Why Mars and Venus Collide

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-03-29
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Once upon a time, Martians and Venusians functioned in separate worlds. But in today's hectic and career-oriented environment, relationships have become a lot more complicated, and men and women are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress. To add to the increasing tension, most men and women are also completely unaware that they are actually hardwired to react differently to the stress. It's a common scenario: a husband returns home from work stressed out and eager to kick back on the couch and watch television. A wife returns home from work stressed out and wants to talk about it with her husband. What happens? Neither is on the same page, anger and resentment set in, and Mars and Venus collide. Using his signature insight that has helped millions of couples transform their relationships, John Gray once again arms the inhabitants of Mars and Venus with information that will help them live harmoniously ever after. In Why Mars and Venus Collide, Gray focuses on the ways that men and women misinterpret and mismanage the stress in their daily lives, and how these reactions ultimately affect their relationships. "It's not that he's just not into you; he needs to fulfill a biological need," Gray explains. "And it's not that she wants to henpeck you; she also has a biological drive." He shows, for instance, how a husband's withdrawal is actually a natural way for him to replenish his depleted testosterone levels and restore his well-being, and how a woman's need for conversation and support helps her build her own stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin. Backed up by groundbreaking scientific research, Gray offers a clear, easy-to-understand program to bridge the gap between the two planets, providing effective communication strategies that will actually lower stress levels. Whether in a relationship or single, this book will help both men and women understand their new roles in a modern, work-oriented society, and allow them to discover a variety of new and practical ways to create a lifetime of love and harmony.


Why Mars and Venus Collide
Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress

Chapter One

Here is a scenario that plays out every night, everywhere:

Susan balances her laptop and the grocery bags she is carrying as she opens the door to the condo she shares with her husband, Marc.

"Hi, sorry I'm late. What a day!" she calls out over the sound of the TV coming from the den.

"Hi, hon," he responds. "I'll be there in a sec. Just want to watch this play."

Susan drops the bags on the counter and begins to sort through the mail Marc left there. She pulls a bottle of water from the refrigerator. "I picked up some salad makings to go with the leftover turkey chili," she calls to Marc, who saunters into the kitchen.

"Oh, I finished the chili when you called to say you'd be late. I was starving." He leans in to give her a kiss. "Are you ready for your presentation?"

"I was looking forward to having it for dinner, before I do more work on the PowerPoint. I don't feel it's as good as it could be. My supervisor is really counting on me. I'm so anxious about this."

"I'm sure it's great! You're overthinking it," he says, trying to reassure her. "You're such a perfectionist."

"Not really. I just don't feel it's right yet. This is really important."

"Maybe we should go out for a bite—it will relax you. I can skip the game."

"Are you kidding? I have too much on my mind, and I want to get a good night's rest."

"Well, we could order in—"

"I'm trying to eat healthy food—pizza won't do it. I'll make scrambled eggs or an omelet and toast. I could use some comfort food."

"Whatever . . ."

"By the way, did you remember to pick up my black pantsuit?"

When she sees Marc's expression, her blood boils. "I can't believe you forgot. I planned to wear that suit tomorrow."

"You have a walk-in closet packed with clothes—"

"That's not the point—I even reminded you."

"Well, I'll get up early and be there when the dry cleaner's opens in the morning—I was too tired to do another thing."

"Just forget it. I want to leave early."

"I'm really sorry, Susan—it slipped my mind."

"Right. Thanks a lot. All I wanted was a little help so I can be prepared for an important day tomorrow."

It is clear from this exchange that the evening ahead will not be relaxing for Susan and Marc, who are headed for a fight. At the very best, they will certainly not be in the mood for romance. What happened between Susan and Marc demonstrates friction points that are common in relationships today. Susan's high-pressure job, her expectations regarding her husband's contribution around the house, his forgetfulness, his dismissal of her anxiety, and his attempt to offer solutions to her problems make for an explosive situation.

As you read Why Mars and Venus Collide, you will learn to recognize the assumptions we make every day that fail to take into account how different men and women really are.

We need to challenge our assumptions about how men and women should be and begin to appreciate in practical terms who we are, what we can offer each other, and how we can team up to solve the new problems we face today. We can create a new blueprint for male and female roles that can bring us closer together harmoniously.

Our biggest problem at home is that women expect men to react and behave the way women do, while men continue to misunderstand what women really need. Without a correct and positive understanding of these differences, most couples gradually begin to feel they are on their own rather than relying on the support they felt at the beginning of their relationship.

Women mistakenly expect men to react and behave the way women do, while men continue to misunderstand what women really need.

Men love to solve problems, but when their efforts are misdirected and go unappreciated, they lose interest over time. When this challenge is correctly understood, men become much more skillful in helping women cope with the burden of increasing stress in their lives. This book helps to explain this dilemma in a way that most men can understand and appreciate. Even if a woman's partner doesn't read this book, there is still hope. Why Mars and Venus Collide is not just about men understanding women. It is also about women understanding themselves and learning how to ask effectively for the support they need. Women will learn new ways to communicate their needs, but more important, women readers will learn how to avoid pushing away the support men already want to give.

Here's another scenario:

Joan is cleaning up the remains of the children's dinner when she hears Steve's car pull into the garage. He comes through the mudroom, having an urgent conversation on his cell phone.

"I can't believe they did that. The papers were supposed to be filed at the end of next week. How are we supposed to pull it together by this Friday? Think we can get an extension until Monday? Do your best. Let me know."

He drops his briefcase and slouches against the counter, ready to check his BlackBerry messages.

"Your day sounds as crazy as mine," Joan says. "Would you like to have some wine? We can sit and talk. So much happened today."

"Wine—er, no," he says, distracted by a text message. "I think I'll just grab a beer and watch the news for a bit."

"I couldn't help overhearing your conversation." Joan pulls a bottle of beer from the refrigerator for Steve. "Does this mean you won't be able to go to Kyle's hockey tournament this weekend? He'll be so disappointed. And I have to take Melanie to her dance lesson, and Jake to basketball practice and tutoring. I can't be in three places at once."

"I don't want to think about it right now. It might not even be an issue. If we can't get that date postponed, I'll have all the time in the world this weekend, but I'll be a basket case. We'll work it out—don't worry."

Why Mars and Venus Collide
Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress
. Copyright © by John Gray. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Why Mars and Venus Collide: Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress by John Gray
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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