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

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Overview

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 ...

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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

BookPage
“Thought provoking and illuminating.”
Booklist
“Helpful in any relationship.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061285486
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/22/2008
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 6
  • Sales rank: 971,606
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John  Gray, Ph.D.

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.

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.

Biography

To those well versed in therapy-speak and the self-help world, the name John Gray can provoke some eye-rolling and sarcasm: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We genders need to "learn" to "communicate."

What's remarkable is Gray's role in making this concept so well known. In 1992, when Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus was published, the idea was anything but pedestrian. Indeed, Gray sparked both revolution and debate in the world of gender politics.

His case is simple: "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," he wrote in the first chapter of Men Are from Mars. Though the idea is not radical, the implication met with criticism from feminists who said that it tried to reinforce stereotypes; and with accolades from stricken couples who found that Gray did, in fact, help them communicate and understand each other better.

Though naysayers have called into question both Gray's message and his credentials, his appeal is undeniable. Word-of-mouth has proved strong enough to drive sales of Gray's book and its companions -- targeted at everyone from dating singles to coworkers -- into bestsellerdom, with the first title alone selling more than 15 million copies. He has also become a cottage industry of gender relations, with seminars, media appearances, and audio titles bolstering his books.

Gray's style tends to be simple and direct, with analogies along the lines of the title: "Men Are like Blowtorches, Women Are like Ovens" and "Men Pursue and Women Flirt" are typical chapter headers. For those mired in the tricky morass of dealing with the opposite sex, the author's no-nonsense approach is appealing.

In 1999, Gray departed from his relationships milieu to the broader palette of life fulfillment with the parenting guide Children Are from Heaven and How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have, a guide to achieving success while bolstering one's spiritual life via meditation and awareness of worldly challenges. It's a strong statement coming from someone who lived for several years as a monk, but Gray's strong suit with readers remains his relationship tomes. Since the original Mars/Venus title, he has created a franchise that now straddles the realms of love and personal success. His advice obviously rings true with millions of readers.

Good To Know

Gray lives with his wife and three children. He was formerly married to self-help author Barbara De Angelis; the two divorced in 1984.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus was made into a musical stage comedy that opened in Las Vegas. It has also been translated into more than 40 languages.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Houston, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A., M.A., Maharishi European Research University; Ph.D., Columbia Pacific University, 1982
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

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 doit. 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.
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Customer Reviews

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( 21 )
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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    Impressed

    I've read Dr. Gray's first book and was impressed, I wasn't sure he'd be able to match it, especially on relatively the same topic. But this book is an excellent read. I would highly recommend it for anyone that is in a relationship, married or not.

    I've been married 25 years, and I can see the things he talks about in his book as the positives that have kept us together as long as we have, accept that we had to figure it out on our own. This book is especially pertinent to new relationships. We've seen many of our friends have the exact same issues described in the book, only years later to end up in divorce.

    This book I'm sure would've helped!

    Highly recommend!

    The only negative comment would be on the organization of the book, he tends to repeat himself quite often in the first several chapters. Not sure if that was for filler or just to reiterate a point, but it was noticeable and annoying.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

    Only read this if you want your relationship to end in divorce.

    This was a terrible book that just belittled women and made excuses for men, then turned around and made suggestions for women that would make men feel terrible about the relationship too.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    interesting to read

    good insight to the subject

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2008

    Read, Read, Read

    I've read a lot of books on relationships, and this is one that I would highly recommend. Thanks Dr. Gray!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2008

    love it!

    This book has really helped my marriage.I would recommend it to anyone recently married,to people that have been married for years.My husband and i both have read the book.It has helped us understand alot about ourselves.If your beginning a marriage ,or your in one,and your struggling to stay in it i suggest you buy this book its well worth it.

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