Updated: Aug 10, 2021
We just have to accept this! Men and women think differently and brain science research now verifies this. But what was God thinking? Maybe it was God’s plan to help us grow in the institution called marriage. :-( One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is stay married. But I’m so glad my husband and I got through and have survived to tell the story.
Men and women make assumptions about what the other is thinking. We both think, they think like us! But I’ve got news to tell you, that’s a false assumption. When men and women get together, as women, we expect our men will read our minds and know what we want (like women do). Girls, I’ve got information for you. They don’t. They can’t. The main difference it seems is that men, when communicating and processing, do it all internally; they hibernate and try to work it out. Women do it externally, in other words, by talking. However, there are always exceptions to the rule here.
It all comes back to the needs of both men and women. Men need to know they are adequate, good enough – it is their area of insecurity. On the other hand, women need to know they are lovable, the woman’s soft spot. So if a woman or a wife tells her husband what he’s doing wrong, this pushes his insecure button and he can go off – whatever his off is: out to the shed, a raised voice or the silent treatment. For the girls, when an important male in her life doesn’t respond positively to her about her new dress or to buy that special gift or take her on that special date, this tells her she’s not lovable. Her buttons are pushed and she sulks or yells or tries to tell him what to do. He feels inadequate and a vicious cycle has begun.
What on earth is the answer to male and female's different thinking processes?
Communication, but that’s the problem as well isn’t it? If I had to sum up the key in communicating with others of the opposite sex, from my years of being married, (often doing it wrong), helping others with their relationship issues and teaching communication skills for many years, whilst learning to listen well as a therapeutic life coach, I would have to say it is: to listen well. How? Check your understanding by asking questions like ‘what does that mean?' 'Explain that to me – I don’t quite follow.' And then the icing on the cake of listening well is to mirror what has been said, to show you get it, to prove you understand. This is empathy in action.
Every one of us longs for understanding. Men want to hear 'I am good enough,' 'I am respected’. Women want to hear ‘I am loved for who I am’. By listening well and empathising, we do this for the others in our lives.
Some tips for the couples out there who want to make their marriage marvellous *
1. We cannot change the other person but we can influence and that begins with us. If you are praying person, pray for the other person and for how you can bless them.
2. Look at that person, your spouse and see value and honour. Stop ruminating about what is wrong with them as ruminating is like a mouse on a treadmill —there is no end in sight! So get off and try new thinking. It will take some effort but it’s worth it.
3. If you’re going to bring a difficult conversation to a member of the opposite gender, wait for the right moment. Just because you want to get it off your chest doesn’t make it the right time. In fact it’s probably the wrong time because it will come out all wrong. If you’re married to that person, wait for some oxytocin release which is very significantly produced in large dollops during and after nurturing, loving moments. Wink wink!
4. Sell the benefits to the male in your life, for making the females in his life happy. Happy wife (happy life) = happy kids, happy family, less stress etc. (My hubby came up with this point, so he should know, I’ve been selling him this benefit for nearly 36 years).
5. Guys: get the roses, touch her hand and say ‘I love you’. Tell her she is lovable.
Girls tell him: ‘good job’, 'thank you’ and ‘you're appreciated’.
One last thing, we grow up in a family with different rulebooks and then come together. For example: the way I wash dishes passed down to me is the English system of soapy water in a bowl or in the sink. People from Asian backgrounds use running water. My husband is from Mauritius, the running water washing-up variety of rule book training. I think we have recently discussed an acceptable solution. It’s only taken 36 years. Ha ha!
Brett Ryan, from Focus on the Family Australia, talks about the family of origin in the marriage course he and his wife Kate, run in person and online. In this course, he asks the question, ‘What have you brought into your partnership or marriage from your family of origin rulebook that is negatively impacting the other person?’ I would ask you the same question. Have a think about it and perhaps it is time to make a new rule that suits your relationship.
In a partnership or marriage with the opposite sex, it’s all about influence, looking inward and changing ourselves, not trying to change others. Girls, recognise if you need to talk a lot then perhaps go chat with your girlfriends and understand when your man is trying to fix things, he is showing you he cares. Guys listen well, for the sake of empathy in action, before trying to fix anything in your lady.
Finally, listen well and communicate value and honour to everyone you do life with. This is what will change the world.
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