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RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

From A Role Mate Relationship To A Soul Mate Relationship

John Gray

I wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus 25 years ago and it continues to touch the lives of people in over 150 countries.

When I travel the world, the most frequent question I hear is "Does that book still apply to relationships today?"

The short answer: yes, essentially.

The long answer is more complex.

Men Are from Mars still holds timeless teachings that can be applied to every relationship in your life. But I realize the world has changed dramatically since I wrote it. 

Our lives move faster. Our stress levels are higher. Communication has changed. More women are in the workplace. More men are taking on greater responsibilities at home.

We know more about what it takes to create strong relationships and how to communicate better with our partners but this has made us expect more from our partners. When they don’t understand how to fulfill those expectations, we have greater disappointment and failed relationships.

Our parents or grandparents had different expectations. Some would say lower expectations, but I think they were just different. They may not have been happy in their relationships, but they were content in their relationships as long as their partners fulfilled a specific role. This is a Role Mate relationship.


The Role Mate Relationship

A traditional Role Mate relationship is based on stereotypical male and female roles in which the man is the provider and the woman is the nurturing homemaker.

The primary purpose of a Role Mate relationship was to divide responsibilities between men and women to ensure the survival and security of their tribe or society as well as their individual families.

Simply put, partners were picked primarily on their ability to fulfill these roles and not on romantic chemistry.

While Role Mate relationships benefited society, many men and women were left unfulfilled because it meant suppressing parts of themselves that didn’t fit their roles.

Men who wanted to care for their children or who might have preferred a lower-paid but more fulfilling job kept this to themselves because they were needed to support their family.

Women who wanted more intellectual challenge or who had ambitions beyond home life had to stifle this part of themselves to focus on caring for their family.

This self-repression is unacceptable in today’s modern society. We want to experience a higher level of emotional fulfillment that comes from a relationship in which we are able to freely express our authentic and unique selves. This is a Soul Mate relationship.


The Soul Mate Relationship

We have come a long way in the last twenty-five since Men Are from Mars hit the shelves. Mainly men and women today are less dependent on each other to ensure the survival and security of the family.

However, as men and women have become less dependent on each other in the material sense, they have become more dependent on each other for emotional support and personal fulfillment.

For a woman, a man’s strength, size, social status, or wealth are no longer dominant factors in her selection process. They are still factors, but she is also looking for romantic chemistry. Women are especially looking for a partner who can provide a new level of emotional support.

Men’s requirements have changed as well. A woman’s domestic skills are no longer a major requirement for men in picking a marriage partner. He is more interested in how a woman makes him feel than in her abilities to cook and clean, or her race, religion, or social status.


Our Male and Female Sides

With modern conveniences and new opportunities to be self-sufficient, our dependence on a Role Mate has decreased and the requirements of a Soul Mate relationship have taken center stage.

One of the main benefits of the Soul Mate relationship is its potential to awaken and support the natural unfolding and expression of our unique selves.

As we let go of traditional male and female roles, we suddenly have access to parts of ourselves we had previously suppressed or hidden. Instead of being limited to expressing characteristics related to their traditional roles, men now have greater access to their female side and women now have greater access to their male side.

A modern man is no longer required to suppress his female side to be considered a “real” man, and a modern woman is no longer required to hide her male side to be considered a “real” woman.

As a result, we gain access to our authentic, unique selves: our own unique blends of masculine and feminine characteristics.

For a man, access to his unique self allows his feminine sense of love and devotion to come forth. The growing love in his heart gives more meaning to his mission as his purpose extends beyond his own needs to serve the needs of others.

For a woman, this access awakens her masculine sense of mission in harmony with her feminine sense of purpose. A woman’s masculine mission is to make a difference by expressing her unique talents, while her feminine sense of purpose is ultimately to love and be loved.

While love is always a priority in her life, she wants to express that love in a way that makes a difference. Just as she strives to be more loving at home, she brings that love to her work by wanting to be her best self and bring out the best of others.

The expression of our suppressed male or female side releases a tremendous energy and dramatically increases our sense of aliveness, energy, and passion for love and life.


Beyond Mars and Venus


Gender freedom should not mean gender blindness. Men and women are still fundamentally different on a biological and hormonal level. So, yes, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is still important and relevant today, but we need a new set of skills in today's complex world.

We must learn how to express our masculine and feminine qualities in ways that reduce our stress levels and make our relationships stronger. Both men and women require a new kind of emotional support that embraces greater authenticity, intimacy, and personal expression.

A Soul Mate relationship is not something that created naturally and automatically.

It is created through:
  • Our inner commitment to be true to ourselves and find a higher love.
  • A willful intention to let go of past mistakes with forgiveness and, the wisdom to correct our mistakes
  • The understanding and compassion to unconditionally accept our partner’s limitations
  • Faith and courage to open our hearts again and again
     
This is why I had to write Beyond Mars and Venus: Relationship Skills for Today's Complex World

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