The conclusion to updating the classic concepts for today’s singles and couples.
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In part-one of this two-part series I discussed what has changed in modern relationships and how the principals discussed in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus still apply to couples and singles today.
For a modern day relationships, I offer this guide to translate the 5 most important Mars Venus messages from the original book into today’s fast-paced world. Begining with the 3rd core message discussed in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus...
Core Message #3: He’s exclusively from Mars and she’s exclusively from Venus.
The reality (and I’ve spoken about this for years) is that we’re all made up of Martian and Venusian qualities. Our lives are like concentric circles with some overlapping in the middle. But our core natures, based on hormonal differences, still remain. It’s just a differing degree today.
Take the example of the high-powered women. For her, while she’s the “boss” at the office, when she walks through the door at home, her other duties kick in. She comes home to a list of responsibilities, things she truly values doing for her family, that begin after six at night. The biggest issue I see is the need women have to somehow shed their masculine job roles and adopt their wife and mommy roles by the time she walks in the door. There’s no time for a stop by the cave for a quick fix, so she bottles that up, too, for another day.
The challenge of being both male and female is overwhelming for many women, and it’s very confusing as to which sides of them are valued, respected, appreciated and seen as attractive. Modern women are shouldered with these dual roles and the biggest impact is often in the bedroom.
If you look at magazines, movies and art, the way we still depict attractive women is in a very feminine way. The hard-core business woman is not the one we see men lusting after on film. This very mixed message is one of the hardest things women have to combat and it reminds me of the song lyrics: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re a man…”
Modern women are under more stress than ever and all of this impacts sexual attraction. To say that the recipe for her to fix this is to come home and shed her powerful self in exchange for a softer, sexier side would be seen as an archaic, sexist request by many readers. Yet I tell you, it’s the women who master this dance between their business self, motherly self, and wifely self, that are in the most successful marriages today.
Core Message #4: Attraction is created through effort. The question today is WHO should make the effort.
What’s key to retaining a healthy sex life in modern marriages is two things: creating time for sex and actually DOING IT. No one’s sex life is perfect. Every couple has a story of a bad night, a “couldn’t keep it up” moment or a time when it wasn’t a priority. The important thing is, with everything we have going on in our modern lives, we still need the intimate connection that only comes from sex.
Attraction is created when you prioritize the need to have this special time together. Men and women’s brains are still hardwired so that her biggest sex organ is her mind and his biggest challenge is to turn that mind on. The media reports regularly that women are hungry for more sex in their marriages—the big question is if men are seen as so easily turned on and women are asking for more sex, why isn’t it happening?
The answer is in the effort. Women can do anything. We all know this. But when a woman does everything, it’s guaranteed to backfire in the bedroom. The challenge men need to take on is doing the work to mentally turn his woman on. The challenge women need to take on is letting them. If she’s in control (and certainly we’re talking about the majority of the time here) then he’s not able to turn her on mentally. And for women, sex begins in the brain. If you want to help your wife to have a good orgasm, it begins in her mind, not down south.
Nothing in a marriage does what sex does. Sex is a time between two people that is exclusively and solely for each other. Your job, your finances, your kids…nothing else matters in the moment when you’re lovingly connecting with your partner. Chemically, sex helps with relaxation, better health and cementing your commitment to each other. The bottom line here, modern marriages need more sex.
For singles, the issues around sex are complex but can be boiled down to a few things:
1. Men grow in their attraction when they pursue and they are allowed to purse. What has changed is how we communicate, not the underlying reasons why we communicate. Smart phones, text messages, Facebook and Twitter all have impacted our communication BUT, sending 10 text messages to a man is motivated by the same fear as placing 10 phone calls was a few years back.
2. Next, when sex happens too soon in a relationship, and usually this is before you’re committed, the foundation to handle the insecure feelings that arise after sex isn’t there. This means that when insecurities rise up, the onus on managing those feeling are on the individual person. That message was discussed at length in the Mars & Venus On a Date book and the message hasn’t changed.
What has changed is how we think about sex. The opportunities to find potential mates, especially with online dating are more abundant than ever. However that doesn’t stop many people from feeling the fatigue that excessive dating brings. Sex itself seems to be everywhere, readily available and a bit less special because people are having lots of sex with lots of people.
The question singles have to ask is why they’re having sex? Is it to vet a possible mate or make a mate happy or are they simply into sex? The core message here that remains the same is that the right time to have sex is when you’re ready. Not when someone pressures you to have sex, but after you've had time to get to know each other’s values and beliefs, and feel secure enough not to panic if you don't have contact for a week after. In the past 20 years, that message hasn’t changed.
Core Message #5: In every relationship there is a Martian and a Venusian. The question is who fits those roles.
The Mars Venus message has evolved to apply to all relationships: heterosexual, homosexual and relationships where she is more Martian and he is more Venusian. The critical thing to think about is that we are attracted to balance. Relationships that are out of balance are those where you have too much male energy (the high-powered couple where everyone is in charge all the time) or too much female energy (the depressed, powerless couple where everyone is in need and no one takes charge).
In every healthy relationship there is a person who is the classic “Martian” and one who is the classic “Venusian”. In heterosexual relationships those roles are typically filled by the man and woman, respectively. As our lives become more complicated, there are more questions as to how it plays out in relationships.
What needs to be considered is the bigger issue of how we want to give and receive love. Does it happen through caregiving and nurturing or does it happen though problem solving and action? There’s no right or wrong to this question, but something you want to consider in your search for love and your quest to sustain love.
If you’re the person that wants to be called in an “emergency”, then you’re like me and you’re the “emergency man” in your relationship. My wife doesn’t want this role, she wants to be able to put out an “all-points bulletin” when something goes wrong and I love stepping in to help. That works for us.
Modern marriages are most successful when two people understand who they are at their core, related to this question of giving and receiving love. For more on this, join me on Thursday on YourTango’s Facebook page where we can talk about what it means to be in a modern relationship.
If you’re single and searching, we’ll discuss what you need to understand about yourself, how you handle stress and what you’re attracted to, in order to bring in the “right” mate and turn away those who don’t fit your needs. If you’re married, we’ll explore how you communicate your needs to your partner and learn to understand their needs to reduce stress in your marriage.
Remember, the Mars Venus message is as important today as it ever was. More than ever, we need to learn how to understand ourselves and communicate our feelings, needs and desires successfully to our partners. Join me on my website www.marsvenus.com and on Facebook for a deeper conversation on how to make your modern relationships work.
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