I have recently and very begrudgingly finished “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus” for a variety of reasons, but the main one is mere curiosity. This is a book that basically changed how my mom’s generation speaks about men and women in relationships. Whether they hated or loved the book, growing up I heard reference to men and women being from different planets often enough to finally want to read the book for myself. I will not pretend that I enjoyed the book, suffice to say that there is so much convulsion of ideas that no matter what your viewpoint on a subject the circular speech finds an eerie way of relating to every single person and situation imaginable. And when it does not, well “either ignore it (moving onto something you do relate to) or look deeper inside yourself” (John Gray’s words and not mine).
Thankfully I am finished as I said and I would like to summarize why I feel the book gained so much popularity. Quite simply, displacement (thanks Addams Family for always making me say that word with an accent). The entire premise of the book is based on the idea of blame, or shifting your perceptions. Rather than getting to know the opposite sex, or learning to love them for who they are, the book teaches you that they are who they are because of their alien heritage. If you are having a fight, it is because you speak a different language, and thus it is necessary to accept the differences and learn how to manipulate the situation to your favor. There is also a little gem in there that 10 percent of a fight is based on the present, and 90 percent of any fight is due to your parents or something dark in your past. We don’t fight because we are actually annoyed, we fight because of past events and once we look past or write a loving letter then everything will be roses.
But here’s the thing, love or hate the book, as much as I do, there are points of real interest. For example, the idea that once you can learn to accept that you partner needs his/her alone time, you can stop taking it as a personal slight or lack of love. Also that by learning to communicate with direct language versus trying to sugar coat our feelings, pretending to be happy or not bothered we can build stronger bonds. These are fundamental keys to living with a partner, communicating effectively and growing as a couple regardless of sex. Shame it two nearly half the book to make clear those two thoughts, but it was really easy read so the pain did not last long. I am curious though, if anyone has read it, and found it to be helpful in their lives. I truly want to hear from you! This book after all changed a generation, and perhaps it was the building block that allows my generation to further explore our relationships… maybe.