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If you are new here, this is the third episode of our book series – The Book Talk. We have already discussed The 5 am Club and Ikigai. Give them a read!
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.
Finally. To my most favorite book. If I could only choose one book to write about, I’d single out “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” I have fallen so much in love with this book that I adopt some of its strategies like an ardent follower. To top that, my wife & I have already referred this to many of my friends and even ordered a copy for my brother on his birthday. One of my cricket coaches proudly said he has read this book over 15 times. What is it actually about? Let’s jump right in.
Have you ever wondered why your partner doesn’t respond the way you expect? Have you gone crazy sometimes and exclaimed, “God, this is so easy, why won’t my partner understand?” Why does something that looks so basic to you seem like rocket-science to the opposite sex? Don’t worry you are not alone. We know men and women think differently and the difference in perception is the root cause of all the miscommunication and petty arguments. But, is changing your spouse a solution to this problem? The answer is a big NO! You cannot, or should never try to change your partner. Yes, a little compromise won’t hurt but is it fair to alter your spouse’s whole personality to fit your needs? Certainly not. Indeed, one must focus on recognizing how the opposite sex thinks and communicate effectively.
With new insight, you have the added wisdom and power to change your approach rather than seeking to change your partner.
John Gray takes us on a comprehensive ride. He asks us to consider men and women are from different planets; they speak different languages. Naturally, they don’t understand each other fully. But, when they come together, figuring out each other’s language is paramount to living a happy life together. There are countless jewels of advice and strategies discussed in the book that if we begin to write everything, it’d have to be a series in itself. Instead, we’ve decided to discuss only 2 scenarios (and a bonus at the end) that we could both relate to. There were instances while reading a particular paragraph, we remarked: ooh, this is so us! or even felt at some point, Aah, is this what our parents fought over? Was it that simple? We’d share all those oohs and aahs. Remember, these techniques work not just with your partner, but with anyone.
NOTE: You may not be able to relate to everything. Also, sometimes you may experience a role-reversal. It is totally normal. Finally, this book is not meant to stereotype genders but to have an overall understanding of our differences.
1. MR. FIX-IT AND MS. HOME-IMPROVER
Read the following conversation between Mary and Tom, and try figuring out where the problem lies.
The problem here is, men cannot listen without offering a solution. Their sense of self is defined through their ability to achieve results. For a man, achieving goals is utterly important so he proves his competency and eventually feels good about himself. What is more important is achieving those goals by himself. He doesn’t like unsolicited advice. That is why men often don’t seek help. A man keeps his problems to himself unless he seeks expert advice from another man and when he does, the other man feels honored. He immediately puts on his Mr. FixIt cap and tries to solve the issue. This is one of the primary reasons men try to always offer solutions when women talk about problems. Now, reread the conversation and see what Tom was trying to do when Mary shared her problems. Personally, I have repeated this time and again without realization. Oftentimes, this conversation leads to a point where I wouldn’t have any more solutions to offer and as a result, I get frustrated and blurted out: Then, what else do you want to do? You always complain.
When a woman innocently shares her upset feelings, a man mistakenly assumes she is looking for some expert help and so, he begins giving advice; this is his way of showing love and trying to help.
On the other hand, women have different values. They value communication and spend a lot of time supporting each other. They experience fulfillment through sharing & relating. So, for women, a sign of great love is to offer help and assistance to another woman without being asked. Their nature is to improve things, so offering advice and constructive criticism is an act of love. Now, combine this with a man’s attitude of not liking unsolicited advice, you land up at another problem: women often try to fix men, pointing out their mistakes, and men hate it. They resist change. Has something like this ever happened to you?
To summarize, the two most common mistakes we make in a relationship is:
- A man tries to change a woman’s upset feelings by becoming Mr. FixIt. This way, he invalidates her feelings.
- A woman tries to change a man’s behavior when he makes mistakes, by offering unsolicited advice.
In defense of both genders, there’s nothing wrong with either of these behaviors, the only mistake is the timing and approach. So, as a man, offer solutions when a woman is not upset. As a woman, never try correcting a man the moment he makes mistakes. Point his mistakes when he seeks your help.
When our partner resists us, it is probably because we got either the timing or the approach wrong.
What is the solution to this problem?
2. WHEN IN STRESS – MEN GO INTO THEIR CAVES, WOMEN TALK
One of the major differences between men and women is how they handle stress. While a man likes to go into his cave and dwell on his problems all by himself, a woman likes to talk about her problems. Basically, he feels better by solving his problems while she prefers talking about hers. See if you can relate to this example.
We would all have faced such a situation before. Tom must understand that Mary would feel better only by talking about her problems, and Mary must realize Tom being silent doesn’t mean he is avoiding her. He wants to tackle his problems by himself. This understanding occurs when we study how men and women cope with stress.
A Venusian feels good when she has loving friends with whom she can share her feelings and problems. A martian feels good when he can solve his problems on his own in his cave.
A man and his cave: When a man gets upset, he recedes into his cave and withdraws from his surroundings. He doesn’t seek others’ help unless he thinks it is necessary. He starts thinking about all the problems in the order of priority, the most important issue is dealt with first. When he finds a solution, he feels better and walks out of his cave. If he cannot solve his problems, he will try to seek distractions like exercising, watching a match or playing videogames because he wants to achieve little success to forget his actual problems.
Similarly, in a woman’s world, sharing concerns is seen as a sign of love and not a burden. Unlike men, women are not ashamed of having problems. Their egos are not dependent on being “competent.” If you are a man, have you ever been in a situation where you and your wife are arguing something and she suddenly starts talking about a totally irrelevant issue? You’d immediately fire back saying “don’t bring that into the argument. They are two different issues.”
To feel better, women talk about all the problems at once. They talk about the past, future, potential or even problems that have no solutions. The more they talk, the better they feel. This is how women operate, they like to explore. They exaggerate and talk about everything. To expect otherwise is to deny a woman her sense of self.
A woman under stress is not immediately concerned with finding solutions to her problems but rather seeks relief by expressing herself and being understood. To forget her own painful feelings, she may become emotionally involved in problems of others.
How could we make this work? A simple trick that often works is, as a man if you need some “me” time, reassure your wife that you will be back. Politely, let her know how you feel and tell her that you need time alone. Women, never disapprove of a man’s need for withdrawing. Don’t try to help or nurture him by asking questions about his feelings. If he needs advice, he will seek it. Don’t even feel sorry for him.
In the same way, a woman can share her feelings without frustrating a man by reassuring him that he is not being blamed. Tell him upfront that you are glad he is there to listen. Thank him for being patient with all her complaints. Also, it helps big time if you conclude by saying “Well, now that I have talked about it, I feel much better. Thank you.”
We’ve only discussed two of the many amazing strategies discussed in this book, there’s a lot more like how to motivate or score points with the opposite sex, discover each other’s emotional needs, communicate difficult feelings, or ask for support. Some of the practices immediately bore results. My wife was so happy with my visible changes that she adopted some of the methods herself. I’d be lying if I say we have suddenly become the happiest couple, but I’d also be lying if I say this book didn’t make a major impact on our lives. I am so glad I came across this piece and highly recommend this to anyone looking to improve their relationship. I see my relationship as a longtime investment and I sincerely believe I need to invest time & efforts to make this partnership work. Do you feel the same way?
If you like this book, purchase it on Amazon now! US: Amazon.com | UK: Amazon.co.uk
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– Kavi & Ninja
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We promised you a bonus, didn’t we? If you are interested in learning just one more, continue reading.
3. HOW TO AVOID ARGUMENTS
Arguments are inevitable, they are bound to happen. We argue due to our differences or disagreements. This disagreement turns into an argument. Suddenly we stop talking in a loving manner and begin blaming, complaining or even abusing each other.
Just as communication is the most important element in a relationship, arguments can be the most destructive element.
Some couples fight all the time and their love dies. On the other hand, some couples suppress honest feelings to avoid conflict and not argue. As a result, their love for each other fades away. So, it is important to find balance. As a guideline: never argue. Try your best to discuss the pros and cons of something. Negotiate, but do not argue. It is easier said than done, but when we understand the anatomy of an argument and realize why men and women start arguments, we would be able to replace arguments with loving and respectful communication.
Most couples start out arguing about one thing and, within five minutes, are arguing about the way they are arguing.
The reason why arguments hurt is, it is not what we say that hurts but how we say it. Commonly, when a man faces challenges, his attention becomes focused on proving himself right. In the process, he forgets to be loving. He starts shouting in an uncaring manner and upsets his woman. Then he goes on to explain why she should not be upset. But he has to understand that it is not the content but his delivery that caused the upsetness. Similarly, when a woman feels challenged, the tone of her speech automatically becomes mistrusting and rejecting. This rejection is difficult for a man when he is emotionally involved. Women start and escalate arguments by pointing out the negative behavior of their partners. They even give unsolicited advice. At this juncture, a man responds negatively and she is unaware of how hurtful her mistrust is to him.
To avoid arguing, remember that the problem is not WHAT is being said, but HOW it is said. It takes two to argue, but only one to stop it. The best way to stop an argument is to nip it in the bud. Recognize when a disagreement is about to turn into an argument and take a time-out. Cool off, take your time and try communicating again.
THE ANATOMY OF AN ARGUMENT – A hurtful argument usually has basic anatomy. Let’s review the basic male/female pattern:
By being aware of this pattern, we can solve any problems in a fairer way. Do not blame a woman for being upset. Ask her what made her upset and show her that you care. Patiently listen to what she says and respond, “I am sorry that I upset you when I said…” Sometimes, apologizing is difficult. At those times, stay silent.
Men rarely say “I’m sorry” because in their world it means they have done something wrong and they are apologizing. However, in a woman’s world, “I am sorry” simply means “I care about what you feel.” By taking a cue from this, men can shed their ego and stop any argument by simply saying: I AM SORRY. It works like a magic spell. Try.
So, what is the solution?
2 Comments Add yours
Nice one da