Seven ways to improve your relationship, according to John Gray, Ph.D.


Not everyone loves unsolicited relationship advice. Reading about how to improve the perfect, or maybe not so perfect relationship between you and your significant other is probably not the first thing you click when scrolling through your newsfeed. Although you may have read your share of quick tips and how-tos, this article offers something different.

Here are seven themes from the number one, best-selling relationship book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray, Ph.D.

To understand this article you must remember, men and women are from different planets. Men from Mars (Martians) and women are from Venus (Venusians).

1. Understand the language barrier

“To fully express their feelings, Venusians assume poetic license to use various superlatives, metaphors, and generalizations.”

It is no surprise that one of the biggest obstacles men and women have are understanding each other. It’s like they are from two different planets. This is why Gray calls men Martians and women Venusians. The Martian and Venusian languages have the same words, but the way they are used has different meanings.

For example, a woman may say: “I feel like we never talk”. To a woman, using the word “never” is just a way of expressing her frustration. Men mistakenly take these expressions literally and this causes frustration.

To ease the tension between male and female communication, men need to realize women do not literally mean every word they say, while women should note that they would experience better results, from men, by directly telling him what she needs.


2. When to listen, when to talk

To know when to listen and when to talk, it is important to realize how Martians and Venusians cope with stress.

“Men become increasingly focused and withdrawn while women become increasingly overwhelmed and emotionally involved.”

According to Gray, to feel better, men retreat within themselves to be alone and to solve the problem, while women get together to talk about their problems. Naturally, this causes an issue when a woman wants to talk but the man does not. In order to communicate effectively, women need to respect when a man needs to be alone, while the man should listen when his woman is talking and try to not interrupt her with solutions and advice.  
3. Learn how to motivate the opposite sex

Men are motivated and empowered when they feel needed, while women are motivated and empowered when they feel cherished.”

When a man does not feel needed, he becomes less energized and more passive. On the other hand, women become compulsively responsible and exhausted from giving too much when they do not feel cherished.

In order to motivate your partner, try doing the little things that will either make them feel cherished or needed. Such as making an effort to hug your woman at least four times every day or letting your man help you or directly asking him for his help.  


4. Discover each other’s emotional needs

“Both men and women feel they give and give but do not get back. They feel their love is unacknowledged and unappreciated. The truth is they are both giving love but not in the desired manner.”

Since Martians and Venusians speak different languages, it is easy for them to misinterpret what each other want. According to Gray, men typically give in the relationship what men want, while woman put into the relationship what women want. This makes it difficult for everyone’s needs to be met. Women need to be cared for, understood, respected, devoted, validated, and reassured. Martians, however, need something different. Men need to be trusted, accepted, appreciated, admired, approved and encouraged.  

If you are a Martian, try to meet the emotional needs of your partner by showing interest in her feelings and well-being.

If you a Venusian, try to meet the emotional needs of your man by accepting him and his behavior. This makes him feel appreciated.  

5. Realize how your partner keeps score

“A woman needs to accept a man’s instinctive tendencies to focus all his energies into one big thing and minimize the importance of the little things.”

Unknowingly, both Martians and Venusians keep score. When a man brings home flowers for his woman, he scores one point with her. To a woman, any act of love equals one point. Yet to a man, depending on its size and how much he appreciates it, the gift itself could be worth several points.

According to Gray, men stop giving when they feel they are being taken for granted. To avoid this, it is important that a woman let her man know that what he is doing is appreciated.

For men, remember to do the little things for your woman because those are just as significant as the bigger things.  


6. How to ask for support and get it

“On Venus their motto is ‘Love is never having to ask!”’

Women find it frustrating to ask for support because they intuitively feel the needs of others and give whatever they can. They mistakenly expect men to do the same. In order for a woman to feel her needs are being met or that her voice is being heard, it is important that she directly ask that of her significant other instead of assuming it will automatically be done.

Explicit phrases such as: “I really need to sit down and talk to you” or “I really want to go out tonight”, instead of dropping subtle hints resonates with Martians the most. For Martians, their motto is if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. This means that if a woman is not asking for support, a man assumes he is giving enough.

When asking a Martian for support, keep in mind that they respond the best when:

  1. It’s the appropriate time.
  2. Your attitude is non-demanding.
  3. You are brief.
  4. You are direct.
  5. You use correct wording.

7. How to avoid arguments

“The best way to help a man grow is to let go of trying to change him in any way.”  

Usually, arguments can be traced back to someone trying to change something about the other person, whether it be an attitude, perspective or quality.  

Since the Martian motto is don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. When a woman attempts to change a man, he automatically assumes that she thinks something is broken. This makes him defensive and he doesn’t feel as loved or accepted. The woman fails to see that she makes her man feel like a burden since, in her eyes, all she is trying to do is care for him.

According to Gray, men should remember that women are not intent on picking a fight: they are just showing how they care and what they think is the best way to help.


So next time you think your significant other is trying to pick a fight with you, just remember that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.