaphors makes his otherwise down-to-earth guide hard to take seriously. Here Martians (men) play Mr. Fix-It while Venusians (women) run the Home-Improvement Committee; when upset, Martians "go to their caves" (to sort things out alone) while Venusians "go to the well" (for emotional cleansing). While graphically illustrative, the hyperbolic, overextended comparisons, particularly in the chapters that refer to men as rubber bands and women as waves, significantly detract from Gray's realistic insights.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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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.