In the last of this short series of how men and women are genetically hardwired differently, I want to look at some other aspects of those differences. As I do so (just as in the other two posts), please remember this is to help our understanding of how our Creator designed us, but it is not to decide one of us is better than the other. The exact opposite is true. It shows we were designed to work together and strengthen one another.
When I spoke about how a woman looks at the overview of a problem and a man breaks it apart in pieces and goes step by step, I see that clearly between my husband and me. I love my overview and really don’t want to often get bogged down in the step-by-step details. I am one of the gals who really don’t want to read the manual on a new gadget that will do just that! BUT, I need that in so many areas because my “big picture” overview can often miss some things.
My patience has grown over the course of our relationship because of this very aspect of my husband. I do a bit better within myself trying to do it, but he is very much ahead of me in this and I LOVE that he is. It’s how God hardwired and designed him!
Norm Wright and Gary Oliver also note that another area of difference is how we relate to the world and define ourselves as men and women (whether we are professional women or stay-at-home gals).
At the core of a woman is the tendency to be concerned for others and their needs, to look outward, to often be caregivers. As such, we tend to define ourselves through our relationships. That alone can help give us insight about why this area can be challenging, messy, heart breaking, wounding, and wonderful for us.
Our sweet husbands tend to be genetically made to be concerned with themselves first and others second. He also needs to see the value of relationships that are more give than take.
Then there is something else Wright and Oliver state:
“Women talk their way through things and men think their way through things. Talking is something you do with somebody. Thinking isn’t. It stands to reason that women are going to spend more time with others when they have something important to deal with. Women lighten their load by sharing the weight. We men tend to think it’s the manly thing to do to carry all the weight ourselves.”
I am guessing that we have seen more than a few examples of that as a common difference without realizing it is a part of our genetic makeup.
The areas of closeness and intimacy are near and dear to the hearts of most of us as women. Despite challenges in trust, many times we look for opportunities to share ourselves in many ways and think emotional expression is positive and healthy. That stems from the fact that the portion of the brain associated with emotions is larger in women than men. We can tend to experience a feeling and go with it as a result.
Our beloved men are sensitive, but may have more difficulty expressing those emotions as a result of that difference in brain structure. Men tend to think about what they feel and then take action to do something about it. That is one of the ways they can be helpful to us when we feel overwhelmed with our emotions about something.
We need them to hear us first, not try to fix us, but this difference about sorting out how to move forward can be a real help many times. We need to be patient and remember it is in his DNA to try to fix things when there’s a problem so how we communicate what we need and want is crucial.
If a man can remember to ask his wife what she would like—to be listened to, to be held, to be given advice—and then to remember that it may be different each time, it will go a long way to the sense of understanding both desire.
What each of us needs to remember is that we both can change. When a man discovers and recognizes something isn’t working, it is easier for him to change. That goes with the tendency to act in response to a feeling. It also relates to a value he has not to be seen as failing in his role with us.
As women, we tend to find change easier after we have been able to share our feelings, thoughts, and wishes without a fear of being invalidated. We want to feel as though we are not abandoned in the midst of what is going on within us and around us. The tricky part is that sometimes if we have not matured with our emotions and communication, that man who loves us so much can fear the flood of our feelings and words will engulf him.
Wright and Oliver’s book, How to Change Your Spouse Without Ruining Your Marriage, is chocked full of good information. If you want to check it out, you will likely need to look in the used book areas of your booksellers since it has been out of print.
Even though some of the points and information in this series may not have been new to you, I hope it will be helpful to recall that many of our differences were genetically designed to be different, that our brains are physically different as well. That doesn’t give any of us an excuse, but it can lead to greater understanding and acceptance. Certainly, the Lord has a reason for the design and perhaps it is about dependence on Him to bring oneness into our relationship.
“Yes, differences abound. Learning about them, learning to accept them, learning to work with them will help you discover what can be changed, what can be modified a bit, and what can’t.” H. Norman Wright and Gary Oliver