Read an Excerpt
What Your Mother Couldn't Tell You
and Your Father Didn't Know
Once upon a time, untold ages ago, men and women were peaceful partners in a hostile and dangerous world. A woman felt loved and respected because each day her mate went out and risked his life to provide for her. She didn't expect him to be sensitive or nurturing. Good communication skills were not a part of his job description. As long as he was a good hunter and could find his way home, relationship skills were not required for a mate to be desirable. As providers, men felt loved and appreciated by women. While surviving was difficult, relationships were comparatively easy.
Men and women existed in different spheres. They depended on each other in order to survive. Food, sex, children, shelter, and security motivated them to work together because the fulfillment of these basic needs required specific roles and skills. Men assumed the role of provider and protector while women specialized in nurturing and homemaking.
It was a natural separation. Biology had determined that a woman gives birth and hence feels a great responsibility for raising children and creating a home. The man honored and respected her role by agreeing to take such dangerous assignments as venturing into the wild to hunt, or standing guard to protect her and their young. Although men would often be out for days in the freezing cold or blazing sun before making a kill, they were proud of these sacrifices because they honored the female, the life giver. Since the partnership between a man and a woman provided the basics of survival and security, their interdependence generated mutualrespect and appreciation.
Now, though, life has changed dramatically. Since we are no longer utterly dependent on each other for security and survival, the rules and strategies of our ancestors have become outdated. For the first time in recorded history, we look to each other primarily for love and romance. Happiness, intimacy, and lasting passion are now requirements for fulfilling relationships.
What your mother couldn't tell you and your father didn't know is how to satisfy your partner's emotional needs without sacrificing your own personal fulfillment. This new agenda can be accomplished only through the practice of new relationship skills.
The social and economic changes of the last forty years have enormously affected traditional male and female roles. Women's leaving the home and entering the workforce has diminished men's traditional value to women. Increasingly independent and self-sufficient, contemporary women no longer feel the same need for men to provide for or protect them.
A modern woman charts her own destiny and pays her own bills. When in danger, she can pull out her Mace or call the police. Most important, she now has much more control over when to have children and how many she wants. Until the discovery of the birth control pill, and the widespread availability of contraceptives, women were biologically determined to have children and to be dependent on men. No more.
We are just beginning to comprehend the changes in relationships that have resulted from the widespread use of birth control and the following sexual revolution. We are living in a time of dramatic transition and sexual tension.
In a sense, men no longer have the job they held for centuries. They are no longer valued and appreciated as providers and protectors. Although they continue to do what they have always done, it suddenly isn't enough to make their partners happy. Women require something else, something more than their mothers did.
At the same time, women are overworked. Not only are they mothers, nurturers, and homemakers, but now they are also providers and protectors. They are no longer protected from the harsh and cold realities of the work world outside the home. How can a wife be expected to be relaxed, sensitive, and pleasing to her husband when an hour before she's had to fight a man for a cab? While women today no longer want to wait on a man at the end of a day, men still want what their fathers wanted--to be waited on.
Times have changed, and we have no choice but to change with them. A new job description is required in relationships. New skills must be learned if a man is to feel needed and appreciated by his mate. A new awareness is required of women if they are to continue working side by side with men, then come home to a loving and nurturing relationship. New skills are required to remain feminine and also be strong.
Our mothers could not teach their daughters how to share their feelings in a way that didn't make men defensive, or how to ask for support so that a man would respond favorably. They did not understand how to nurture a man without mothering him or giving too much. They did not know how to accommodate his wishes without sacrificing their own. They were experts at pleasing their men at their own expense.
In essence, our mothers could not teach their daughters how to be feminine and also powerful. They couldn't teach them how to support their partners and also get the emotional support that they deserved.
Our fathers could not teach their sons how to communicate with a woman without passively giving in or aggressively arguing. Men today have no role models for leading and directing the family in a way that respects and includes their partners' points of view. They do not know how to remain strong while providing emotional support.
failing to teach us things about
relationships that they
could not know.
Our fathers did not understand how to give the empathy and sympathy that women require today. They did not know the little things a woman requires to be fulfilled. They did not know the importance of monogamy and making a woman feel special. Our fathers simply did not understand women. Without that understanding, the contemporary male cannot develop the skills necessary to get the kind of support he now requires in his relationships... Mars and Venus Together Forever. Copyright © by John Gray. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.