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Martians and Venutians

My wife, Ruth, and I recently enjoyed viewing the one-man play, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus,” performed at The Garner Galleria Theatre in Denver. This long-running, high-energy comedy is based on Dr. John Gray’s blockbuster book published in 1992 by the same title. It has sold over 50 million copies across the world. I want to share a few themes from the play and some of my reactions to them.

I found the play to be witty, entertaining and very well-performed. I laughed at about a third of it, considered another third cute, and regarded some of the material as outmoded. At least a few scenarios were designed to reach every viewer. I felt that indeed all of the various motifs struck a chord with some folks in the diverse audience.

Mars-Venus show

A central message from the play, which I continually find applicable in my work with couples, is that most men operate from the mindset, “Happy wife, happy life,” whereas many women have a seemingly unending list of expectations of their husbands. A lighthearted video of John Gray was interspersed that offered a similar explanation. Dr. Gray somewhat playfully maintained that women have a scoring system which allots their partners one point for every positive action they perform, however small or large. One such example is that a guy receives the same number of points–just one–for giving his lady a single rose as he does for generously presenting two dozen of them. According to Gray, men often don’t realize the existence of such a scoring system.

Casual-couple-coffeeOur audience roared at the mention that men want trust and approval (“T & A”), while women seek attention and understanding. While that stereotype has some merit, I find that many of us really desire all of those, plus respect and loyalty, from our partners.

Although generally women may be better multi-taskers than men, as cutely depicted in the play (the poor guy could only manage to stand and watch his spaghetti boil), my experience is that ADD or ADHD correlates higher with difficulty to multi-task than does gender. I personally know many men who are very good multi-taskers, myself included, and I’ve met a number of women who struggle performing multiple tasks in proximity.

Mars_Venus_play3

Folks have long known that women typically turn on sexually slower than most men do, so nothing new when that was introduced. A few scenes from the play highlighted men’s strong libido, while paying little attention to women’s sexual interest and desire. During the 25 years since Gray’s book was first published, Western women have felt much more permission to explore and enjoy their sexuality and to be up front about their libido.

One scene from the play depicts a woman knitting at her husband’s side on their couch while he indulges in watching Sunday NFL games. Clearly, in recent decades women have become increasingly involved in participating in a wide variety of sports, as well as enthusiastically viewing them.

My personal and professional experience has demonstrated that relationships are greatly enhanced by couples not only tolerating and coming to accept differences in gender, personality and interests, but especially through developing genuine respect and appreciation for those differences. I welcome your thoughts on the dicey topic of gender differences.

Your relationship coach,
Jim Sharon
www.energyforlife.us

Jim SharonJim Sharon, Ed.D., a licensed psychologist in private practice, has served as a counselor for over 40 years. He attained his life coach certification in 2001 and has received additional training in spiritual direction. Since 2014, he and his wife, Ruth, have specialized in coaching committed, devoted couples to significantly enhance their relationship. Jim and Ruth were voted best relationship coaches in Colorado in 2015 and 2016. Jim has previously served as a business and agency consultant, presented at state and national psychological conferences and has appeared on many radio and TV shows. He is the author of two books and many professional articles.

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