The 411: With 17 books, thousands of seminars and 40 years of experience under his belt, it’s easy to see why John Gray is one of the most important and influential figures in the dating industry.
When you hear the name John Gray, your mind probably goes to his best-selling book “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” but this great book isn’t the only thing that’s cemented his name as a mainstay in this field.
From living as a celibate monk and working as a marriage counselor, to everything else in between, each moment of Gray’s life has shaped his impressive career.
So how exactly did he do it? I had the honor of speaking with Gray, and he shared with me the top four ways he became (and still remains) the trusted authority he is today.
1. Being consistent
If you went to a dating expert one day and your friend went to that same dating expert the next day, but you both received different tips for the same problem, would you trust them? No.
With Gray, you won’t see any flip-flopping — consistency is one of his strong suits.
“The same concepts that I teach married couples, like how to bring out the best in your partner, how to create romance, how to minimize conflict, how to make up after an argument — these kinds of ideas are important in the dating process, as well as when you’re married,” Gray said.
In “Mars and Venus on a Date,” his follow-up book to “Men Are from Mars,” he discusses this process in five stages:
- Attraction: How can we be our best self to attract the right person?
- Uncertainty: When we attract the right person, how do we overcome those doubts that often creep in?
- Commitment: How can we sustain passion after comfort sets in?
- True intimacy: How can we ask for what we want and share our baggage without putting off our partners?
- Engagement: How can we establish positive habit patterns before taking on the responsibilities of marriage?
2. Adapting to change but maintaining the same message
Whether it’s the ever-evolving world of online dating, feedback from fans or his own experiences, Gray is constantly improving what he does while staying true to who he is.
“It’s not like I came out having perfect relationships,” he joked. “I had my own challenges to overcome, and many people share the same challenges today. Therefore, I dedicated myself to applying new insights.”
One of the most common problems Gray shares insights on is how to handle rejection, which he said makes people feel inadequate.
However, he added that it’s often a misunderstanding that’s the root of the problem.
“So much of the time, when I dig deep into people’s experiences in a relationship, they’re misinterpreting what their partner is saying or doing, or they really don’t have a clue as to why they’re getting the reactions they’re getting because they don’t understand that men and women are very different in significant ways,” he said.
3. Keeping an eye on the future
“Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” was a great jumping point for an evolutionary career that now consists of other successful books, audio, videos and products on intimacy, dating, success and health, especially how certain hormones lower stress for men and women and, in turn, improve their relationships.
“In the last 15 years of 40 years of doing this, I focus equally on health, brain health particularly, hormonal balance and stress and how stress affects us and our relationships,” he said. “Often people don’t relate to each other anymore, and that is a function of inhibited brain function, where you can be present with somebody. I’ve seen that balancing behavioral skills with nutritional support has a huge impact on the success of a relationship.”
Gray also values helping aspiring dating coaches and matchmakers, with his top recommendations being to always explore, ask questions, gain experiences and communicate.
“It’s actually in working with people and applying it and seeing what works that’s the secret. That’s how you build up your confidence, and based on your confidence, you’re able to attract more opportunities and share what you have to offer,” he said. “Communication is so important, both in a relationship and creating opportunities to help more people.”
4. Working with his daughter
Gray has accomplished a lot on his own, but he gives a lot of credit to his daughter Lauren Gray, who offers her own advice on their site, MarsVenus.com, through blog posts and videos, with her focus being to help young women and men take personal responsibility for their happiness.
“She’s done an incredible job. She knows the challenges that people are going through in her age group,” he said. “She explores how to get more ‘me’ time so you’re not dependent on someone loving you, but you’re also learning to love yourself and create opportunities for that — to balance personal support with relationship support. It’s going to be very hard to sustain a successful relationship if you have not found happiness within yourself. ”
With Lauren and an allegiance of fans by his side (including the DatingAdvice.com team!), it looks like Gray has another successful 40 years ahead of him.