Speaking Martian

I may as well plug a book I’m reading, even though I haven’t finished it. It’s not a Christian book, but it is a surprisingly wise book, and you’ve probably heard of it: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, by John Gray. Of course, coming from a secular writer, there will be things you dismiss as you go. But despite that, I have learned quite a bit.

Doug and I have taught on the differences between men and women for years, but this book really takes it to another level. He pushes things into the corners, explaining in very practical and helpful ways how men and women think differently. And of course if we understand the differences, we can get along much better. As Christians, we have God’s Word and grace and Spirit to help us. So if we can learn some more common sense to boot, we have a tremendous advantage in understanding one another.

For example, I have taught that women have a greater need for communication than men do. So far, so good. But Gray explains that it is far more complicated than that. Women like to talk to relieve stress. Women find out what they think as they are talking. Though I would not have put it like that, I do think he is on to something. I often figure things out by talking. And I feel lots better after a long day if I can talk about it all. I think he is right.

Men, however, don’t have the same need to report on all the events of their day. They will if they have to, but there are other things they would prefer, like reading the paper or watching the news. That is how they relax after a hard day, but wives can misunderstand this, assuming that a husband should want to chat about the day the same way she does. Gray gives lots of suggestions on how to overcome potential misunderstandings.

Last night I read this quote and just burst out laughing at his insight: “What women don’t know about Martians is that they need to have a reason to talk. They don’t talk just for the sake of sharing.” (That gem is on page 107.)
Hooray! I get it now! When I read that quote to Doug he chuckled and confessed that many times when I was trying to start a conversation, he was rummaging like the dickens in his mind for a topic. What a saint!

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10 thoughts on “Speaking Martian

  1. No wonder I’m feeling a bit bonkers! My husband has been on travel for two weeks, and conversations have not been long enough for my complete daily report of the events.

    Consider, though, that not all Martians are alike. Some Martians are engineers and have an even lesser need to use words than verbal, artsy type Venus natives! These Martians go for the bottom line, not usually the analysis. In a similar vein, I do believe that it was Jim Dobson who remarked that men need to use only 20,000 words a day, whereas women need to use 50,000. If a man has been at work all day, he’s used up his quota. If his wife has been at home all day, she’s saved hers up, just waiting for him to come home so that she can use them with him!

    Years ago my husband and I read Mars/Venus aloud to each other and just laughed and laughed together. We found it helpful in getting a dialog rolling which furthered our understanding of one another. Thanks for sharing your observations from this book.

  2. Well, I didn’t ever think I’d be reading a book review on Mars / Venus from Nancy Wilson.

    However, now I’m interested!

    Thanks for continuing to help us understand our Martians better – it has helped me so much in the fight to learn respect.

  3. Here’s an amusing quote from humorist Gene Weingarten on the idea that men are “digital” and women “analog”…

    “Metaphorically, if you ask a man the time, he will answer 5:13:06 and go back to reading the sports section. If you ask a woman the time, she will say, “It’s almost a quarter after 5, give or take a little. I suppose you’re asking because you’re wondering why I haven’t started dinner, but you don’t want to ask that outright because you’re concerned that it will look like you are taking me for granted, which you are, but I have to admit you make up for in other ways, so … why can’t you take your head out of the paper while we are having a significant conversation about our relationship?”

  4. I, like others, thought that this would be the last book that I would see reviewed you, Mrs. Wilson! I had to laugh a little as this book was required for a class that I took in college (Jan 2001). Actually, it was the whole text for the class! Granted, it was an interterm class but I think it was called “He Said, She Said: The Miscommunication of the Sexes”– or something quite creative like that. It was an interesting book and I was quite single at the time. I remember the assignments being fun as we journaled different situations presented by the book and our professor. I think some of it, at some level, has stuck with me as I learn to communicate with my husband now (we have been married just over a year). There are some good things there, and like you said, there are things that one must just dismiss. I appreciate that you have shared this book through the lens of wisdom. I appreciate you, Mrs. Wilson.

  5. I don’t get out much (poor health) and like to get all the ‘details’ from my all-male family. Yeh… When my son got back from a close friend’s wedding, I asked “What was her dress like?”
    “White.”

  6. I’m even worse than the average woman: I can’t talk about stuff; I have to write. So my communications idiosyncrasies are a nuisance even for other women.

    Ellen, I’m torn between sympathy for you and amusement that you had any hope of a more detailed response to that particular question! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. “Men are from Mars”, recommended to me at my church bridal shower, is on my library shelf next to my Wilson Collection. :o)

    Another I think you would get a hearty chuckle from is Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.” The gist is that proper care of husbands is actually quite simple: Husbands need respect, good food, and good lovin’. I enjoyed reading it and my husband is glad I did, too. ;o)

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