My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mars and Venus on a Date: A Guide for Navigating the 5 Stages of Dating to Create a Loving and Lasting Relationship (1997) by Dr. John Gray is a companion to the more well-known Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
Men and Venus on a Date, however, provides deeper insight into the world of couples trying to figure out the rules and taboos to dating a Martian or Venusian and holds keys that will unlock the mystery of communication and how to build a stronger and more loving relationship with your partner.
As Dr. Gray explains, “this book is directly written for singles and dating couples who are interested in finding true and lasting love” (p xiii).
But for this post I will focus primarily on some helpful information about how Martians (often of the male gender) and Venusians (often of the female gender) communicate and how they are interpreted and how each partner can work to better express themselves and learn how to communicate more efficiently.
First, though, a reader needs to understand that Martians and Venusians are in fact different and do not communicate in the same shape or fashion, and this is by far the greatest mistake couples make when dating. Just as someone from the East would instinctively learn that people in the West have different customs and cultural habits and do not communicate in the same way so should Martians and Venusians learn and become more aware of how each partner may communicate.
For instance, on Mars when Martians apologize that usually ends the entire discussion and the Martians shake hands, slap each other on the back and go have a beer and all is forgotten. “On Venus,” Dr. Gray explains, “it is the opposite. When you say you are sorry, the discussion begins. When a man says he is sorry to a woman, she will proceed to tell him in great detail why he should be feeling sorry” (p 117).
Now if a Martian does not know this about Venusians then he would likely become annoyed and she would feel rejected and uncared for and an argument would arise and the relationship would begin to break down. If a Martian has the knowledge and skills and knows about the customs and practices of his favorite Venusian, he sits and listens and helps her explore her emotions and learns why he should be sorry and he should quite possibly be taking notes so he doesn’t make the same mistake in the future. This would show the Venusian that she is cared for and help her feel more secure in the relationship.
A woman needs a man who will make her feel special, unique and secure. “She needs to feel that he adores, cares for, understands, and respects her so much that he will always be there for her,” writes Dr. Gray (p 127). A Martian, therefore, needs to understand better how Venusians think, act, behave, and speak; otherwise a Martian will misinterpret his favorite Venusian.
“When we misinterpret each other, it can cause us to sabotage our relationships unknowingly,” writes Dr. Gray. “A woman may mistakenly conclude her date is ‘just another man incapable of making a commitment’ and give up. A man may think his date is another woman whose needs may smother him and take away his freedom. As a result, he loses interest.
“No matter how sincere you are, if your partner is misinterpreting your innocent and automatic reactions and responses, your attempts to create a relationship may be unsuccessful. It is not enough merely to be authentic in sharing yourself; to succeed in dating you need to consider how you will be interpreted as well” (p 3).
There is not a person who I have not met who does not wish to be successful in love. Most people watch their Facebook posts fill up with couples happily in love and couples becoming engaged and writhe with secret envy, asking “How the hell does this even happen? Why can’t it happen to me?” And yet we all desire to be successful in our career and so we study and get degrees and learn the trades and spend countless hours learning how to be successful, and yet we automatically assume love will just happen. Wrong.
Love is as delicate as a plant and needs attention, caring and respect. And these characteristics can also be found in one who spends time studying over a book in a library preparing for an exam. Why do we think that love just happens and we don’t need to prepare ourselves to be the best we can be so we can bring the best to our partner and our relationship?
The truth is that love needs work to last and develop into a strong relationship but true love doesn’t need work to be recognized and respected. True love happens. One night you attend a party when you are filled with doubts about even going and then suddenly you fall into a seat across the very person you have longed waited to meet. You both instantly just know. You both play it cool. Avoiding each other, but in the end always coming back to each other and the conversations flow and both of you just click into place. And both of you know that the Universe has smashed two oceans into each other and it is such a wonderful feeling.
“When soul mates fall in love there is simply a recognition,” explains Dr. Gray. “It is clear and simple as recognizing that the sun is shining today, or the water I am drinking is cool and refreshing, or the rock I am holding is solid. This knowing is not in any way dependent on a long list of reasons or qualifications. Soul love is unconditional. When the right person comes along you ‘just know,’ and you spend the rest of your life discovering why he or she is the right person…A soul mate is someone who has the unique ability to bring out the best in us. Soul mates are not perfect, but perfect for us” (p 14-17).
But with that said, it does not hurt to learn about your partner’s communication patterns and prepare yourself to be the best you can be. Here are fifteen key insights that can help any relationship become stronger:
1) “Whenever a man does something to make a woman feel special, in her eyes he becomes more attractive…If she has to care too much about his needs, if she has to be overly sensitive not to hurt his feelings, then he becomes less attractive. When she is free not to worry about him, but simply enjoy the fact that he cares about her, then she becomes more attracted to him” (p 37).
2) A man far too often doesn’t understand nor “realize that a woman will feel most supported and impressed when he listens with interest rather than talking about himself or giving advice” (p 36).
3) “A woman’s willingness to ‘share all’ is actually a compliment to the other woman. It is a sign of trust, goodwill, and friendship” (p 38).
4) When a woman is finally “getting her needs met, then and only then is his happiness hers” (p 44).
5) “A man bonds with a woman through being successful in providing for her happiness, comfort, and fulfillment. His doubts are dispelled not primarily by what she does for him, but by how she responds to what he does for her” (p 49).
6) “By clearly understanding the wisdom of going slowly and moving through the five stages of dating [Attraction, Uncertainty, Exclusivity, Intimacy, and Engagement], both men and women will enjoy the dating process more and eventually find true love” (p 59).
7) “If he can respect her, then he is worthy of her” (p 59).
8) “By deliberately putting forth his energy and attention to fulfill a woman’s romantic needs long after a woman has accepted him, a man trains himself to experience that the little romantic gestures of dating are not just to win a woman over but are actually required and necessary to sustain her responsiveness” (p 70).
9) “In stage three, a man should remember that a woman feels most loved and supported when he offers to be of assistance. It is most romantic for a woman when a man anticipates her needs and offers to help. Even if she doesn’t need his help at the time, she will feel supported just because he offered” (p 77).
10) “Women like variety. They like to try new things and have new experiences. By continuing to take risks and try new things, a man is assured of successfully moving through stage three” (p 76).
11) “When a woman has a conversation her objective is to share. A man makes the best impression by asking questions and listening. Sharing in her thoughts and feelings is the way to win a woman over…When he asks questions, it reassures her that she is special and worthy of love. It is evidence that this man cares about her” (p 220-223).
12) “The direct way to a man’s heart is through complimenting and appreciating the things he provided. When a man experiences a positive response to the things he does or provides for her, he is more inclined to feel attracted. This is how a man’s affection for a woman grows” (p 261).
13) “The more a man succeeds in helping a woman, the more attracted he will be to her. A woman also experiences a greater attraction to man when he is helpful to her. She then mistakenly turns this around and assumes that if she is helpful to him, he will be more attracted to her. This is not true” (p 265).
14) “When a man expresses his masculine presence he is generally embodying the three basic characteristics of masculinity: he is confident, purposeful, and responsible. It is these three qualities that make a woman most attracted to him” (p 271).
15) “When a woman expresses her feminine radiance she is generally embodying the three basic characteristics of femininity: she is self-assured, receptive, and responsive. It is these three qualities that make a man most attracted to her” (p 271).
If any of these key insights were new to you and/or resonated with you on any level, I recommend picking up a copy of Mars and Venus on a Date and/or buying a copy for a friend. After all, aren’t our soul mates truly worth it? Aren’t we worth it?
“Choosing a soul mate is not a mental decision based on pros and cons of a relationship,” explains Dr. Gray. “It is not an emotional decision based on comparing how a person makes you feel. It is not a physical decision based on how a person looks. It is much deeper. When our soul wants to marry our partner, it feels like a promise that we came into this world to keep…When our soul wants to get married, it feels as if we have no choice. We have to do it if we are to be true to ourselves. It is this kind of commitment that can sustain a lifetime of love” (p 20-21).
And don’t we all want a lifetime of love? I’ll leave the answer to you… in the meantime:
Keep reading and smiling…
CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy). He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979 and now lives in Hong Kong.
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father‘s Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), and forthcoming: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being; Little Hometown, America: A Look Back; and, The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.
You can read more about the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 350,000+ followers