Dr. John Gray is a self confessed relationship expert. Having written close to 20 books on the topic â€“ his most famous being the 1992 best seller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus â€“ he\’s sold over 50 million copies worldwide, so it\’s probably safe to say that he knows what he\’s talking about.
Dr. John was recently in Australia to discuss the findings from a national survey commissionedÂ for the home entertainment release of the romantic comedy How Do You Know. The survey revealed that when it comes to matters of the heart, Aussies have rather traditional, family-oriented values with 8 out of 10 people stating they would choose their relationship over their career.
Further findings revealed that 6 out of 10 Australians wouldn\’t enter a relationship that didn\’t offer security and comfort and while women value security as the most important quality when starting a relationship, men rate passion and romance as the most essential.
I caught up with Dr. John to discuss the results and find out what the biggest challenges in relationships are today:
Emily: Do you think the movie How Do You Know is an accurate portrayal of modern relationships?
Dr. John: More humorous but definitely accurate regarding the challenges that women are facing today. What I thought was very real was here is Lisa (Reese Witherspoon), in a sense a career woman. She hasn\’t really ever thought about a serious relationship, she\’s playing baseball and she\’s kicked off the team and goes what am I going to do with my life? Suddenly love becomes important to her. It\’s like trying to acknowledge your feminine hormones when they come into play and she had a lot of confusion about that.
Emily: Why do some people find it so hard to recognise when they are in love and others seem to know immediately?
Dr. John: Well first of all there is an unrealistic notion that when you meet someone you\’ll know if they\’re right for you and not that many people do know. So many people discover it over time and that\’s just good information for people to have, because they feel if I don\’t know right away, then it mustn’t be the right person.
Emily: Why were people 20 to 30 years ago more certain about their feelings and willing to commit to relationships?
Dr. John: Because the man was pursuing the woman. As a man, if I feel a woman needs what I have to offer, than I get very excited that I can provide that for her. If I\’m a guy and a woman is giving me what I want, I\’m very excited about that too, but I\’m not bonding with her. If a woman is really capable and confident and successful, I admire that, but it doesn\’t make me bond to her. But men don\’t bond just because women can make money. Men bond when they feel they can make a difference to her life. So it was easier then for men to make a commitment.
Emily: So how do we overcome this challenge in the 21st century?
Dr. John: Well if a woman comes to me, it\’s like don\’t get fooled into competing for men. You have to stand your ground but create opportunities for men to approach you. And when a man does approach you, don\’t just jump into bed, don\’t just suddenly give him everything he wants. Get him to give you what you want first, so that there\’s a bond. And then if you end up having sex, that\’s not the only part of your relationship. If the only part of your relationship is sex, then for a guy, he\’ll move on to the next person pretty quickly.
Emily: How are today\’s busy lifestyles affecting relationships?
Dr. John: For women to feel loving and appreciative of a man she has to have enough of the hormone oxytocin. Whenever you are leading a rushed lifestyle, if you\’re over-stimulated, it inhibits the production of oxytocin. So you\’ve got Facebook, you\’ve got emails, you\’ve got tweets, you\’ve got text messages, besides you\’ve got all the things you have to do in the day, trying to balance work, home, a personal life, health and friendships. So life has just become too speeded up and this creates a bigger stress response in women. It\’s proven that women in the workplace have twice as much stress hormones in their bodies as men at those times. So what I tell women is a) you\’ve got to start slowing down in your lives so that you\’re not desperate for a man and b) don\’t compete for a man by giving more than you\’re getting.
Emily: Were there any results from this study that surprised you about Australian relationships?
Dr. John: I thought it was humorous when it said that woman were looking for â€˜security and comfort\’ and men were looking for â€˜romance and passion\’. You have to translate â€˜romance and passion\’ to what men hear with those words and that\’s sex. When a woman says there\’s no romance a man doesn\’t know what she\’s talking about, it\’s all sex for a guy!
Emily: You have been married to your wife Bonnie for 27 years, how did you know that she was the one for you?
Dr. John: I think the moment I knew was when I was taking her on a little get away and I took the wrong road and we were going to be late to where we were going. We pulled over to the side of the road and I was expecting her to get so upset about it and she didn\’t. She just said, “Look I don\’t know where we are either, but this is such a beautiful sunset, I\’m so glad we\’re here.” I justÂ wanted to get down on my knees and thank God I found her. I think what happened in that moment was I got to experience a woman who wasn\’t giving me the message that I could not be successful in making her happy. I\’m a flawed person, I\’m going to make mistakes all the time, so when you can make a mistake and a woman doesn\’t give you a hard time, you just go wow, she\’s wonderful.
How Â Do Â You Â Know, Â from Â legendary Â director/writer Â James Â L Â Brooks, Â is Â a Â humourous Â and Â romantic look at the question How Do you Know? When everything she\’s every known is taken from her, Â Lisa Â (Reese Â Witherspoon) Â begins Â a Â fling Â with Â Matty Â (Owen Wilson), Â a Â major Â league Â baseball Â player Â and Â self-centred Â ladies Â man. Â Before Â their Â relationship Â takes Â off, Â Lisa Â meets Â up Â with George Â (Paul Â Rudd), Â a Â straight-arrow Â businessman Â facing Â his Â own Â serious Â issues, Â both Â with Â his Â father Â (Jack Â Nicholson) Â and the law.
How Do You Know is availableÂ on Blu-ray and DVD from all major retailers across Australia now.