As the author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, I have the regular benefit of hearing inspiring success stories from individuals and couples. Practically each day, someone will recognize me and come up with a smile on his or her face thanking me for writing "that book." For years I was amazed. I knew that my seminars were transformational experiences and helped to save thousands of marriages, but I didn't realize that simply reading a book could have the same effect.
In a presentation, with thousands of people listening to me speak, I can watch an idea or a little story sail out into the crowd and see faces here and there light up, like lightbulbs. I tell a story and with hardly a pause see people around the room unmistakably and instantaneously transformed. There is a wave of recognition and a tremendous relief, followed sometimes with a burst of laughter that for most reflects the following reactions:
These "lightbulb" experiences are no small things. They're quick, but they aren't transitory. People's relationship problems are probably the most isolating events they experience. They are hard to define and talk about, particularly in a way that invokes compassion and understanding from our partners. When things aren't working and we don't know how to put it into words or understand what is happening, then naturally we begin to feel doubts.
In the time it takes for a single lightbulb to go on, people here and there throughout the audience are visibly transformed by one message or another--the one that makes a difference to them personally:
In my seminars, I invite individuals and couples to stand up and share examples from their own lives. The insights I relate from understanding the differences between men and women are certainly very helpful, but what crystallizes these ideas best--most quickly, dramatically, unforgettably--are their stories.As participants begin to share personal examples of how they have used these insights to improve their relationships, everything suddenly comes together. A story shared by one that directly relates to others causes faces to shine with joy, inspiration, and relief.
Mars and Venus in Love is a book of personal examples of relationships that work--a collection of true-life tales. You may not recognize yourself in every one, but there's bound to be several that will crystallize your own truth, showing you something about your own love story that might have been eluding you for a long time. With each story you will share the clarity and love that others like yourself have found to make love work in their lives.
These stories come directly from individuals and couples who have shared in my seminars as well as from letters to my office. Each year, I receive thousands of letters, spontaneously written, telling love stories. The people who write these letters are husbands and wives or lovers or seekers-after-love; their relationships have seemed to be on the verge of ruin, but they have been saved by what they discovered in my work.
Some are readers or listeners who have loved their partners deeply, but who have--through my books, tapes, or seminars--found ways to enrich their love relationships beyond all imagination and expectation. Some are single people who had longed for love in their lives, but had never quite attained it--until they learned to identify and appreciate the differences between men and women.
Sometimes, at the end of a letter they would write, "If you think my story could help others, please feel free to use it as you wish." One day, in thinking about it, I realized that it was a very good idea. If true stories and examples could have an instantaneous and permanent transformative effect in face-to-face encounters in my seminars, why not assemble an array of them in a book?
Mars and Venus in Love covers the basic ideas presented in my books, tapes, and seminars, but in a real-life way from the inside, giving you the opportunity to see yourself in the stories of others and to recognize your patterns in the circumstances they describe. In psychological terms, the book gives you a safe and private opportunity to identify with others, but in everyday terms it shows you in a hundred different ways some comforting realities:
While some of these stories are heartwarming, others are fun and humorous. What can be more satisfying than hearing of a love affair on the brink of ruin that suddenly revives and comes to life? Trying to understand how this happens is what keeps us sitting at the kitchen table long after brunch is over, pouring another cup of coffee and turning over the details of the situation--our own or somebody else's--one more time. I'm hoping that the experience of reading this book will be for you like lingering over the end of a meal, thinking about love, and suddenly lighting up--like a lightbulb!--with the realization that "Oh! That's me!" or "Look at this, honey! They're talking about us!"
Mars and Venus in Love
Imagine that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. One day, long ago, the Martians traveled in their spaceships to Venus. When they arrived it was love at first sight. Both Martians and Venusians fell madly in love, married and lived happily ever after--that is, until they decided to visit Earth . . .
At first everything was perfect, but after some time the effects of Earth's atmosphere began to take hold. Both men and women experienced "selective amnesia." They forgot they were from different planets.
Without an awareness of how they were different, the Martians began to think the Venusians needed to be fixed, while the Venusians thought the Martians needed to be improved. As they set out to "change" one another, the love they originally felt started to disappear.
Although most of the Martians and Venusians forgot they were different, some were spared. These lucky ones remembered that they were from different planets. With this special insight they continued to grow together in love.
This one realization--that men are from Mars and women are from Venus--has been the missing key for thousands of couples to experience increasing love, better communication, and lasting passion in their relationships.
When we mistakenly think men and women are the same, then suddenly our relationships are filled with unrealistic expectations. Women assume men will do the things women do when they love someone. Men assume women will react the way a man would react when he loves someone. Without clear insight into the ways men and women respond differently, it is no wonder that our feelings get hurt and we end up battling with the one we love most.
Through understanding and remembering that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, we begin to interpret our partners' behaviors and responses in a new light. The old war between the sexes becomes instead the misunderstanding of the sexes. Something very magical takes place in our relationships; our hearts are filled with the warm glow of forgiveness and inspired by a new sense of power to realize our hopes and dreams.
Excerpted from Mars and Venus in Love by John Gray Copyright © 2008 by John Gray. Excerpted by permission.
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