I promised you on Monday there were some more things I was going to share about the genetic differences in how a man and a woman’s brain are wired. I wish so much I would have known some of these before I was married. Of course Norm Wright and Gary Oliver’s book was written twenty years later. Even so, they were helpful!!
How often have you said that the man in your life isn’t listening? (I know! I know!)
Well, it turns out he might be, but he’s not ready to respond. Now there can certainly be many reasons, but here is a genetic one as well. When he looks at the problem the two of you are talking about, he is taking the issue apart piece by piece, one step at a time, to sort out his suggestion for a solution. He wants to structure the problem, take it by the numbers, while we are looking at the overview.
In the process, he will tend to exclude all the information he thinks is nonessential and focus on what he sees as the key. In the process his brain will shut out other possibilities and use a lot of his energy to stay in the position he has determined is key to the solution.
One of the things that can add to the time to reach a solution is the tendency of our female brain genetics to jump in and out of different topics that we might (or might not) think are related to the problem. It can be as easy as rolling off a log for us because you remember we are using both sides of our brain at once. We are not only looking at the tree, but also the forest!
Even though we both use both sides of our brains, each of us tends to prefer one side or the other and obviously believe it is better because it works best for us. As a result, we tend to approach everything that way, life and also work. We also determine those preferences fairly early in our lives and then do not change them throughout our lifetime even though we can develop skills for the less-preferred side.
I mentioned about our men using energy to dissect a problem or thing and for us jumping in and out of topics takes little energy. Well, energy is another area where our genetic makeup is different. Women have more energy than men, BUT men have more startup energy. You might say we can be more like “Energizer bunnies” while men use their startup energy and then need to recharge.
Wright and Oliver tell it this way about how our men recharge:
“A man goes on a personal retreat by taking a nap, resting, reading, or watching TV. He needs aloneness to recover his energy whereas women are capable of rebuilding energy while carrying on their normal activities.”
Well, that explains a lot!
The truth is it relates to the genetic metabolic differences between men and women and how we use (or don’t use) our fat reserves.
Let me give you an example to help you see this even more clearly.
Let’s say that the two of you know that you need to clean out the garage. You’ve been putting it off because neither of you really want to do it. You finally set a date and time. Your husband will be looking at it and the various steps and pieces of it and actually looking at how long it will take and the energy needed to do it. We will just be looking at getting it done.
The day and time arrives and you might even let him give the direction and you both start in. The problem comes when you discover a set of lights for the lawn that are still in the box that you had wanted him to put out LAST year. In the middle of the project, you suggest to clean that spot out that he go ahead and do the lights. Sounds perfect to me, but not for him. It wasn’t on his radar screen and he wants to simply do the garage and then head for the couch to watch the game.
Sound familiar with maybe different details?
This business of his focusing on one-thing points to another thing we ladies miss. It is one of those things we need to know because of the impact it has on our relationship.
Since he focuses on one thing at a time while we may be doing several things at once, if we are doing several things at once and he wants to talk with us about something he will believe we are not listening if we are doing that or not looking at him. We may very well be able to listen to him while we make dinner or sort or fold laundry, but that isn’t the way his brain is wired.
Now just imagine how all this makes even more of an impact when the problem or job is difficult AND as we age. Research shows that men lose their physical strength and flexibility faster than women. How much? At age sixty, men will have 60% of those physical qualities they did at age 20, but women of that age will tend to have 90%.
Are you beginning to understand why I might wonder if God had a sense of humor in His design to pull us toward Him?
The next time I’ll share about differences about our needs for closeness and intimacy, relationships, emotions and a bit more.