Book Review: Why Mars and Venus Collide by John Gray, PhD

Recently I’ve read the book, Why Mars and Venus Collide, Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress by John Gray, Ph.D. I absolutely loved the book! I must say, this is a much needed book for couples because it educates and gives insights and specific tips and strategies on dealing with stress in men and women.

The book explains how our brains are structured and function differently thus affecting our behavior. In a chapter called Hardwired to Be Different the author points out that “Men and women possess two different types of brains, designed equally for intelligent behavior”. The main difference is that men have more gray matter than women do and women have more white matter than men do. This fact alone explains why we excel at different tasks and communicate differently. The chapter also points out why men are focused on one task at a time and women are multitasking, as well as why men are risk takers and women are conservative and prioritize security. Because of the fundamental difference in brain structure and function women should not expect men to behave like women and vice versa. We should respect these differences and work with each other keeping these differences in mind.

Another part of the book points out the difference in hormones and how it affects our behavior. Special emphasis is made on stress hormones and their effect on a man’s and a woman’s well being. Women generally need to focus on keeping their oxytocin levels up and men need to focus on keeping their testosterone levels up. The author gives a list of 100 ways a woman can raise her oxytocin levels and 100 ways a man can help a woman raise her oxytocin levels. I found the 90/10 solution for a woman to keep her feel-good hormone up especially revealing; this is something I always will keep in my mind. There are also tips on how a woman can help her man raise his testosterone levels.

Three chapters of the book the author dedicated to explaining why the fights start, what we can do to prevent them, how to stop a fight and how to make up after a fight. These chapters are loaded with helpful tips and suggestions. From now on I will keep in mind that “mixing feelings and problem solving simply doesn’t work”. The author suggests that we have two types of conversations — one to lessen emotional tension, called Venus Talk, and the other to solve the problem.

I had several “Aha” moments while reading the book. This is the book I will be referring to to get answers and reminders on how to deal with stress and improve a relationship with my partner. Now I have a better understanding of our differences and what my partner and I need to effectively cope with stress. I know that applying the tips and strategies described in the book will help couples bring the best out of their partners.

Nicole Thomas

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