For anyone who is currently in a relationship, or has had one fail miserably, how accurate do you find the assumptions made about the sexes in this best seller: Men are from Mars, Women Are From Venus – Together Forever?
First, lets take a trip back to ‘caveman’ days
Mr Gray (writer man) says that to understand the fundamental differences between how MOST men and women think, and then; how arguments and misunderstandings in relationships arise, first imagine what life was like back in ‘caveman’ days and the typical gender roles that existed.
The typical ‘cavewoman’ was the nurturer and home maker. Biology decided that a woman gives birth and hence feels “a great responsibility for raising children and creating a home”. The woman felt loved and respected because each day the man went out and risked his life to provide for her – and that was that. Harmony.
The typical ‘caveman’ was the Hunter and provider. The man honoured and respected the woman’s role by agreeing to take such a dangerous assignment as venturing out into the wild to hunt or standing guard to protect his wife and their child. As providers, men felt loved and appreciated. Good communication skills were not a part of his job description.
Who the f@ck cares?
Gray says that, unconsciously, those archaic gender roles are still ingrained in today’s modern men and women and still has an impact on how we think and feel. He boils miscommunication between the sexes down to two main differences:
Men thrive on appreciation,
women thrive on communication.
He reckons we don’t understand this about each other and so, constantly give our partners the type of support we crave most (rather than what we really want) and then argue when we’re not being understood.
Men now have a chip on their shoulder
It all started when women rocked the boat by wanting to work and be seen as men’s ‘equal’ (oh, yes, how dare we, Gray *insert ‘rolley-eyed’ emoji*). Modern day women are now leaving the home and entering the workforce either on their own or alongside their partner. This has “diminished men’s traditional value to women” as they don’t feel like the provider and protector anymore but most men do still have this deep seeded ‘need’ to provide and protect. At the same time, he says women are overworked. Not only are they lovers, mothers, nurturers and homemakers but they are now the providers and protectors too.
He says, back in the 1950’s – say – a woman’s day was broken up with her daily tasks (I think he means ‘chores’) by talking and giving and receiving from other women. He says this is still a deep seeded need for women today and that when we come home now, we find it difficult to forget the problems of the day and relax when our ‘programming’ says “Cook more, clean more, love more, share more, nurture more”. We use talking as a means of letting off steam and returning to our feminine side after repressing it all day in the (mostly) male dominated and masculine work environment.
Women need to be more patient…
When a man gets home from work, he likes to forget about his day (Gray calls this – ‘a man going into his cave’) and seeks quiet time, alone, to de-stress.
Problems arise because men often want quiet time (watching tv or reading the newspaper) while women want to talk.
How to ask a man to listen to you
Here’s what not to do when you’re trying to get your man to listen to you. Scream: “you never listen to me!”. Instead, Gray says to try something like this:
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re home. I’ve had such a shit day. Would this be a good time to talk about it? (Pause) You don’t have to say anything (pause) I’m sure I’ll feel better if I can just talk about it”.
By asking him this way, you give him what he really wants – a chance to make you happy when he is able to – and we get what we need – an opportunity to talk and share.
He reckons “when a man is not expected to give more, he automatically wants to”.
The difference between how men and women deal with ‘problems’
When a man is stressed or mulling over a problem, they will silently problem solve or busy themselves with an activity like shooting some basketball hoops or going to the gym. If they DO ask another man for help, they will then troubleshoot all the possible solutions to that problem until they both reach an agreement. Women do not need their problems to be fixed but they want someone to listen to them, SYMPATHETICALLY. Women will generally just feel better by talking ‘venting’ and it annoys them when men constantly butt in to offer a ‘solution’ like, “Why don’t you do this?” or “have you tried that?”
Where women go wrong: when you think a man is giving you the silent treatment, they are usually just de-stressing’ from a busy day and we need to allow them time to ‘switch gears’ from the stresses of work to home mode. If you assume he is quiet because he is waiting for you to initiate a conversation or he is upset – you would be wrong.
Where men go wrong: when roles are reversed and you sense a woman is giving you the silent treatment. A man would mistakenly think that if she is going to feel better, he needs to leave her alone (like he would want). He’ll, therefore, tend to ignore her and give her lots of space. This is actually the worst thing to do. If he quizzes her, initially, she may say: ‘nothing is wrong’ but what she really means is:
“Nothing is really bothering me, unless of course you really care. Then you will show me by standing here and asking me more questions.”
(I love women)
What a man should actually do here is draw her out of her moodiness by asking her more questions and being sympathetic. A little hug and a kiss on the cheek would go far here, boys. Not, getting in a pissy ‘huff’ and becoming impatient. Remember, when the woman does start talking, while it might seem like she’s venting and she wants you to problem solve for her, she actually just wants you to quietly listen while giving sympathy. Eventually, she’ll feel better and appreciate you listening to her.
(Unless of course YOU are in fact her problem. In which case you should probably just f@ck off).
What men want
Deep in his soul, a man expects his woman to acknowledge and appreciate his efforts and in some measure be fulfilled by what he does for her. When she does not seem happy, he feels unhappy that she is unhappy and wants to fix it.
A man thrives on appreciation because it directly nurtures his male side. A woman thrives on communication because that directly nurtures her female side.
How accurate do you think Gray’s assumptions are?
(originally written for FemmeHeroine.com)