NEWS FLASH: Venusians and Martians Want The Same Things (When It Comes to Life Balance)

In a New York Times article it states that men and woman are closing the gap and are both looking for the same thing when it comes to life balance.  Cindy Krisher Goodman, writer of The Balancing Act in the Miami Herald references a 2007 survey, and it finds that men and women have very different opinions on what contributes to a satisfying life.  For example: Women find it satisfying helping others, while men find it satisfying achieving personal goals.

An article in Thursday’s New York Times dealing with gender convergence (a narrowing of the gender gap whereby women are increasingly leaving the home and entering the workforce, and more men are working less to return home and become involved in the household and their families) indicates that, despite what John Gray suggested in Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, both men and women want the same things, at least when it comes to work-family balance.

The premise of Men Are From Mars suggests that men and women have happy relationships together because they respect and accept their differences.

In apparent support of that theme, Cindy Krischer Goodman, author of The Balancing Act column for The Miami Herald, notes that a 2007 DayTimers Life Satisfaction survey reveals men and women have different measures for living a satisfied life.:

“More women have a clear purpose and sense of meaning in their lives. They tend to find satisfaction doing things that help others and they tend to be more organized, prioritizing weekly goals.

More men get satisfaction from personal success. More men also feel they have succeeded more than most people.”

Patricia Cohen, author of Signs of Détente in the Battle Between Venus and Mars, knows that times are changing:

“Now experts who shared their latest research at a conference this month say that far from reverting to more traditional sex roles, women and men are becoming more alike in their attitudes toward balancing life at home and at work.”

Dr. Monahan Lang of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and Barbara J. Risman of the University of Illinois conducted a comprehensive review of current research on work and families and found more similarities than differences in women and men.

“The evidence overwhelmingly shows an ongoing shift toward what we call ‘gender convergence,’ an ever-increasing similarity in how men and women live and what they want from their lives.”

“I think there is little doubt that men and women have become more similar over time, and that gender expectations are less rigid than they used to be,” Dr. Monahan Lang said.

Dr. Dr. Monahan Lang may have said it best:

“The conventional wisdom is that ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus.’ On the contrary, we are from one small world that is getting smaller.”

I don’t see the authors’ positions as being mutually exclusive.

  • I see nothing wrong with acknowledging, respecting, and accepting (as opposed to simply tolerating) your partner’s differences. Understanding, appreciation, and consideration go a long way in any relationship.
  • Nurturing a relationship developed upon a foundation of common attitudes, beliefs, and values can certainly add deeper meaning and contribute to more engaging and satisfying interaction.

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