By Bong Chansambath
Speaking of books, I prefer non-fiction, and I am picky about what I choose to read. I read only books that are related social sciences disciplines such as politics, economics, philosophy and history. Romance and drama are not on my “To-Read” list. However, two years ago I went to a local bookstore, and for the first time a non-political book with a catchy title “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex” (authored by Dr. John Gray.) caught my attention.
That title may sound like a manual to successful relationship to you, right? Yes, it does discuss how one can create and preserve meaningful relationships with their your loved one. However, the bigger picture that this book provides is how men and women define communication, and what we can do to better understand the ways the ways opposite sex behave under various circumstances such as anger, disappointment, sad or joy. For these reasons, I believe it would be useful to put down some words and share with you [readers] two of the most important differences between men and women, which, I believe, can be useful in understanding not only intimate relationships but also relationships between friends, colleagues and families.
In this book, Dr. Gray refer to men as “Martian” as they come from Mars and women as “Venusian” because they live on Venus. First of all, Dr. Gray argues that men prefer to not talk, getting more focused in their thoughts and trying to solve problems when they are stressed or faced with difficulties in life. On the other hand, women choose to talk about the problem with their loved ones, friends, colleagues or parents to release stress. By talking about their issues, women establish a connection and tend to feel that they are being understood by their loved ones. As a result, warmth and companionship are all they ask for.
In contrast, because men are born with a mindset that they are the master of problem-solving and should be responsible to deal with every issue by themselves, they tend not to try ask for help. They prefer to have quiet time alone to wind down a little bit before they bounce back to be the “super hero” once again.
Personally, I could not agree more with what the author says. The explanation tells us a lot about different roles and how good listening plays a big part in communication. It is not always applicable to try to be helpful by asking and offering solutions when you see someone sad. Each person has their own way of approach when dealing with issues or coping with stress.
Second, men want communications that makes them feel accepted and trusted. Meanwhile, women primarily thrive when they feel that they are being taken care of. This is another major difference that differentiate these two sexes. Dr. Gray illustrates that it is vital for a man to feel that he has his loved ones’ trust including wife, girlfriend, parents or friends. In my opinion, this may shed light on one particular belief that is upheld by men in general. We have always striven to secure good education and to build up a professional career so as to ensure that we can provide the best for our families. This, in return, makes us feel that we can be trusted by our loved ones — financially or intellectually. I am not rebuking the fact that women also need and aim to pursue those two things. What I wish to underscore here is that good education and well-paid job have become an obsessions for almost every man. They have also become standards set by society to measure our success. This, however, has made life an endless race towards financial and social status.
Nevertheless, besides work and education, the book says women pay high attention to how they are treated by their loved ones. It says that they want to be feel that they are well taken care of. That they need someone to listen to their complains and tell them that everything is going to be fine. This makes them feel loved.
In short, I highly recommend this book to everyone regardless of your gender or age. This books holds various significance in human communications. It tells us how men and women communicate differently. Moreover, it offers us some solutions on how to deal with people intelligently regardless of circumstances and types of relationship. If you wish to understand why your male classmate is mad at you for no reason or how to cheer up your mother when she is sad, this book will in many ways help guide you through.
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.