Always have been.
Always will be.
Our differences draw us toward one another in the most beautiful dance of life. But when we don’t understand and appreciate our differences, they can drive us apart.
What’s the difference?
Listen to how we talk about our mates to our friends. Women have the same complaints about men. And men have a totally different set of complaints about women. Clearly we don’t “get” one another.
Our differences begin at the moment of conception.
Male babies are more vulnerable than their female counterparts. Yet boys are routinely taught to hide their vulnerability, often through socially sanctioned shaming that is a primary tool of male socialization. He experiences emotions intensely, but expressing them brings his masculinity into question.
Ideally, a boy’s (man’s) innate vulnerability and physical characteristics (e.g., more testosterone, greater strength) will make him more empathic toward and protective of others. However, without a safe place (every human being needs at least one), he will focus on personal survival strategies such as avoidance and/or anger.
Because the world is a very hostile place for a man.
- His masculine identity is constantly threatened or criticized.
- He learned he has to solve life’s problems all on his own, so he doesn’t ask for help.
- He is expected to be a “rock” and accused of being perpetually interested in sex.
Women don’t understand what life is like for a man.
- Women are encouraged to express their feelings. Men are taught to avoid feelings.
- Women use (a lot of) words to connect. Men use (a few) words to relay information.
Is there any wonder we have problems communicating with one another?
What’s different about our emotional needs?
Men and women do have the same emotional needs: to be loved, appreciated, accepted, respected, etc. However, because of our respective biology (nature) and life experiences (nurture), men and women rank the importance of those needs in a different order.
- Her primary need is to be loved and cherished. She is wired to connect.
- His primary need is to be respected and trusted. He is wired to protect.
The Bottom Line
Chances are, no one has taught you much, if anything, about gender differences in a way that honors both sexes. No one has taught him either.
Not at home, church, or school. Not even in traditional couple’s counseling.
How sad is that? We cannot afford to miss out on this info that is so vital to our well-being!
It’s time to change that for you!
If you are having couple problems, you need to know this stuff. No matter what.
- If you aren’t in couple’s counseling but want something to change, this is a great place to begin. Remember: Solutions are simple. But they aren’t often easy. Don’t give up.
- If you are in individual or couple’s counseling now, learning the truth about how the opposite sex operates can help you make more efficient progress toward your relationship goals.
Where should you begin?
Every man must love his wife as he loves himself, and every wife must respect her husband. EPHESIANS 5:33
So let’s start with Love & Respect. Do you and your mate have what it takes to create and maintain the kind of relationship that could make you both happy? Here’s your chance to find out. This free 5-minute quiz is based on 30+ years of marital research!
NOTE: Dealing with abandonment, abuse, addiction, adultery, and/or anger often requires outside help as you learn to set and maintain healthy boundaries. You don’t have to do this alone. Learn more