Hormonal Balance—The Key to    Life, Love and energyFrom the author of the #1 Best sellerMen are from          mars women ...
Venus on Fire Mars on iceCopyright © 2010 Mind Publishing Inc.All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or rep...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice              acknowledgments     I thank my wife, Bonnie, for sharing the journey of develop-ing...
Venus on Fire Mars on iceeditorial staff, Martin and Josie Brown, at the MarsVenusLiving.comonline magazine and my daughte...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice        This book is dedicated  with deepest love and affection to my wife, Bonnie Gray, and our ...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice                         forward                     by Hyla cass, M.D.     Science has now prove...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice    In Venus on Fire Mars on Ice, John shares the essential elementsof wellness, happiness and la...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice                      Contents   Introduction                                           ixChapter...
Chapter 1        Venus on Fire,         Mars on ice           –why?      she wonders: Why is he so cold?  He wonders: Why ...
Venus on Fire Mars on iceparticipate in family life when he gets home? Why can’t he open upand share his feelings? Is he t...
Venus on Fire Mars on icestress—whether that’s the big stress of a major loss or setback or thelittle stress of working th...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice    taking time for recreation gives him a chance to rebuild his stores of    testosterone. Take ...
Venus on Fire Mars on iceshe’s shopping. There’s no goal, either—as far as he can tell, she’sgoing to shop forever! Withou...
Venus on Fire Mars on icewomen had plenty of time to create a nurturing home they had veryfew expectations of a husband be...
Venus on Fire Mars on icesay, 1960. Today’s husband has a wife with a list of complaints andneeds that his father couldn’t...
Venus on Fire Mars on icefrustration, disappointment and concern to grow. Better we shouldgain a clear and specific unders...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice4. Question: Men commonly ask, “Why does she get so upset aboutthings? Why can’t she just chill? ...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice    Answer: In the beginning of your relationship, he was solv-    ing a problem: getting you to ...
Venus on Fire Mars on icewhat’s really going on. We won’t blame our partners when thingsgo wrong, because we know that mos...
Venus on Fire Mars on iceand forgive one another. In so doing, we grow closer together in-stead of further apart. Recogniz...
Venus on Fire Mars on iceinconsiderate he was and checking repeatedly to see if the car wasstill there. Eventually I even ...
Venus on Fire Mars on ice       In Chapter Two we’ll explore how stress hormones such as cor-  tisol affect our health, so...
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  1. 1. Hormonal Balance—The Key to Life, Love and energyFrom the author of the #1 Best sellerMen are from mars women are from venus John Gray, Ph.D. With Fore W ord by hyla Cass, M.d.
  2. 2. Venus on Fire Mars on iceCopyright © 2010 Mind Publishing Inc.All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in anymanner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of briefquotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.For information contact:Mind Publishing1550 United BoulevardCoquitlam, B.C. V3K 6Y2www.mindpublishing.com1-866-573-9362ISBN 978-0-9782797-3-8Printed in CanadaDesign: FWH CreativeIllustration: Ernie Thompson This book is printed using vegetable-based inks on FSC certified SW-COC-001271 paper, which is chlorine free, old growth free, harvested using sustainable forest practices, and 100% biodegradable.
  3. 3. Venus on Fire Mars on ice acknowledgments I thank my wife, Bonnie, for sharing the journey of develop-ing this book with me. For 25 years she has been a great teacher aswell as my biggest fan. She is a tremendous source of insight andher capacity to love is a great inspiration. I thank her for expandingmy ability to understand and honor the female point of view. Thisperspective has not only enriched our life together but also providesthe foundation for the many insights in this book. I thank our three daughters, Shannon and her husband Jon,Juliet and her husband Dan, and Lauren, for their continuous loveand support. Our many conversations have definitely enriched myperspective on what it means to be a young woman today. The lovewe share and the many challenges they have each overcome havehelped anchor the many practical ideas in Venus on Fire Mars onIce. I also thank our grandchildren, Sophia Rose, Bo Oliver andBradyn James for the new joy and delight they have brought to ourfamily. I thank my staff and support team, Bonnie Gray, Katie Bushnell,Marci Wynne, Gary Thompson, Renee DeBruin, Susan Burns, RichBernstein, Jeff Owens, Dean Levin, Elley Coren, Sherrie Nattrass,and Russ and Carol Burns, for their consistent support and hardwork in organizing and producing my talks, seminars, columns,internet TV and radio show, nutritional product developmentand distribution, MarsVenus.com website, AskMarsVenus.comtelephone coaching, MarsVenusDating.com and our monthly MarsVenus Wellness Retreats. For a small group of people you do a lot. I thank Rich Bernstein, Jim Taylor and Melodie Tucker fortheir support in creating and sustaining the Mars Venus ExecutiveCoaching training program which is active around the world.Because of their continuous support our Mars Venus Executivecoaches experience increasing success. I also want to thank my i
  4. 4. Venus on Fire Mars on iceeditorial staff, Martin and Josie Brown, at the MarsVenusLiving.comonline magazine and my daughter Lauren Gray for her brilliant rela-tionship column Guys Are From Mars, Chicks Are From Venus. Inaddition, I want to thank the many Mars Venus Counselors for theirdedication to bringing these insights to their clients. I also want tothank the hundreds of supportive people who help our team bringthis message to the world. I thank Roland Gahler for his brilliant vision and encourage-ment, Nancy Cheeseman and Shelagh Jamieson for their hard workand enthusiasm, Dr. Michael Lyon for his expert medical advice,and James Pellechia and Ellen Wojahn for their brilliant feedbackand editorial expertise. I thank Ernie Thompson for his brilliantillustrations that help to capture and simplify this message, andFWH Creative for designing the book and cover. The ideas in this book are certainly inspired by my own per-sonal experiences in creating a loving relationship and in helpingothers do the same but without the thousands of people who havegenerously shared their insights, experiences and research it couldnever have been so rich. Each page has some jewel of wisdom that Ihave cherished in hearing and I know you, the reader, will as well. Togather these ideas, it has taken a team of dedicated health, happinessand relationship teachers, writers, coaches, researchers, therapists,doctors, nurses, patients and seminar participants over thirty yearsto refine and develop. Much of this work in developing the newideas for Venus on Fire Mars on Ice was done through special gath-erings and seminars at the Mars Venus Wellness Center in NorthernCalifornia over the past eight years. I thank my parents, Virginia and David Gray, for all theirlove and support, and Lucille Brixey, who was always like a secondmother to me. Although they are no longer here, their love andencouragement continue to surround and bless me. ii
  5. 5. Venus on Fire Mars on ice This book is dedicated with deepest love and affection to my wife, Bonnie Gray, and our three daughters Lauren, Juliet and Shannon.Their love has supported me to be the best I can be, and to share with others what we have learned together as a family. iii
  6. 6. Venus on Fire Mars on ice forward by Hyla cass, M.D. Science has now proven what we have always instinctivelyknown: that the mind and body are inseparably linked. Now inhis new book, John Gray explains how our minds and moods areaffected by our hormones, and how hormonal balance is key to suc-cessful relationships and joyful living. John has helped millions of couples with their relationshipsby unraveling their complicated feelings, and will now address,using his simple but enlightened approach, the way the hormonaldifferences between the sexes affects the way they interpret andrespond to one another and the world around them. He revealswhy women need a good supply of oxytocin and men, testoster-one. He explains the impact of stress on hormonal balance, andhow the stress of our modern lives is having far reaching effects onour relationships and our health. One of John’s true gifts is his ability to capture the essentialnature of our differences and to explain them in terms that we canunderstand, providing practical tips and advice that anyone can fol-low. And you don’t need a PhD, or to completely rebuild your life.And although there will always be some people who require greatercare or personal counseling, John’s approach allows most people tomake improvements in their lives and loves simply and easily. We not only can’t separate the mind from the body, but wecan’t change one without changing the other. Our perspectives onlife can have a huge impact on our emotional and physical health.Sometimes a slight shift in thinking can make a huge difference—between being sad or happy, between feeling anger or sympathy,or between giving up on our relationships or being able to flourishin them. v
  7. 7. Venus on Fire Mars on ice In Venus on Fire Mars on Ice, John shares the essential elementsof wellness, happiness and lasting passion, revealing the keys tonatural health and joyous vitality. about Hyla cass, M.D. Hyla Cass, M.D., is a board certified psychiatrist, and interna-tionally acclaimed innovator in the field of integrative medicine,emphasizing natural approaches to psychiatry, women’s health, andhormonal issues. A frequent expert on national radio, television,and in national print media, she is also author of several popularbooks including Natural Highs, 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, andSupplement Your Prescription. vi
  8. 8. Venus on Fire Mars on ice Contents Introduction ixChapter1. Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice—Why? 12. Venus and Mars Under Stress 153. Venus and Mars Out of Orbit 294. Cooling Down Venus, Heating Up Mars 455. Venus and Mars, Changing Places?!? 656. Why Venus Stops Talking and Mars Stops Listening 837. Emergency Man— The Real Reason Why Women Need You 998. Venus and Mars Collide Into Love 1159. Menopause is from Venus, “Man-O-Pause” is from Mars 13910. Super Fuel to Balance the Planets— Nutrition for Healthy Hormones 15511. Venus and Mars at Rest 17312. Love, Sex and Happiness 187 Afterword 219 For More Information 221AppendixA. One Hundred Oxytocin-Producing Activities A Woman Can Engage In 223B. Grounded to the Earth 227C. Herbal Supplements for Increased Sexual Desire and Enhanced Performance 233 vii
  9. 9. Chapter 1 Venus on Fire, Mars on ice –why? she wonders: Why is he so cold? He wonders: Why is she so angry with me? He comes home after an exhausting day, looking forward toputting his feet up and relaxing in his favorite chair. He’s ready tochill, read the news or watch TV. Finally, after a day of tacklingproblems on the job, he can just put the day’s frustrations behindhim. The last thing he wants is to deal with another problem. He’sready for a break. He wants a chance to cool down and forget hisresponsibilities. She wonders, what’s wrong? Is he ignoring me? Shouldn’t he tellme about his day, or ask me about mine? Can’t he do a few chores be-fore he plops into a chair? Does he even see me here? In her mind, theconcerns escalate. Why doesn’t he want to talk to me? Why doesn’t he 1
  10. 10. Venus on Fire Mars on iceparticipate in family life when he gets home? Why can’t he open upand share his feelings? Is he taking me for granted? What happenedto the man I married? Does he even love me anymore? She wonders: Why is he so cold? (Mars on Ice.) He wonders: Why is she so angry with me? (Venus on Fire.) Sound familiar? Well, if men are from Mars and women are fromVenus, then, at the end of the day or after a few years of marriage,quite often Venus is on Fire and Mars is on Ice. And until quite re-cently, we haven’t had the scientific knowledge to understand why. The Hormones of Fire and Ice These opposing attributes—fire in women and ice in men—really do exist. Women and men aren’t different because they grewup differently or came to look at the world in differing ways, thoughboth can be true. It’s because the bodies of men and women are hor-monally poles apart. The biochemical makeup of the two genders isnot the same. We have known this, in broad terms, for a long time.But it’s only recently that we’ve gained the scientific knowledge topinpoint which hormones are most influential in the success andfailure of relationships. Understanding our gender-related hormon-al differences provides us a revolutionary new perspective not onlyon improving our day-to-day efforts to relate to one another, but onhow to create a lifetime’s worth of health and happiness together. Recent research has revealed that women release a hormonecalled oxytocin to cope with stress while men release testosterone forthe same purpose. Oxytocin is released in safe, cooperative, caring,supportive and nurturing situations. Testosterone is something ofan emergency hormone, released in situations that require urgency,sacrifice for a noble cause and problem solving. This hormonal dif-ference offers us a keener understanding of why men and womenso often fail to “get” one another. It’s because men and womenhave very different biochemical needs when they seek to cope with 2
  11. 11. Venus on Fire Mars on icestress—whether that’s the big stress of a major loss or setback or thelittle stress of working through a to-do list. For Testosterone Release For Oxytocin Release 1 Urgency and Emergency Safe and Cooperative 2 Sacrifice for a noble Cause Caring and Supportive 3 Problem Solving nurturing activities This is a ground-breaking discovery for the newly emerging sci-ence of gender intelligence. It deserves our attention because itpoints both men and women in the right direction when seeking tohandle the ups and downs of daily life. More importantly, it helpseach side make sense of the opposite sex and the very different waysin which the other gender copes. So for clarity, let’s delve deeper into this remarkable hormonaldiscovery. Understanding the differing effects of oxytocin andtestosterone on men and women is thefirst step in making the subtle shifts in For a man, increasedbehavior and nutrition we’ll discuss in levels of testosteronethe rest of the book. reduce stress. For a Let’s start with men. When a man’s woman, increasedhormonal testosterone level goes up, his levels of oxytocinstress level comes down. That’s not true reduce stress.for a woman. Testosterone feels good toher because it gives her a sense of power and capability and makesher feel sexy, but it doesn’t lower her stress level. Too much testos-terone can cause aggression and impulsivity and, yes, it can actuallyraise a woman’s level of stress. To cope effectively with stress, a man is drawn to situations thateither release testosterone or rebuild testosterone. Problem solvingreleases testosterone, which is why men enjoy fixing the toaster orchanging the oil. As he acts, a man feels competent and powerful. Butsoon thereafter he needs to kick back and recover, because resting or 3
  12. 12. Venus on Fire Mars on ice taking time for recreation gives him a chance to rebuild his stores of testosterone. Take away either half of the cycle and I’ll show you a man who is stressed out and probably not functioning very well. Now let’s look at women. When oxytocin levels go up in a woman, her stress levels come down. This is not true for a man. Oxytocin feels good to him, increasing his tendencies The cycle of action toward trust, empathy, and generosity, and rest helps men but it’s like testosterone in a woman— cope effectively oxytocin doesn’t lower his stress level. It with stress. may even increase it. Practically speak- ing, too much oxytocin can make a man sleepy and knock his testosterone level down significantly. To cope effectively with stress, women are drawn to situations that stimulate the release of oxytocin and facilitate the rebuilding of oxytocin. By sharing herself in nurturing situations, oxytocin is released and her stress levels decline. By receiving nurturing sup- port, she is able to rebuild her oxytocin levels. This cycle of nur- turing, then receiving nurturing support, then nurturing again, governs the life of a woman who is successful in coping with her stress. Deprive her of any part of it and she’ll soon be feeling like she’s stretched too thin. When we talk about these stress-relieving hormones, it’s impor- tant to remember that both genders make use of testosterone and oxytocin and derive benefit from each of these biochemical sub- stances. But men and women differ The cycle of giving greatly on how much of each hormone and receiving they need and how effectively they make nurturing support it and store it. helps women cope Take testosterone. While it’s a bene-effectively with stress. ficial hormone for women, it’s much more important for men. Without it, a man’s stress level rises quickly. Think of the poor guy who goes to the mall with his wife. There’s no problem for him to solve when 4
  13. 13. Venus on Fire Mars on iceshe’s shopping. There’s no goal, either—as far as he can tell, she’sgoing to shop forever! Without a problem to solve or a goal tomeet, he’s exhausted and frustrated and soon downright demoral-ized. He’s not making any testosterone and must make a lot of itand fast, for he needs not 10 times more than a woman, but fully30 times more. That, ladies, is why he seems magnetically pulledto the closest chair and it’s also why it’s such a struggle to get himout of that chair. Your man is in testosterone deficit, big-time! Heneeds far more of it than you. Now let’s look at oxytocin. Oxytocin is certainly beneficial tomen, but it’s much more important to women. It’s not an issue ofquantity, because women and menactually have similar levels of oxytocin. Men must makeIt’s that women deplete their supply of 30 times moreoxytocin faster than men, and that’s testosterone thanespecially true when a woman is under women to recoverstress. Availing themselves of opportu- from stress.nities to rebuild oxytocin levels byreceiving nurturing support is the greatest unmet challenge forwomen today. Finding time to receive nurturing is often the lastthing a woman is willing to do when she’s under stress. She doesmore and more and more because, until now, she hasn’t under-stood the role oxytocin plays in her well-being. With a new graspon the hormonal dynamics in her life, any woman should be ableto shift from always giving to taking the time she needs to receivesupport. Balancing Work and Home Life Back when men brought home the bacon and women stayedhome to raise the children, things were more clear-cut, hormonallyspeaking. In the so-called ideal household of an earlier era, menknew they could relax when they came home in the evening. Because 5
  14. 14. Venus on Fire Mars on icewomen had plenty of time to create a nurturing home they had veryfew expectations of a husband besides being a gentleman and a goodprovider. In this traditional arrangement, each gender had a betterchance of having their hormonal storehouses replenished than wesee today. Today, balancing work and home life, business and personallife, has become a great challenge for most women and the men wholove them. Each day a woman returns from one full-time job outsidethe home to another—inside the home. Whether she loves the jobor simply needs it for economic reasons, working leaves her little orno time to relax and cope with stress. As she returns home fromwork and approaches the door, she’s almost afraid to open it! That’sbecause, inside, she faces a whole new set of responsibilities withnowhere near enough time to “do it all.” For many women, balancing workWith more women with the continued challenges of life at in the workplace home is a goal that remains frustratingly the stress at home out of reach. Making money and con- has increased. tributing to the family is great, many tell me, “but I’d kill for a good night’s sleep!”And a romantic date with their husband. And a little help with thedishes. For too many women I know today, life is out of balance andrelentlessly stressful. Objective research backs up my anecdotal evidence. Cortisol isa major stress hormone, and studies measuring men’s and women’scortisol levels reveal that women’s stress levels at work are doublethose of a man. When she returns home, those stress levels increaseeven more. Meanwhile, a man who comes home to sit in his easychair and watch the news sees his cortisol levels, which are alreadylower than hers, drop yet lower. His world didn’t change much whenwomen increased their representation in the workforce. But herworld is off its axis. And that fact has led to what is perhaps the mostsignificant difference between men of today, as opposed to men of, 6
  15. 15. Venus on Fire Mars on icesay, 1960. Today’s husband has a wife with a list of complaints andneeds that his father couldn’t have imagined. It used to be that women were measurably happier than men, butnot anymore. While men have shown little change in happiness overthe past 20 years, the average woman’s happiness level as measured onpsychological surveys has sunk like a stone. As a man who has beenmarried for almost 25 years, I know that women’s unhappiness is go-ing to begin negatively affecting men’s happiness levels and soon.There’s a common saying, “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobodyhappy.” In my experience, it’s true. When women suffer we all suffer. When stress levels are moderate andwell managed, both men and women Women now scorecan be at their best. They are warm and lower than men onfriendly as well as giving and apprecia- tests that measuretive to each other. But as stress increases, happiness.they change—and the change expressesitself in significantly different ways. Women feel overwhelmed withtoo much to do, while men either retreat to preoccupations withwork or fall asleep on the couch. When home life no longer offersremedies for the stress of work, women tend to heat up while menbecome cold as ice. Making Sense of Our Differences Here’s where I think our improved understanding of hormonalinfluences makes a major contribution. Learning about testosteroneand oxytocin and the differing effects they have on the two gendersoffers great hope for finding peace and mutual satisfaction in ourrelationships. Incorporating our new knowledge is crucial: Unlessthose of us in relationships understand our differing needs when wereact to the stressors in our lives, we will experience ever-increasingtension and disillusionment. That’s because failing to understandour partners at this basic, biochemical level allows unnecessary 7
  16. 16. Venus on Fire Mars on icefrustration, disappointment and concern to grow. Better we shouldgain a clear and specific understanding of the roles of testosteroneand oxytocin and how they can help us make sense of one another.Let’s explore a few common questions with new answers:1. Question: Women commonly ask, “How can he just sit there andwatch TV when the house is a mess?” Answer: A man seeks out the couch or an easy chair after a stressful day because relaxing his muscles and putting the prob- lems and responsibilities of the day out of his mind rebuilds his testosterone levels. He may not notice the mess, or if he does, it doesn’t bother him. He’s got higher priorities.2. Question: Men commonly ask, “Why does she always want totalk about her day? Even worse, why does she want me to talk aboutmy day?” Answer: A woman seeks out nurturing activities as a way of rebuilding her oxytocin levels and reducing her stress. That’s why she wants her man to talk about his day. When a man listens supportively as she de- scribes her day, this also helps rebuild her oxytocin levels. 3. Question: Women com- monly ask, “What’s the big deal with watching TV? Whyis he more interested in TV than in me? And furthermore, why does heinsist on having a big-screen TV?” Answer: Studies have shown that when a man is relaxing and watching TV his testosterone levels are rebuilding and increasing, reducing his stress. As to the second part of the question, I’d say that size does matter. Little TV, little testosterone. Big TV—well, you get the picture! 8
  17. 17. Venus on Fire Mars on ice4. Question: Men commonly ask, “Why does she get so upset aboutthings? Why can’t she just chill? Most of what she talks about doesn’t seemlike such a big deal to me, so why is it so important to her to talk about it?” Answer: It’s a big deal to her. Under moderate stress, women have a much bigger reaction in the emotional part of the brain. Talking about her feelings helps her to feel seen, heard, under- stood and loved. This, in turn, rebuilds and releases her anti- stress hormone, oxytocin.5. Question: Women commonly ask, “Why does he always waituntil the last minute to do things? He waits to pack for trips, he waitsto plan our dates, he waits to buy presents, and he never washes dishesuntil they’re piled sky high.” Answer: When a man puts off doing things, it’s because it’s in his nature to let the pressure build up until it would be danger- ous to wait any longer. Remember, it’s his sense of risk, danger and the need for problem solving that stimulate the release of testosterone. This, in turn, lowers his stress and gives him the extra energy boost or motivation to get the job done.6. Question: Men commonly ask, “Why is she always planningthings? I think she worries too much. Why can’t she just relax and nottake on so much?” Answer: When a woman cares about others and shows it by planning events for them, it’s a nurturing act that releases oxytocin. While a man carries a wallet and a comb, just the essentials, a woman carries a big purse with everything she or anyone else (family, friends, co-workers) could possibly need. On Venus, planning ahead is an act of caring and consideration that releases oxytocin to help her cope with stress.7. Question: Women commonly ask, “Where did all the romancego? In the beginning he would plan dates, give me compliments andshow me lots of affection. Now he only touches me when he wants sex.” 9
  18. 18. Venus on Fire Mars on ice Answer: In the beginning of your relationship, he was solv- ing a problem: getting you to love him! As he worked on it, that “problem” released his testosterone, lowered his stress and gave him plenty of romantic energy. Now that you’re married, there’s a new set of problems to solve, like paying the mortgage. Romance doesn’t release his stress-busting testosterone any- more, but being seen as a good provider does.8. Question: Men commonly ask, “Why do I have to jump throughhoops to have a sex life? She complains that I’m not affectionate enoughand that there’s not enough romance or intimacy.” Answer: Women love sex just as much as men do. It’s oxytocin that sometimes makes it seem like you have to fill out paper- work and be officially pre-qualified for intimacy with her. If her oxytocin level is low, her sex drive is diminished and her stress level is high. If her oxytocin level is high, perhaps due to the stress-reducing effect of your care and attention, her sexual re- sponse may be very strong indeed. Kind words and considerate actions count for a lot! Later on, we’ll explore easy and practical ways for men to stimulate high levels of oxytocin in the women they love. As you’ll see, it’s a new approach that, with her help, can do wonders to invigorate your love life. Here we can see that, as the result of our new understandingof the stress-reducing effects of hormones, all the old questionswomen and men have asked about one another for generationsnow have new answers. Answers that explain rather than excuse.Answers that help us make sense of a situation instead of throwingup our hands in desperation. This information isn’t found in mostrelationship books because most of it was, until recently, unknownor unproven. Our opportunity to gain greater mutual understanding inour relationship is unprecedented. Think of it: We won’t jumpto (wrong) conclusions when we have a newly-achieved grasp of 10
  19. 19. Venus on Fire Mars on icewhat’s really going on. We won’t blame our partners when thingsgo wrong, because we know that most conflicts are rooted in thebasic, biochemical differences between us—things that get “fixed”when they are understood. Instead of feeling confused or powerless,we can begin to formulate a whole new way to interact and relate.This is exciting stuff ! Now that we know why Venus is on fire andMars is on ice, we can focus our efforts on ensuring that our partner,whom we love above all else, gets what he or she needs—while neversacrificing what we ourselves want and need. Finding this balancebegins with making sense of one another in a new and positive way. Colliding Together In Love In far too many once-great relationships, the man quits tryingto meet his partner’s needs and grows distant. At the same time, thewoman may become dissatisfied with her man’s lack of understand-ing and stop giving him her trust. He becomes more passive. Shebecomes more demanding. No matter how hard they try, the paircan’t seem to reclaim the easy and generous atmosphere of love andhappiness they enjoyed when they first came together. It would be nice if I could tell you that understanding thedistinction between fire and ice is the answer in such a situation.Unfortunately, I can’t, because the sadtruth is that information alone is not Mars and Venusenough. It takes knowledge plus a posi- can collide—yet stilltive attitude. Seen negatively, differences grow in deeper lovebetween men and women can become and compassion.the force that pushes planets apart. Butwhen Venus and Mars can see their differences appreciatively, thetwo planets become capable of closer, more harmonious orbit. There will be collisions; there always are. But, instead of seeingthese planetary bumps as blights on our relationship, we can cometo view these events as opportunities to learn more about each other 11
  20. 20. Venus on Fire Mars on iceand forgive one another. In so doing, we grow closer together in-stead of further apart. Recognizing and remembering that we aresupposed to be different helps to soften our hearts so that we cancome together in love. Thus, a relationship become perfect for us aswe learn, day by day, to love and accept each other’s natural tenden-cies as something other than imperfections. Understanding how and why our partners respond as theydo can help improve any relationship, no matter the age or stage.Knowing the ways that men and women cope with stress on a physi-cal, hormonal level frees us from feeling hopeless, or worse, feelingwounded by our partner’s actions and reactions. As our mutual insight grows, we begin to recognize that wehave a choice as to whether we bring out the best in our partners orthe worst. We discover that increasing our understanding of oneanother opens our hearts and releases us from our tendency tojudge others. Too often we make assumptions about our partner that intensifyour feelings of discontent and prevent us from expressing the love that lives in our hearts. The following story, shared with me by a friend, illustrates the transformational power of gaining new understanding and perspective. I will share this story as it was told to me. “One day I came home and discovered a car parked next to my driveway, in my favorite parking spot. My firstreaction was annoyance, because even though it was street parking,I felt I owned that spot. I always parked there! Now I had to parkfarther away, and carry my stuff farther, too. For several hours I ob-sessed about who was in my spot, grumbling to my wife about how 12
  21. 21. Venus on Fire Mars on iceinconsiderate he was and checking repeatedly to see if the car wasstill there. Eventually I even went outside to have a closer look. “Suddenly a man came out of the house across the street andstarted to walk towards the offending car. It was immediatelyobvious to me that he had a physical handicap that made walkingdifficult and, in all probability, painful. As I was taking this in, helooked at me, smiled and said hello. In that moment of understand-ing, all my previous annoyance completely evaporated and I foundmyself filled with compassion and concern. I didn’t care anymorethat he was in ‘my’ spot—instead I imagined how glad he musthave been to be able to park close to his destination. How chal-lenging his life must be compared to mine, I thought. I wanted tofind out more about him, to get to know him, maybe even to helpin some bigger way. “I realized then how easily I had fallen into the trap of jumpingto a negative conclusion instead of imagining that there could bea good reason for that car to be there. Instead of putting myself insomeone else’s shoes and responding with openness and a positiveattitude, I got angry. We are all damaged in one way or another, evenif it’s not visible on the surface. We should remember to be kind,patient and understanding of others, because we don’t know whatburdens they may be carrying.” I love this story because it illustrates how quickly our judg-ments, resentments and tendencies toward rejection can disappearwhen we understand a situation differently; when we can imaginewhat it is like to walk the world in another’s shoes. I hope that whenyour partners are parking where you don’t want them to, you canuse your newfound knowledge to see the world through their eyesand their hormones, and that you, too, can experience an epiphanythat leads to greater compassion and love. I hope each of you willuse this book to gather the facts you need to release the past, openyour heart, and give yourself and your partner another chance—notonce or twice, but again and again. 13
  22. 22. Venus on Fire Mars on ice In Chapter Two we’ll explore how stress hormones such as cor- tisol affect our health, sometimes for good but mostly for ill. We’ll also see how the anti-stress hormones, testosterone, and oxytocin, are creating a revolution in hormonal health for those who pay heed to the research. As you will read, more and more doctors, health researchers, teachers and others are pointing the way to increased happiness and better health by increasing your body’s access to ben- eficial hormones and stress-reducing brain chemicals. All of this is yours for the taking, simply by making subtle changes in how you nourish your body and relate to the people who mean the most to you. You can experience a positive impact on your life and your relationship—simply by reading on. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmittedin any form whether its electronic, or mechanical without the written permission of MarsVenus.com 14

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