John Gray: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus Book Summary





Imagine that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

One day long ago the Martians, looking through their telescopes, discovered the Venusians. They fell in love and quickly invented space travel and flew to Venus. The Venusians welcomed the Martians with open arms. Then they decided to fly to Earth.

In the beginning everything was wonderful and beautiful. But the effects of the earth’s atmosphere took hold, and one morning everyone woke up with a peculiar of amnesia. Both the Martians and Venusians forgot that they were from different planets and were suppose to be different. And since that day men and women have been in conflict.

We expect the opposite sex to be more like ourselves. We desire them to “want what we want” and “feel the way we feel”. 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. We have forgotten that men and women are supposed to be different. Clearly recognizing and respecting these differences dramatically reduce confusion when dealing with the opposite sex.

Men continue to expect women to think and react like men, and women expect men to feel and behave like women. Without a clear awareness of our differences, we don’t take the time to understand and respect each other. We become demanding, resentful, judgmental, and tolerant. When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences then love has a chance to blossom.

1. Mr. Fix-it and the Home Improvement Committee

The most frequently expressed complaint women have about men is that men don’t listen. The most frequently expressed complaint men have about women is that women are always trying to change them.
These two problems can finally be solved by first understanding why men offer solutions and women seek to improve.

Men are more interested in “objects” and “things” rather than people’s feelings.
They don’t read magazines like psychology today. Self help books, or people today. They are more concerned with outdoor activities, like hunting, fishing, and racing cars. They are interested in the news, weather and sports and couldn’t care less about romance novels and self-help books.

For a man, “autonomy” is a symbol of efficiency, power and competence. To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that he doesn’t know what to do or that he can’t do it on his own. Men are very touchy about this, because the issue of competence is so very important to them.

Because he is handling his problems on his own, a man rarely talks about his problems unless he needs expert advice. Asking for help when you can do it yourself is perceived as a sign of a weakness. If he truly does need help, then it is a sign of wisdom to get it. In this case, he will find someone he respects and then talk about his problem. Talking about a problem on mars is an invitation for advice. When a woman innocently shares upset feelings or explores out loud the problems of her day, a man mistakenly assumes

she’s looking for some expert advice. He puts on his Mr. Fix it hat and begins giving advice; this is his way of showing love and trying to help. He wants to help her feel better by solving her problems. He has no idea that by just listening with empathy and interest he can be supportive.

Venusians have different values. They value love, communication, beauty, and relationships. A woman’s sense of self is defined through her feelings and the quality of her relationships.

On Venus, they are very involved in personal growth, spiritually and everything that can nurture life, healing and growth. Venusians are very intuitive, anticipate, offer help without being asked.

Because proving one’s competence is not as important to a woman, offering help is not offensive, and needing help is not a sign of weakness. A man, however, may feel offended because when a woman offers advice he doesn’t feel she trusts his ability to do it himself. But offering help to a man can make him feel incompetent, weak and even unloved. Women firmly believe that when something is working it can always work better. Their nature is to want to improve things. Offering advice and constructor criticism is an act of love.

Mars is very different. Martians are more solution oriented. If something is working, their motto is don’t change it. “Don’t fix it unless it’s broken.”
For men, a way of honoring another man is always to assume he can solve his problem unless he’s asking for help.

Generally speaking, when a woman offers unsolicited advice or tries to help a man, she has no idea of how critical and unloving she may sound to him. Its reaction may be strong, especially if he felt criticized as a child or he experienced his father being criticized by his mother. For many men, it’s very important to prove that they can get to their goal, even if it is a small thing.

Likewise, if a man does not understand how a woman is different, he can make things worse when he is trying to help. Men need to remember that women talk about problems to get close and not necessarily to get solutions. So many times a woman just wants to share her feelings about her day, and her husband, thinking he is helping, interrupts her by offering a steady flow to her problems.

Women never offer solutions when someone is talking. A way of honoring another woman is to listen patiently with empathy, seeking truly to understand the other’s feelings.

1. A man tries to change a woman’s feelings when she is upset by becoming Mr. Fix- it and offering solutions to her problems that invalidate her feelings.

2. A woman tries to change a man’s behavior when he makes mistakes by becoming the home-improvement committee and offering unsolicited advice or criticism.


A woman greatly appreciates Mr. Fix-it, as long as he doesn’t come out when she’s upset. Men need to remember that when women seem upset and talk about problems is not the time to offer solutions; instead she needs to be heard and gradually she will feel better on her own. She doesn’t need to be fixed.

A man greatly appreciates the home-improvement committee as long as it is requested. Women need to remember that unsolicited advice or criticism-especially if he has made a mistake-make him feel unloved and controlled. He needs her acceptance more than her advice. When a man feels like the woman is not trying to improve him, he is much more likely to ask for her feed back and advice.

When our partner resists us, it is probably because we have made a mistake in our timing or approach.

A man wants to make improvements when he feels he is being approached as the solution to a problem than as the problem itself.

2. Men Go to Their Caves and Women Talk

Men feel better by solving problems, women feel better by talking about problems. To feel better, men go to their caves. To feel better, women get together and openly talk about their problems.

Women are not ashamed of having problems. Their egos are dependent not on looking “competent” but rather on being in loving relationships.

When a man is stressed he will withdraw in to the cave of his mind and focus on solving a problem. He generally picks the most urgent problem or the most difficult. He becomes so focused on solving this one problem that he temporarily loses awareness of everything else. Other problems and responsibilities fade in to the background. As such times, he becomes increasingly distant, forgetful, unresponsive, and preoccupied in his relationships.

If, however, he can find a solution, instantly he will feel much better and come out of his cave; suddenly he is available for being in a relationship again. However, if he can’t find a solution to this problem, then he remains stuck in the cave. To get unstuck he is drawn to solving little problems, like reading the news, watching TV, driving his car, doing physical exercise, watching a football game, and so forth. Then the next day he can redirect his focus to his problem with greater success.

When a man is stuck in his cave, he is powerless to give his partner the quality attention she deserves. It’s hard for her to be accepting of him at these times because he doesn’t know how stressed he is. She feels he is ignoring her.

Women generally do not understand how men cope with stress. They expect men to open up and talk about all their problems the way women do. When a man is stuck in his cave, a woman resents his not being more open. She feels hurt when he turns on the news or goes outside to play some basketball and ignores her. When men go to their caves they tend to forget that their friends may be having problems too. An instinct takes over that says, before you can take care of anybody else, you must take care of yourself.

When a woman sees a man react in this way, she generally resists it and resents the man.

She may ask for his support in a demanding tone, as if she has to fight for her rights with this uncaring man. Men generally have little awareness of how distant they become when they are in the cave. When a man begins to ignore his wife, she often takes it personally.

A woman under stress is not immediately concerned with finding solutions to her problems but rather seeks relief by expressing herself and being understood. By randomly talking about her problems she becomes less upset. As a man under stress tends to focus on one problem and forget others, a woman under stress tends to expand and become over-whelmed by all her problems.

To forget her own painful feelings, a woman may become emotionally involved in the problems of others. Just as a man is fulfilled through working out the indelicate details of solving a problem, a woman is fulfilled through talking about the details of her problems.

Men realized that even when they felt they were being attacked, blamed, or criticized by women, it was only temporary; soon women would suddenly feel better and be very appreciative and accepting. By learning to listen, men discovered how much women really thrived on-talking about problems.

Women also found peace of mind when they finally understood that a man going to his cave was not a sign that he didn’t love her as much. They learned to be more accepting of him at these because he was experiencing a lot of stress.

3. How to Motivate the Opposite Sex

Men are motivated and empowered when they feel needed. Women are motivated and empowered when they feel cherished.

Men have a win/lose philosophy. Being in love, they wanted women to win as much as themselves.

The Martians were very motivated by the possibility of making a difference on Venus. The Martian race was moving to a new level of evolution. They were no longer satisfied by just proving themselves and developing their power. They wanted to use their power and skills in the service of others, especially in the service of women. They were beginning to develop a new philosophy, a win/win philosophy. They wanted a world where everyone cared for themselves as well as for others.

Similarly, when a man is in love he is motivated to be the best he can be in order to serve others. When his heart is open, he feels so confident in himself that he is capable of making major changes. Given the opportunity to prove his potential, he expresses his best self. Only when he feels he can not succeed does he regress back to his old selfish ways.

Not to be needed is a slow death for a man.
Most men have little awareness of how important it is to a woman to feel supported by someone who cares. When a woman is upset, overwhelmed, confused, exhausted, or helpless, what she needs the most is simple companionship. She needs to feel she’s not alone. She needs to feel loved and cherished.

A woman’s tendency to be compulsive relaxes as she remembers that she is worthy of love, she doesn’t have to earn it, she can relax, give less and receive more. She deserves it.

Women lived by lose/win philosophy. But after doing this for centuries that women were tired of always caring about one another and sharing everything. Many women today are also tired of giving. They want time off. Time to explore being themselves. They want someone to provide emotional support. At this point, men were learning to give while women were now ready to learn how to receive. After centuries, women and men had reached an important stage in the evolution.

When a woman realizes she has been giving too much, she tends to blame her partner for their unhappiness. She feels the injustice of giving more than she has received. Blaming doesn’t work.

As a man experiences limits, he is motivated to give more. Through respecting limits, he automatically is motivated to question the effectiveness behavior patterns and to start making changes. When a woman realizes that in order to receive she needs to set limits, then automatically she begins to forgive her partner and explore new ways of asking for and receiving support. When a woman set limits, she gradually learns to relax and receive more.

Setting limits and receiving are very scary for a woman. Deep inside her unconscious she holds the incorrect belief that she is unworthy of receiving more. A woman is particularly vulnerable to the negative and incorrect belief that she doesn’t deserve to be loved.

Because she is afraid of not being supported, she unknowingly pushes away the support she needs. When a man receives the message that she doesn’t trust him to fulfill her needs, then he feels immediately rejected and is turned off. This communicates to him the message that she doesn’t trust him to support her.

When a woman realizes that she truly deserves to be loved, she is opening the door for a man to give to her. But when it takes her 10 years of over giving in a marriage to realize that she deserves more, ironically, she feels like closing the door and not giving him the chance. When she wakes up and remembers her needs, he also wakes up and wants to give her more. When the Venusians were ready to receive the Martians were ready to give. A man’s deepest fear is that he is not good enough or that he is in incompetent. Just as women are afraid of receiving, men are afraid of giving. The first step for a man in learning how to give more is to realize that it is OK to make mistakes and it is OK to fall and that he doesn’t have to have all the answers. He needed the acceptance and the encouragement that he was good enough for her, and then he could feel how much he cared. It is difficult for a man to listen to a woman when she is unhappy or disappointed because he feels like a failure.

4. Speaking Different Languages

. the Martians and Venusians languages had the same words, but the way they were used gave different meanings. To fully express their feelings, women assume poetic license to use various superlatives, metaphors, and generalizations. The number 1 complaint women have in relationships is “I don’t feel heard”. Even this complaint is misunderstood by men.

One of the biggest challenges for men is correctly to interpret and support a woman when she is talking about her feelings. The biggest challenge for women is correctly to interpret and support a man when he isn’t talking. Silence is most easily misinterpreted by women. When a man is silent it is easy for a woman to imagine the worst.

Why women talk??
1. To convey or gather information.
2. To explore and discover what it is she wants to say.
3. To feel better and more centered when she is upset.
4. To create intimacy.

Never go in to a man’s cave or you will be burned by the dragon. When a man goes into his cave, he’s generally wounded or stressed and is trying to solve his problem alone. To give him the support that a woman would want is counterproductive.

How to support a man in his cave
1. Don’t disapprove of his need for withdrawing.
2. Don’t try to help him solve his problem by offering solutions.
3. Don’t try to nurture him by asking questions about his feelings.
4. Don’t sit next to the door of the cave and wait for him to come out.
5. Don’t worry about him or feel sorry for him.
6. Do something that makes you happy
-anything that distracts her or helps her to feel good will be helpful to him.

These are some examples.
. Read a book
. Listen to music.
. Work in the garden.
. Take a bubble bath.
. Exercise.
. Get a massage.
. Call a girlfriend.
. Go shopping.
. Pray.
. Watch TV.
. Cook something delicious.

It is very difficult for a man to differentiate between empathy and sympathy. He hates to be pitied. That’s why too much caring for him is smothering.






5. Men are Like Rubber Bands

When a man loves a woman, periodically he needs to pull away before he can get closer. A man automatically alternates between needing intimacy and autonomy. To a certain extent a man loses himself through connecting with his partner. There are two ways a woman may unknowingly obstruct her male partner’s natural intimacy cycle. They are (1) chasing him when he pulls away; and (2) punishing him for pulling away.

Chasing behaviors:
1. Physical-when he pulls away, she physically follows him.
2. Emotional-when he pulls away she emotionally follows him by worrying about him, feeling sorry for him.
3. Mental-she may try to pull him back mentally by asking him guilt-inducing questions, or trying to please him becoming overly accommodating.

Punishing behaviors:
1. Physical-when he begins to desire her again, she rejects him. She pushes away his physical affection.
2. Emotional-when he returns, she is unhappy and she blames him.
3. Mental-when he returns she refuses to open up and share her feelings.

6. Women are Like Waves

When a woman’s wave rises feels she has an abundance of love to give, but when it falls she feels her inner emptiness and needs to be filled up with love. This time of bottoming out is a time for emotional housecleaning.

A woman’s ability to give and receive love in her relationships is generally a reflection of how she is feeling about herself. When she is not felling as good about herself, she is unable to be as accepting and appreciative of her partner.

When a man loves a woman she begins to shine with love and fulfillment. Most men naively expect that shine to last forever. Men pull back and then get close, while women rise and fall in their ability to love themselves and others.

A man assumes that her sudden change of mood is based solely on his behavior. When she is happy he takes credit, but when she is unhappy he also feels responsible.
When a woman is going down she needs to hit bottom before she could come up.

The last thing a woman needs when she is on her way down is someone telling her why she shouldn’t be won. What she needs is someone to be with her as she goes down, to listen to her while she shares her feelings, and to empathize with what she is going through. Even if a man can’t fully understand why a woman feels overwhelmed, he can offer his love, attention and support.

When a woman goes into her well, if she feels supported, she doesn’t necessarily feel better right away. She may feel worse. But that is a sign that his support may be helping. His support may actually help her to hit bottom sooner, and then she can and will feel better. To genuinely come up she first needs to hit bottom. That is the cycle.

Even when a man is succeeding in supporting a woman she may become even more upset. To support a woman when she is in her well is a special gift that she will greatly appreciate.

There are 3 points each man should realize.
A man’s love and support cannot instantly resolve a woman’s issues
A woman going into her well is not a man’s fault of his failure.
A woman has within herself the ability to spontaneously rise up after she has hit the bottom.

Avoiding arguments and fights certainly is healthy but not by suppressing feelings. When negative feelings are suppressed, positive feelings become suppressed as well, and love dies.

Even a strong, confident, and successful woman will need to visit her well from time to time.

When the man is not capable of listening attentively with caring, understanding, and respect, these 3 actions can help: Accept your limitations- Don’t try to listen when you can’t
Understand her pain- she can be more trusting forgiving if you are caring and understanding of her hurt.
Avoid arguing and give reassurance- Reassure her that you will be back, and then you will be able to give her the support she deserves.

It puts too much pressure on a man to make him the only source of love and support.

7. Discovering our Different Emotional Needs

Men and women generally are unaware that they have different emotional needs. As a result they do not instinctively know how to support each other. Men typically give in relationships what men want, while women give what women want. Each mistakenly assumes that the other has the same needs and desires. As a result they both end up dissatisfied and resentful

Most of our complex emotional needs can be summarized as the need for love. Men and women each have six unique love needs that are all equally important.

Women need to Receive —————- Men need to Receive
Caring————————————— Trust
Validation——————————— –Approval

Fulfilling a primary need is required before one is able fully to receive and appreciate the other kinds of love.

1. She needs caring and he needs Trust
2. She needs understanding and he needs acceptance
3. She needs respect and he needs appreciation
4. She needs devotion and he needs admiration
5. She needs validation and he needs approval
6. She needs reassurance & he needs encouragement

8. How to Avoid Arguments?

Just as communication is the most important element in a relationship, arguments can be the most destructive element.

Most couples start out arguing about one thing and within five minutes, are arguing about the way they are arguing.

The four F’s for avoiding hurt in an argument:

Fight: this comes from the man, when he feels the conversation becomes unloving, he moves into an offensive stance, “the best defence is a strong offense”- so he starts on blaming, judging, criticizing and when his partner backs down, he assumes he has won. Intimidation always weakens trust in a relationship.

Flight: this also comes from the man. To avoid confrontation, he might retire into his cave and never come out. The short-term gain is peace and harmony, but if issues are not being talked about then resentments will build.

Fake: this stance comes from women. To avoid being hurt, she pretends there’s no problem, but over time she becomes increasingly resentful, which blocks the natural expression of love.

Fold: this stance also comes from women. Rather than argue, she takes the blame and assume responsibility for whatever is upsetting her partner, but she ends up losing herself.

The Anatomy of an argument

Step1: A woman expresses her upset feelings about “XYZ”

Step2: A man explains why she shouldn’t be upset about “XYZ”

Step3: She feels invalidated and becomes more upset (she is now more upset about being invalidated than about “XYZ”)

Step4: He feels her disapproval and becomes upset. He blames her for upsetting him and expects an apology before making up.

Step5: She apologizes and wonders what happened, or she becomes more upset and the argument escalates into a battle.

Men rarely say “I’m sorry” because on mars it means you have done something wrong and you are apologizing

The most common way women unknowingly start arguments is by not being direct when they share their feelings

Men are most prone to argue when they have made a mistake or upset the woman they love.

Our critical pair of problems from which arguments arise:
1. The man feels that the woman disapproves of his point of view
2. The woman disapproves of the way the man is talking to her.

There are five major reasons a man stops giving:
1. Martians idealize fairness
2. Venusians idealize Unconditional Love
3. Martians Give when they are asked
4. Venusians say yes even when the score is uneven
5. Martians give penalty points





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