Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships

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by John Gray, George Guidall

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Popular marriage counselor and seminar leader John Gray provides a unique, practical and proven way for men and women to communicate and relate better by acknowledging the differences between them. Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to


Popular marriage counselor and seminar leader John Gray provides a unique, practical and proven way for men and women to communicate and relate better by acknowledging the differences between them. Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to earth and amnesia set in: they forgot they were from different planets.

Using this metaphor to illustrate the commonly occurring conflicts between men and women, Gray explains how these differences can come between the sexes and prohibit mutually fulfilling loving relationships.

Based on years of successful counseling of couples, he gives advice on how to counteract these differences in communication styles, emotional needs and modes of behavior to promote a greater understanding between individual partners. Gray shows how men and women react differently in conversation and how their relationships are affected by male intimacy cycles ('get close,' 'back off'), and female self-esteem fluctuations ('I'm okay,' 'I'm not okay'). He encourages readers to accept the other gender's particular way of expressing love, and helps men and women learn how to fulfill one another's emotional needs.

With practical suggestions on how to reduce conflict, crucial information on how to interpret a partner's behavior and methods for preventing emotional 'trash from the past' from invading new relationships, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is a valuable tool for couples who want to develop deeper and more satisfying relationships with their partners.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships
John Gray, the popular marriage counselor and seminar leader, has written a book on improving communication between men and women. This perpetual bestseller acknowledges that you and your partner met, fell in love, and got married because you respected and accepted each other's differences. However, differences can result in conflicts between you and your spouse, and Gray's book offers great advice for sustaining a mutually fulfilling, loving, long-lasting relationship.
Readers Catalog
It is rare to find a non-fiction book that is a page turner, but John Gray has written one. — Susan Page
Library Journal
"If you have only one title on interpersonal relations and communications in marriage, this should be it."
Michael Anderson
John Gray suggests that men and women are from different planets and that this 'fact' explains commonly occuring conflicts between them. He offers 'advice on understanding the opposite sex and achieving satisfactory relationships. He argues that . . . men and women have different values, communication styles, and intimate needs, then offers practical tips on avoiding painful arguments, asking for support, and communicating during difficult times. His 'Venusian/Martian' phrase dictionary lists statements made by men and women and the ways in which they are often misinterpreted.' -- Library Journal
The Readers Catalog
It is rare to find a non-fiction book that is a page turner, but John Gray has written one. -- Susan Page
USA Today
“Gray offers a Berlitz of the heart, a translation of that foreign language your spouse is speaking. And hearing.”

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Read an Excerpt

Imagine that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. One day long ago the Martians, looking through their telescopes, discovered the Venusians. Just glimpsing the Venusians awakened feelings they had never known. They fell in love and quickly invented space travel and flew to Venus.
The Venusians welcomed the Martians with open arms. They had intuitively known that this day would come. Their hearts opened wide to a love they had never felt before.
The love between the Venusians and Martians was magical. They delighted in being together, doing things together, and sharing together. Though from different worlds, they reveled in their differences. They spent months learning about each other, exploring and appreciating their different needs, preferences, and behavior patterns. For years they lived together in love and harmony.
Then they decided to fly to Earth. In the beginning everything was wonderful and beautiful. But the effects of Earth's atmosphere took hold, and one morning everyone woke up with a peculiar kind of amnesia-selective amnesia!
Both the Martians and Venusians forgot that they were from different planets and were supposed to be different. In one morning everything they had learned about their differences was erased from their memory. And since that day men and women have been in conflict.


Without the awareness that we are supposed to be different, men and women are at odds with each other. We usually become angry or frustrated with the opposite sex because we have forgotten this important truth. We expect the opposite sex to be more like ourselves. We desire them to "want what we want" and "feel the way wefeel."
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. This attitude sets us up to be disappointed again and again and prevents us from taking the necessary time to communicate lovingly about our differences.

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.

Men mistakenly expect women to think, communicate, and react the way men do; women mistakenly expect men to feel, communicate, and respond the way women do. We have forgotten that men and women are supposed to be different. As a result our relationships are filled with unnecessary friction and conflict.
Clearly recognizing and respecting these differences dramatically reduce confusion when dealing with the opposite sex. When you remember that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, everything can be explained.


Throughout this book I will discuss in great detail our differences. Each chapter will bring you new and crucial insights. Here are the major differences that we will explore:
In chapter 2 we will explore how men's and women's values are inherently different and try to understand the two biggest mistakes we make in relating to the opposite sex: men mistakenly offer solutions and invalidate feelings while women offer unsolicited advice and direction. Through understanding our Martian/Venusian background it becomes obvious why men and women unknowingly make these mistakes. By remembering these differences we can correct our mistakes and immediately respond to each other in more productive ways.
In chapter 3 we'll discover the different ways men and women cope with stress. While Martians tend to pull away and silently think about what's bothering them, Venusians feel an instinctive need to talk about what's bothering them. You will learn new strategies for getting what you want at these conflicting times.
We will explore how to motivate the opposite sex in chapter 4. Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished. We will discuss the three steps for improving relationships and explore how to overcome our greatest challenges: men need to overcome their resistance to giving love while women must overcome their resistance to receiving it.
In chapter 5 you'll learn how men and women commonly misunderstand each other because they speak different languages. A Martian/Venusian Phrase Dictionary is provided to translate commonly misunderstood expressions. You will learn how men and women speak and even stop speaking for entirely different reasons. Women will learn what to do when a man stops talking, and men will learn how to listen better without becoming frustrated.
In chapter 6 you will discover how men and women have different needs for intimacy. A man gets close but then inevitably needs to pull away. Women will learn how to support this pulling-away process so he will spring back to her like a rubber band. Women also will learn the best times for having intimate conversations with a man.
We will explore in chapter 7 how a woman's loving attitudes rise and fall rhythmically in a wave motion. Men will learn how correctly to interpret these sometimes sudden shifts of feeling. Men also will learn to recognize when they are needed the most and how to be skillfully supportive at those times without having to make sacrifices.
In chapter 8 you'll discover how men and women give the kind of love they need and not what the opposite sex needs. Men primarily need a kind of love that is trusting, accepting, and appreciative. Women primarily need a kind of love that is caring, understanding, and respectful. You will discover the six most common ways you may unknowingly be turning off your partner.
In chapter 9 we will explore how to avoid painful arguments. Men will learn that by acting as if they are always right they may invalidate a woman's feelings. Women will learn how they unknowingly send messages of disapproval instead of disagreement, thus igniting a man's defenses. The anatomy of an argument will be explored along with many practical suggestions for establishing supportive communication.

Meet the Author

John Gray, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading relationship experts, and an authority on improving communication styles for couples, companies, and communities. His many books have sold more than fifty million copies in fifty different languages worldwide. John lives with his wife and children in northern California.

Brief Biography

San Francisco, California
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Houston, Texas
B.A., M.A., Maharishi European Research University; Ph.D., Columbia Pacific University, 1982

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Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 258 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wish I'd read this in high school, I never would have bothered dating. A woman wants two things from a relationship: someone who cares about the events of her day and listens to her, and someone who invests his time in improving her quality of life. In this book, two very important points are made clear: (1) no man wants to hear a woman talk about her day, he considers it nagging and (2) the more a woman does for a man, the less he will do for her in return. The only thing the author never explains about marriage is what's in it for women?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book helps women and men understand each other better. It helps women to understand why men do the things they do and say the things they say. It helps men understand how women feel and why we feel the way we do. The book serves as a mediator, it tells each party where they went wrong as far as communicating what you have to say and interpreting what was said. This book has helped me to understand my partner better and respect his need to go into his cave. Women are capable of doing more than one thing at one time, but men aren't. So while we as women are talking, listening and thinking a man is either talking, listening or thinking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a great help to my husband and myself. We wouldn't be together if we didn't read it. The book doesn't tell you what to do or anything like that. It is meant to give you a deeper understanding of men or women and how they interact. It help us understand our differences and that it is ok to be different. I am deeply greatful for this book, it has helped me save my marriage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I had read this book earlier in my life. I just went through a hard breakup that is non-repairable. I had several friends who recommend that I read this book. All I can say is I truly believe if I had read it earlier, I probably could have avoided the drama I have been going through. My relationship had gone through almost everything in that book and I just didn't understand how to handle the emotional part, the cave, the well, the childhood issues, etc. If you haven't read this book, you might continue to make the same mistakes like I was doing. I'm much more confident going forward.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The content is excellent. However, the author's reading of the material is monotonous and therefore hard for us to remain focused on the audio. The reading needs a little more of depth of emotion to it. It sounds too much like reading instead of a conversation on a very important topic. If you want a good example of what I'm saying, I suggest listening to Dr. Bruce Lipton on "The Biology of Believe" or Antony Robbins' "Awakening the Giant Within". These authors can put emotion in their reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
my friend recommended me to read this book when i was 20. that was the time i realized a lot of things between me and the opposite sex. i find most of the information in book true, and it was really a great help. i understood the opposite sex more, and it gave me a smoother kind of relationship. my boyfriend once told me that nobody understands him better than i do. that made me say 'thanks to Mars and Venus'. since then, i recommended this book to most of my friends so they will understand their partners better. we just can't judge people based on their actions. there are a lot of things that we have to take in consideration. First is that they think differently and they were raised differently. i got that from the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know that I am still in high school and I know that kids don't understand true love yet, but this is a wonderful book that changed my views about men. It helped me understand my boyfriend more. I'm glad I read it while I was still in high school.
MorganHuber12 More than 1 year ago
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is an interactive self-help/relationship book, a best selling book, and for good reason. John Gray Ph.D deserves to be a New York Times best selling author - he is a relationship guru! Gary fills 321 pages with relationship advice: from acknowledging that men and women come from different planets, studying each other’s languages, learning how to provide support through stressful times, examining how men and women score ‘points’ differently in a relationship, the actual ‘seasons of love’, and so much more! Gary shares second hand experiences he knows of from participants of his seminars and emails from his readers. Stories of success and happiness that are a product of not only attending his seminars or reading his books but utilizing his techniques. Numerous accounts were mentioned throughout the book about marriages that were not only bettered, but even saved - from divorce! When couples are knowledgable of the differences between them and their partner, they are more understanding. When this understanding of differences is mutually understood, marriages have been brought back from the dead and given a second chance. Gary also gets intimate with his readers as his entire introduction to his book is a narrative of his personal life, and the influence his own failing marriage had on his writing. He also shares his own success story of how realizing the differences he has from his wife and daughters allows him to be more understanding and has led to him being a better husband and father! This book was not necessarily a gut-wrenching love story but was certainly a page turner! I loved the way each topic seemed to connect to my life, in one way or another; my relationship, my parent’s relationship, and stories of relationships I have only been a victim to hearing about. I could not help but nod my head in agreement, and chuckle at how spot on Gary was about the way women think and act and react to men and other life situations, it was amazing! However, periodically there was a bias that the book was clearly written by a man. None the less, Gary did a wonderful job of rooting for both teams and of dissecting the thoughts, feelings and motives behind why men and women act and react the way they do. I would recommend this book to anyone in a relationship, even if things are currently going smoothly, if even to prevent or understand the rough waters that are to come. It is a good resource to come back to over and over again, to review techniques or get motivated from others’ success stories! There is no reason to not read this book, it can do no harm, but maybe open your eyes to realizations you might have been turning a blind eye to, but this text, unlike many novels is beneficial to you and those around you. A must read! Or at a must least skim, and take good notes. Two thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not a Womens activist, but if someone was really being an active reader they would have caught on to the hidden cues in this book. John Gray has issues with women and wrote this book to help men negate all accountability and responsibility for their actions. Men instinctively go to their caves! They don't know they're doing it! While men are in their caves women should go talk to their friends or go shopping! How condescending. Sure, he added some flavor to help the women reading the book believe that he was really interested in helping them, and added some catch phrases to sell it , but I'm not buying this bull! Everything we say and do has meaning, right! Well, why do men go to caves? Caves make us think of cavemen who symbolize strength, and aggression. The hunter! Tell me why we are claimed to dwell in a well when we need time out. A well makes me think of something deep, dark, dirty, far beneath the earth. Is this Hell? The well is a symbol of darkness, aloneness, despair. Wow, are women pathetic in the eyes of John Gray. I refuse to read anymore of his books until he comes back from Mars and lands on planet Earth
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has some valuable insights. Having said that, I find the authors style to be condescending and irritating. Within the first chapter I found myself thinking of the widely spread 'Good wife's guide' published in 1955 by Housekeeping Monthly. He suggests that it is a woman's duty to restrain from bothering her partner while he is locked away (literatlly) in his private 'cave' space for WEEKS AT A TIME. Give me a break! (And this is okay because great lions too sit in silence as they look out over their kingdom!) How disappointing.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
The best advice resonates deep inside you, causing you to think "of course, I knew that." As you read this classic by relationship guru John Gray, you'll find yourself smiling, nodding your head in agreement, and marveling at the simplicity and truth of his advice. Groundbreaking when first published, this manual details the differences between how men and women process emotions, handle stress, and communicate needs and feelings. It also explains how they want their partner to love them. Gray points out how men and women often overlook these essential differences when dealing with each other in relationships. getAbstract predicts that once you read Gray's guide, you'll understand why people often refer to it as "the book," and why it has helped millions of couples everywhere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Faced with a conflict with my husband that began quite small but became rather large is what led me to this classic. Because I gained a better understanding of what a man's basic needs are, I was able to accept my part in the conflict. From this book, we both have gained essential tools that we can use to deepen our relationship, help us grow in love and even avoid future potential conflicts. Thank God for this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the most interesting relationship suggestion John Gray gave was in releasing negativity through the love letter technique. He suggested composing a letter to your partner, to write out your feelings, including five parts: anger, sadness, fear, regret and love. In doing this, you can understand your feelings, allowing you to open up to your partner and let the negative feelings go, so you can reach the love. Sharing your love letters in an appropriate way leads to a better understanding of your needs. Your partner will respect your feelings and respond in a loving, safe way. This is one way to communicate your love to your partner. If you only read one section of this book, don¿t miss Chapter 9 because it explains how to deal with differences and disagreements in couples. When couples disagree, their discussions can easily turn into arguments and then intensify even more. The best thing to do is to avoid an argument, take a time out, trying to understand why you are upset. To prevent arguments, it helps to develop good communication skills with each other, learning to communicate with love, validation and approval. Understand and remember what our partner¿s needs are and try to give it to them. Life will be easier and more fulfilling for both. I think the most intriguing quote John Gray said in the entire book is, ¿Men and women generally are unaware that they have different emotional needs¿. Men need trust, acceptance and encouragement. Women need caring, understanding and respect. When trying to improve a relationship, you must understand the primary kind of love our partner needs. One way a man can take care of a woman¿s needs is through communication. Just to listen to her feelings without trying to solve her problems can be a truly wonderful gift.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book three (3) times! Along with his other books and tapes, John Gray leads us down the path of outstanding enlightenment. I love his books. I realized that I was going about dealing with 'martians' all wrong and now I am confident that I will find lasting love. We truly are different beings from different planets and once we learn how to deal with the opposite sex, everything else in our lives becomes more enriching. I highly recommend his books tapes videos - whatever you prefer- to both men and women - his information is truly worthwhile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book many years ago to try to fix a bad relationship. Although the relationship fell apart, I had a better understanding as to why it didn't work. Now that I am in a new relationship, I am reading it again to refresh my memory. There are a lot of good points in this book. It forces you to think and evaluate your role in a relationship. As with most things in life, this is not a perfect fit for everyone. Read it and take away what applies to you. The bad reviews on this book amazes me. It is not meant to make excuses for the behavior of our partner. If people would read with an open mind they would get more out of the book.  It is a given fact that men and women think and act differently. Dr. Gray gives  the reader insight on how to deal with those differences. Some things in life 'just are'. This book is all about understanding, perception, and acceptance.  If you are a headstrong, stubborn person who believes that you are perfect, or if you believe that you can change your partner then this book is not for you. If you accept the fact that  men and women are different and you want to understand those differences a little better then I highly recommend this book. 
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of my favorite books, never before has anyone been so dead on when it comes to relationships. I found myself laughing while reading, due to its description of my very own relationship. Of course I made my boyfriend read it but I think we've both benefited from it. I personally think this book should be made mandatory to get a marriage license!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It helps me understand men better than before and I now know the reasons why men may act the way they do sometimes. I also know what to say and what not to say to men. I would read it a 2nd time! Gray is a wonderful author! Feel free to e-mail me and we can talk about the book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book may seem a little tiedious at first because you'll know what he's talking about. After you get into the book it teaches you a lot about the different sexes. You'll learn more from this book than you can from any other and any expieriences you'll ever have. John Gray Ph D. knows what he is talking about. This book has helped me in many ways of dealing with relationships. It will help even more if you and your partner read the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think if you are in a very traditional, older relationship, this book might apply to you.  However, I found the stereotypes just that... stereotypes, with little appreciation for the great overlap of men's and women's  personalities.  In my world, where both women and men are well educated, verbal, thinkers, and open-minded, the stereotypes start to fall apart.  The only way the book is helpful is to realize that at any time, we can all be Martians or Venusians demonstrating certain characteristics depending on circumstances and mood.  I'm not sure I'd tolerate anyone well, man or woman, who truly fell into these extremes... both are self-centered and immature.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book can help you understand how your partner thinks and why they react the way they do. It can also help you to see your own problems and give you ways to better the communication in your marriage
JYJY More than 1 year ago
Gray's book provided me with some tools on how I can become attuned and more attentive of my partner's needs. It also confirmed many of my thought processes affirming that I was not crazy about my own needs. As good as the suggestions are, it only really works if both individuals are engaged and consciously listening to each other. It is not categorically the end-all and be-all remedy to the ails of relations. His tools on how men and women think are good for consideration and modification. Bottom line: It has helped me become a better partner. Although I found the rhetoric in the 1992 printing a bit bias and dated, it was still an entertaining read and I recommend it to anyone who is sincerely interested in improving communication in a relationship.
Emma-Ann More than 1 year ago
This was one book that I know helped inspire me to go into psychology. The simple terms used, and the way it was presented made deep ideas reachable, and goals obtainable with regards to men! Thank you for writing this! I have friends that read it, and it literally saved their marriages!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book a few years ago due to some problems I was having with my girlfriend. I was really, really hoping that this book contained valid strategies for resolving conflicts as well as a sense that both men and women can rise above and trascend their petty differences and look at each other as human beings. As it happens, this book provides neither instead, it promotes stereotypical weakness of both sexes (i.e., men need time alone if they are ever criticized because they just can't handle it, women need to be treated like the most delicate flower because they are more 'sensitive' and fragile), and then tries to provide nonsensical, idiotic ways to cater to those weaknesses. The author, John Gray, basically states that men and women CANNOT overcome their stereotypical weaknesses, so instead of fixing them and becoming stronger, more loving, etc., we have to cater to those weaknesses instead. This message is in fact extremely destructive, as those who take this book seriously will be inspired to both defend their weaknesses and demand that their partners cater to those same weaknesses. The result, obviously, is the destruction of the relationship the author claims he wants to heal, because both partners, should they foolishly follow the advice of this book, will both demand the other change and make no positive efforts themselves to change. Thus, both the men and the women who follow the so-called advice in this book will need to purchase the next Mars-Venus book! John Gray might be a fraud, a hypocrite, and a self-important narcissist, but he is surely one of the most clever 'self-help' authors ever to curse this planet with his presence no matter how much you try his stuff, it will leave you in more and more of a relationship vaccuum, and leave you craving more and more, like an addictive drug, instead of giving you even the smallest iota of satisfaction and emotional healing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be very disappointing, and I am appalled that a large number of readers rated it very highly. Gray's basic thesis, that there is a male culture and a female culture and that these cultures are different, is undeniable. But Gray insults the reader's intelligence by filling the book with a collection of tired old gender stereotypes. The book insults both men and women equally by consistently portraying them as petty and shallow (albeit in different ways).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not only great for better understanding your mate, but it's also great for singles when trying to better understand the person they are trying to know better. The better you understand the opposite sex, the more appealing you become. A breakdown in communication can lead to a break up. This is a definite must read! Perry Rose, author of I Love You...Will You Marry Me?! & Women, Sex And Dating, For The Single Man.