6 Solid Relationship Hacks I Learned From An Off-Broadway Show

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mars venus

No surprise that a show based on John Gray's book would be chock full of great relationship advice.

If you've ever sought relationship advice (and who hasn't?), then you've at least heard of John Gray's masterpiece Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

And that's if you're one of the last people on Earth left who haven't purchased the book. Seriously, it's sold over 50 million copies so far.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus has had a huge impact on the way people view relationships. This one single book has inspired a couple decades of dialogue on love, interest in self-help/self-improvement, a sitcom and now, a stage show called Mars-Venus Live.

Actor and writer of the live show Peter Story (yes, he jokes that his parents may as well have named him Johnson Ballad) delivers the show through a series of mildly exaggerated personal stories around a central point-of-view  — typically "life is hard" or "dating sucks" or "I'm a weirdo but you have to be in this town"  and he does so as if you were chatting over a cold one after a dinner party.

Story, an everyman from Central Casting, did wonder if a "hip, NYC audience" would be interested in being open-minded enough to find wisdom and humor in a show about a traditional love story. Well, we sure did (a comprehensive review of the show is linked to below). 

Here are six takeaways that can instantly improve your relationships for the better

1. Always say "Yes."

If your partner needs you to say those three magic words, just say them.

Story discusses a few instances in which a the silence was deafening when one partner thought, "Do you love me?" was a rhetorical question. 

2. Vulnerability is a gift to both of you.

An anecdote arises in which a heavy box draws a couple much, much closer. We're taught independence is a virtue FULL STOP ... but that's how you end up living in cabin typing manifestos.

Interdependence, telling your partner that you will carry him when he's weak with the understanding that they'll do the same, is the cornerstone of all relationships not just romantic ones. You cannot do it yourself.

3. Your partner keeps you grounded.

There are no fewer than a dozen moments in which Story hit on a point that had member of the audience staring at a laughing date with a look that says, "Why are you laughing? He's talking about you."

We all have some funhouse mirror idea of who were are and it's up to our primary partner(s) to remind us who we really are. 

4: Silence is golden.

Even if you're laughing the whole time, being talked at for 55 minutes is exhausting. Mars-Venus Live does a great job of breaking up Story's monologues with video vignettes (and an intermission).

Being comfortable in silence with your partner is a boon, and knowing when to shut up and listen is a godsend. 

5. Celebrate your differences instead of letting them drive a wedge between you.

John Gray's big book largely works from the idea that biological differences in the genders result in disparate responses to stress in general.

Some people disagree but the real lesson is that some things set your partner at-ease when stressed, they really appreciate some acts of kindness and …

6. Biology always wins.

I think that was also the lesson from Jurassic Park, so it's doubly important that you remember that sometimes our bodies get in the way of our souls trying to communicate.

Managing our bodies (sleep, diet, exercise) goes a profoundly long way to managing our relationships.