Unless you’ve been actually living on another planet for the last couple of decades, odds are you’ve heard of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, the #1 best-selling book of the 1990s by mega-author and relationship expert extraordinaire, John Gray, Ph.D.
By focusing on the fundamental differences between men and women and how they seem to contribute to and even cause relationship problems, Gray taught the world many things that are now forever etched in the collective consciousness about men and women in love… his cornerstone ideas being that when men are upset about something they go into “the cave” and withdraw even from those closest to them, while when women are upset they want to emotionally connect.
Gray asserts that men feel better by “fixing” things, and women feel better by “feeling” understood. These opposing responses to stress cause men and women to offer each other the very support they don’t want (women “knocking” on the cave door to offer sympathy when men most want to be alone, men telling their women how to fix whatever they are upset about, instead of simply empathetically listening – only making things worse).
The amazing thing is that Gray has been teaching these ideas for more than 20 years, and in the meantime, science has caught up. That’s right – recent findings of neurologists and social scientists tell us that it’s all true, and that much of what couples experience conflict over can be blamed on our biological differences, especially our distinct gender-based brain chemistry and hormonal responses. (Of note is the famous “tend and befriend” findings out of a UCLA study in 2002 – proving that when women are upset, they seek out loved ones to talk about what they’re going through, which causes them to release oxytocin, a hormone that has a calming, happiness-inducing affect, which is enhanced in women by estrogen, but blocked in men by testosterone. Thus, men don’t feel better by reaching out and talking about their problems…)
And even more recent studies prove just what this implies – that same-sex couples don’t have such conflicts, and are far better able to communicate and resolve challenges without things becoming so hostile or tense. Gray has put all the latest research into a new book, Why Mars And Venus Collide – Improving Relationships By Understanding How Men And Women Cope Differently With Stress.
John Gray talks more in Enlightening Relationships about all the latest tools and strategies couples can employ to heal their relationships. Because, as he explains, what looks like problems between two people is often really a problem of stress – and how by understanding what both partners need from one another they can better manage and minimize the stress that’s ruining the love between them.
Find out from Gray what most triggers and soothes the stress of men, and what most triggers and soothes the stress of women, so that both can know what to do for each other in the face of today’s stressful world. And, since both genders typically offer each other what the other doesn’t want – this is a roadmap we all (heterosexuals anyway) truly need!
Carol Allen is the host of Enlightening Relationships on Karmaair.com and the author of the eBook Love Is in the Stars which can be found at the website of the same name.