Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: “Mars and Venus Together Forever” By: John Gray

Along with Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” I firmly believe that “Mars and Venus” should be required reading for any couple that has an intent to walk hand and hand through life together. Better yet, if there is a single person of the opposite sex that you care about: neighbor, parent, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, cousin, etc. this is a must read. The insights on every page of this book were profound, and I found myself learning more than I ever knew and have actually been craving to learn…about myself. The insights into the how and why related to actions I do daily and ways in which I interact with my wife allowed me to take steps back, look at myself from an outside perspective, and realize the good, bad and ugly in regards to how I relate to my wife and the communicative messages that I send her verbal and nonverbal.
            Essentially a summarization looks something like this. Men and women speak different languages to each other. I, speak Russian, and my wife Mandarin (neither plain English). Other men understand clear as a bell my Russian, and women understand without misinterpretation my wife’s Mandarin. But when we communicate towards each other, there is no translator and we find ourselves unable to translate what we really mean and intend to one another, and diplomatic relations eventually break down.    
            This book is the tie that binds and allows my wife and myself to understand what the other person really means and needs to be satisfied in a relationship, and bridges what I consider to be the most important gap, by helping me understand how my actions, attitudes and words impact my wife, both positively and negatively. The first half of the book took me a longer than usual amount of time to get through. The writing was clear and concise, but so insightful that I paused frequently to allow information to process and went back to re-read several selections, you will do the same as well. The second half of the book gives excellent exercises and tools to use, a lot of which I began implementing in daily interactions with my wife immediately. Although I know she will read this, I will say this with reluctance. One section of tools provides insight on how to get a woman to open up and trust you with her feelings and emotions. There are short phrases and prompts that I used, which if used when talking to a male friend would be worthless, but to my wife were invaluable and as I doled out a few prompts that the author recommends, I could literally feel, even over the phone, my wife’s tone of voice change and the content of what she began to say shifted from factual to her true feelings and emotions. Although she couldn’t see me, my jaw had immediately hit the floor with amazement at how this stuff works.
            The end result of these insights, tools and applications is that you will achieve, through baby steps, fulfillment and understanding in your relationship. For me, just understanding where myself and my wife are coming from before we even open our mouths to talk to one another, is just about half the battle when it comes to conflict. From understanding what the man cave is and why I go into it, to just knowing that my wife is not looking to me to solve every problem that she presents, every concept in this book is worth your while to read and know.

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