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WHY CAN'T A WOMAN BE MORE LIKE A MAN?

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When you enter the words "Differences Between Men and Women" into the search engine Google you get some pretty profound stuff.

Samples:

The Ultimate Female Fantasy

A woman was sitting at a bar enjoying an after-work cocktail with her girlfriends when an exceptionally tall, handsome, extremely sexy young man entered. He was so striking that the woman could not take her eyes away from him. The young man noticed her overly-attentive stare and walked directly toward her.

Before she could offer her apologies for being so rude for staring, the young man said to her, "I'll do anything, absolutely anything, that you want me to do, for $100, on one condition."

Flabbergasted, the woman asked what the condition was. The young man replied, "You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words."

The woman considered his proposition for a moment, withdrew from her purse and slowly counted out five $20 bills, which she pressed into the young man's hand along with her address. She looked deeply into his eyes and slowly, meaningfully said,

"Clean my house."

... the Better I Like my Dog

You would be hard pressed to find a man that didn't have a soft spot in his heart for dogs. Walk through any park, and you'll see this love affair going on. There are reasons that men take dogs and not, say, cats or parakeets with them when they go hunting. And you don't see guys walking their kittens around the neighborhood...

Guys and dogs naturally get along and belong together. The truth is, the dogs in their lives are everything the women in their lives are not.

This does not take anything away from the special feelings that men have for women.. Obviously, a woman isn't a dog and a dog isn't a woman. And while men the world over sometimes wish the woman in their lives could act a little more like their dogs, they don't ever wish the dogs in their lives would act like women.

This is written as a salute to the dogs that men love and understand. Women may envy this special, natural relationship, but it is safe to assume that you will never hear them say: 'I wish he would treat me more like a dog!'

Why Guys Love Their Dogs

There are hundreds of examples of why guys love their dogs. Here are some of the more compelling arguments...

Dogs will believe anything you tell them.
Dogs prefer that you leave the toilet seat up.
A dog will never tell you to ask for directions.
Your dog thinks your breath smells great when you get up in the morning.
Dogs never argue.
A dog is always glad to see you when you get home.
Dogs don't care if you forget their birthdays.
A dog will never compare you to your mother.
Fashion means nothing to a dog.
A dog doesn't have to get up an hour early every morning just to get ready to go out.
Dogs always sleep in the nude.
Dogs don't mind if you play with other dogs.
A dog will never choose its career over you.
Dogs never hold a grudge.
When a dog grows whiskers, they're attractive.
A dog can watch football on TV with you all day and not get bored.
Dogs always let you open the door for them.
Trailer or million dollar mansion -- it's all the same to your dog.
Dogs will do tricks for your friends.
A dog doesn't think it is rude to scratch yourself.
Your dog thinks you are the smartest human alive.
Dogs can't cook but don't pretend they can.
A dog will never make fun of you in front of its friends.
Dogs don't mind getting a little dirty.
Dogs don't ask you endless questions about other dogs you've had.
Dogs don't care if you channel surf.
When you come home late your dog will never ask where you've been.
Dogs never mess with your tools.
Dogs never bring up the past.
A dog won't tell your secrets to a dog groomer.
A dog will never ask you to visit its family.
Dogs never have cold feet in bed.
Dogs will listen to what you have to say without interrupting.
Dogs clean up your kitchen spills without complaint.
A dog will never use all the hot water.
As long as it has you, your dog doesn't need friends.
Your dog doesn't expect you to pretend you like its hair.
Dogs are not allowed in shopping malls.
Dogs always want to help you take out the garbage.
Dogs don't mind waiting in the car.
You never have to guess what kind of mood your dog is in.
Dogs don't obsess about their weight.
If a dog turns out like its mother it doesn't matter.
When a dog rolls over and plays dead its cute.
Dogs don't mind a little dirt on their hamburger.
Breaking a fingernail doesn't upset a dog.
Your dog will go fishing with you anytime -- no questions asked.
The fact that you can't program your VCR doesn't concern your dog in the least.
Your dog doesn't mind if you take a nap even when there are more important things to do.
Your dog doesn't care how long it's been since you shaved.
Dogs don't expect you to buy them dinner before you can pet them.
A dog lets you pick where to go on vacation.
Dogs never talk about "relationships".
Dogs never clip coupons out of the paper before you've had a chance to read it.
If a dog gets a bald spot it's really no problem.
Dogs never want to have a serious talk about your future.
Gifts you buy for your dog always fit and are always the right color.
Dogs don't kick you when you snore.
Dogs never ask you to buy embarrassing things for them at the store.
Dogs rarely outlive you.

3. You wish!

A fellow walking along the beach found a bottle and picked it up. A genie popped out and said, "Hey, thanks for letting me out. For your kindness, I'll grant you one wish."
     The fellow responded, "I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I can't because I'm afraid to fly and ships make me deathly sick. My wish is for you to build a road from here to Hawaii."
     The genie said, "I'm sorry, but that would just be impossible. Just think of all the work involved. we'd need huge pilings to hold up that highway and think of how deep they would have to be to reach the ocean floor. And think of all the concrete that would be needed. Plus, it would be such a long span, there would have to be gas stations and rest stops along the way. No, that's just too much to ask."
     "Well", the fellow said, "there is one thing I've always wanted to know. I'd like to be able to understand women - what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, why they are so temperamental, why they are so difficult to get along with. you know, what makes them tick."
     The genie thought for a second, then asked, "Do you want two lanes, or four?"

4. Differences Between Men and Women

RELATIONSHIPS

First of all, a man does not call it a relationship. He refers to it as romance, or a period of dating, of going out. When a relationship ends, a woman will cry, and pour her heart out to her girlfriends, and she will write a poem titled "All Men are Idiots." Then she will get on with her life.

A man has a little more trouble letting go. For six months, his ex may not hear from him, but then, at three on Saturday night/Sunday morning, he will call and say, "I just wanted to let you know you ruined my life, and I'll never forgive you, and I hate you, and you're a total floozy. But I want to let you know there's always a chance for us."

This is known as the "I Hate You/I Love You" drunken phone call. Ninety-nine percent of all men past the age of 21 have made this call at least once. Some men make a career of these calls. There are community colleges that offer extension courses to help men get over this need; alas, these classes rarely prove effective.

HANDWRITING

To their credit, men do not decorate their penmanship. They just chickenscratch. Women use scented, colored stationary, and they dot their "i's" with circles and hearts. Women use ridiculously large loops in their "p's" and "g's." It is a royal pain to read a note from a woman. Even when she's dumping you, she'll put a smiley face at the end of the note.

BATHROOMS

A man has 6 items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, a razor, a bar of soap and a towel. The average number of items in a typical women's bathroom is 237. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

GOING OUT

When a man says he is ready to go out, it means he is ready to go out. When a woman says she is ready to go out, it means she will be ready, as soon as she makes one phone call and finds her other earring.

SHOES

When preparing for work, a woman will slip on casual shoes. She will carry her dress shoes in a plastic bag. When a woman gets to work, she will put on her dress shoes. Five minutes later she will kick them off because her feet are under the desk. A man will wear one pair of shoes for the entire day.

MIRRORS

Men are vain; they will check themselves out in the mirror. Women are ridiculous; they will check out their reflections in any shiny surface, mirrors, spoons, shop windows, toasters.

THE TELEPHONE

Men see the telephone as a communication tool. They use the telephone to send short messages to other people. A woman can visit her girlfriend for two weeks, and upon returning home, she will call the same friend and they will talk for three hours.

DIRECTIONS

If a woman is out driving, and she finds herself in unfamiliar surroundings, she will stop at a garage and ask for directions. Men consider this to be a sign of weakness. Men will never stop and ask for directions. Men will drive in a circle for hours, all the while saying things like, "Looks like I've found a new way to get there." And, "I know I'm in the general neighbourhood. I recognize that McDonalds."

ADMITTING MISTAKES

Women will sometimes admit making a mistake, but they usually try make it look like it was the man's fault. The last man who admitted he was wrong was General George Custer.

DRESSING UP

A woman will dress up to: go shopping, water the plants, empty the rubbish, answer the phone, read a book, get the post. A man will dress up for: weddings, funerals.

TOYS

Little girls love to play with toys. Then when they reach the age of 11 or 12, they lose interest. Men never grow out of their obsession with toys. As they get older, their toys simply become more expensive and silly and impractical. Examples of men's toys: little miniature TV's. Car phones. Complicated juicers and blenders. Graphic equalizers. Small robots that serve cocktails on command. Video games. Anything that blinks, beeps, and requires at least 6 "D" batteries to operate.

LAUNDRY

A man will wear every article of clothing he owns, including his surgical pants that were really hip about eight years ago, before he will do the laundry. When he is finally out of clothes, he will wear a dirty tracksuit inside out, rent a truck and take his mountain of dirty clothes to the Laundrette.

SOCKS

Men are sensible about socks. They wear argyle socks or standard white sweatsocks. Women wear strange socks. Socks with pictures of clouds on them. Socks that are cut way below their ankles. Socks that have little fuzzy balls on the back.

GARAGES

Women use garages to park their cars and store their lawnmowers. Men use garages for many things. They hang license plates in garages, and they watch TV in garages, and they build useless lopsided benches in garages.

O.K. Let's get serious.

Our title, of course, was supplied by the diehard bachelor cum socio-linguist, Professor Higgins, in My Fair Lady.

You know the lines :

HIGGINS:

I'm an ordinary man, who desires nothing more than just an ordinary chance, to live exactly as he likes, and do precisely what he wants... An average man am I, of no eccentric whim, Who likes to live his life, free of strife, doing whatever he thinks is best for him, Well... just an ordinary man...

BUT, let a woman in your life and your serenity is through, she'll redecorate your home, from the cellar to the dome, and then go to the enthralling fun of overhauling you...

Let a woman in your life, and you're up against a wall, make a plan and you will find, she has something else in mind, and so rather than do either you do something else that neither likes at all.

You want to talk of Keats or Milton, she only wants to talk of love, You go to see a play or ballet, and spend it searching for her glove, Let a woman in your life and you invite eternal strife, Let them buy their wedding bands for those anxious little hands... I'd be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling than to ever let a woman in my life.

I'm a very gentle man, even-tempered and good-natured whom you never hear complain, Who has the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein, A patient man am I, down to my fingertips, The sort who never could, ever would, let an insulting remark escape his lips. A very gentle man.

BUT, let a woman in your life, and patience hasn't got a chance. She will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and she'll listen very nicely, and go out and do precisely what she wants!

You are a man of grace and polish who never spoke above a hush, now all at once you're using language that would make a sailor blush, Let a woman in your life, and you're plunging in a knife, Let the others of my sex, tie the knot around their necks, I'd prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition than to ever let a woman in my life...

BUT, let a woman in your life, and your sabbatical is through, in a line that never ends come an army of her friends, come to jabber, and to chatter, and to tell her what the matter is with YOU! She'll have a booming boisterous family, who will descend on you en mass, She'll have a large wagnerian mother, with a voice that shatters glass. Let a woman in your life, let a woman in your life, I shall never let a woman in my life...

Women are irrational, that's all there is to that! Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags! They're nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, Maddening and infuriating hags!

Why can't a woman be more like a man? Men are so honest, so thoroughly square; Eternally noble, historic'ly fair; Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat. Well, why can't a woman be like that? Why does ev'ryone do what the others do? Can't a woman learn to use her head? Why do they do ev'rything their mothers do? Why don't they grow up -- well, like their father instead?

Why can't a woman take after a man? Men are so pleasant, so easy to please; Whenever you are with them, you're always at ease. Would you be slighted if I didn't speak for hours?...

Why can't a woman be more like a man?

... Why is thinking something women never do? Why is logic never even tried? Straightening up their hair is all they ever do. Why don't they straighten up the mess that's inside? Why can't a woman be more like a man? If I were a woman who'd been to a ball, Been hailed as a princess to one and to all; Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing? Carry on as if my home were in a tree? Would I run off and never tell me where I'm going? Why can't a woman be like me?


BRAIN SEX, MARS/VENUS AND ALL THAT...

She comes home from work and complains about her feet hurting. Agenda-behind-the-words: 'Please console me, tell me you sympathize with my problem, tell me you love me.' His reaction is to "fix" the problem. 'Why don't you get a larger pair of shoes, then?' She replies, 'Oh, so my feet are too fat, is that it?' At this point he is dead meat. If he tries to explain away his statement, she may misunderstand and complain that he thinks she's fat. If he simply chooses to dismiss the comment, she may then complain that he wants her to suffer from sore feet...

A hundred years ago everyone knew that men were different from women, in a whole range of aptitudes, skills, and abilities. It was obvious! Today, a progressive woman venturing such an opinion might be scorned as a traitor to her sex, betraying the hard-fought "victories" of recent decades as women have sought equality of status, opportunity and respect.

We are witnessing two contradictory processes: the development of scientific research into the differences between the sexes, and the political denial that such differences exist. These two intellectual currents are, understandably, not on speaking terms. Science knows it dabbles in matters of sexual difference at its risk: at least one researcher into the field of gender differences was refused a grant on the grounds that "this work ought not be done".

We are now learning that human biology is monumentally complex; human cultures interact in complex and poorly understood ways. Most neuroscientists and researchers into the mysteries of the brain are now prepared, like the American neurologist Dr Richard Restak, to make the confident assertion "it seems unrealistic to deny any longer the existence of male and female brain differences. Just as there are physical dissimilarities between males and females . . . there are equally dramatic differences in brain functioning". The way our brains are made effects how how we think, learn, see, feel, smell, communicate, love, make love, fight, succeed, or fail.

Men and women are different! These behavioral differences are not simply the result of social conditioning. Certainly roles and behavior between men and women change from culture to culture. But infants are not blank slates, on whom we scrawl instructions for sexually-appropriate behaviour. They are born with male or female minds of their own. They have, quite literally, made up their minds in the womb, safe from the legions of social engineers who impatiently await them.

Anne Moir and David Jessel's book Brain Sex states: "The sexes are different because their brains are different". This causes us to process information in a different way, which results in different perceptions, priorities and behavior. It's our hormones after all!

John Gray's best seller, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, takes this a step further. Rather than focusing on the "hard wiring" he focuses on the behavioral, emotional and perceptional differences between men and women - and offers a simple solution: couples must acknowledge and accept these differences before they can develop happier relationships. Anne and Bill Moir's Why Men Don't Iron: The Real Science of Gender Studies says that for years men have been urged to become the New Man, to get in touch with their feminine side. But what if it doesn't exist? The Moirs argue that because men's and women's brains are wired differently, the increasing feminisation of society is detrimental to men and, eventually, to women.

In Apprenticeship in Liberty - Sex, Feminism and Sociobiology, Beatrice Faust also argues that men and women are different "to the extent that they experience their bodies differently. Sexual politics is based on a woman's identity in relation to her reproductive cycle."

The main behavioural difference between men and women is the natural, innate aggression of men, which explains to a large degree their historical dominance of the species. We do not teach our boy children to be aggressive - indeed, we try vainly to unteach it. Even researchers most hostile to the acknowledgement of sex differences agree that this is a male feature, and one which cannot be explained simply by social conditioning.

H. H. Monro wrote an instructive little story ("Saki") about a liberal household where the parents tried to suppress their son's natural male aggression by refusing him a set of tin soldiers; instead, they supplied a set of tin civil servants and teachers. All, they felt, was going well, until they sneaked into the playroom and saw that he had set out a battle royal between the regiments of the toy teachers and his model bureaucrats.

So here's where old and new theories basically agree. The ancient Orientals referred to the masculine and feminine energies as yin and yang. Men who possess more gentle and caring qualities have more of the feminine, or yin energies. Men who who want to be in charge everywhere have an overdose of masculine, or yang energy. Dr. John Gray talks about the importance of learning to blend these masculine and feminine energies, striving to be less "Martian" and "Venusian" and more "Marusian." In Mars and Venus in Love, he quotes Ken and Judy who have learned to respect their differences as men and women, and not try to ignore or deny them: "Ken and I went through the eighties when men and women were supposed to be exactly the same. Now we know that is not right; we found out that we weren't the same at all. But we also learned that one is not better than the other. Although we are different, his way is as valid as mine; I don't need to be fixed nor does he."

The broad evangelical Christian position, expounded by popular authors like Gary Smalley and James Dobson affirms that men and women are equal but different. True equality between the sexes involves a joyous celebrating of our very real differences. Smalley: "Most marital difficulties center around one fact - men and women are... different...virtually every cell in a man's body has a chromosome makeup entirely different from those in a woman's body." Dobson: "There is strong evidence indicating that the 'seat' of the emotions in a man's brain is wired differently than in a woman's."

SO WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Here's a pot pourri of generalised findings about boys and girls being different from birth. These come from various places on the Web and elsewhere. Plenty to argue... I mean talk about here!

LEFT BRAIN, RIGHT BRAIN

To simplify: the verbal, sorting, detail-oriented side of the brain is the left, whereas the spatial intuitive nonverbal side is the right. Who is more verbal, the average man or woman? By a wide margin, of course, the answer is the woman. She speaks twice as many words as the man and has done so even before the age of two. So the evidence is clear that women hang out more in their left brains, whereas men tend to hang out more in their right brains.Given all of the above (and the jury is still out on some of it), note however that although the typical cognitive profile of women may be different from that of men, there is a huge overlap. Many women do better than men on some spatial tests, and vice versa.

So: although men and women do a lot of things similarly if not identically, they may be doing them with different parts of the brain. Different is different. It's so easy to fall into the words better or worse. What's better, an apple or an orange?"

MARS AND VENUS ON A DATE

Many years ago, all men lived on Mars, and all women lived on Venus. Once they got together, they respected and enjoyed their differences - until one day when everybody woke up completely forgetting that they had once come from different planets. And ever since, men mistakenly expect women to think and communicate and react the way men do, and women expect men to think and communicate and react the way women do. In relationships many men sincerely believe they married a man in a woman's body: "She should think and act like me! What is her problem, anyway?"

Some wisdom:

MARRIAGE: WHAT HUSBANDS/WIVES WANT

[See the article What Women Want for their needs/preferences]

Some ideas to think about:

CONCLUSION

For centuries, the differences between men and women were socially defined and distorted through a lens of sexism in which men assumed superiority over women and maintained it through domination. As the goal of equality between men and women now grows closer we are also losing our awareness of important differences. Sometimes politically correct thinking is obliterating important discussion as well as our awareness of the similarities and differences between men and women.

Why can't a woman be more like a man? The world does not need a new crop of competitive, masculine women. The world has enough of competition, jousting for honored places, dog eat dog, and scratch and kick your way to the top of the pile. That lifestyle is what causes wars. An equally good question is, 'Why can't a man be more like a woman?' - more cooperative than competitive, more intimate than public, more accepting of others than needing to parade the colors, wave the sword, and perpetually seek to prove who's number one? A better question: 'Why can't men be men, and women be women, and both enjoy the differences?'

Do men have to lead and women 'submit' to enjoy a good, Christian, marriage? Our answer would be: God has ordained that men lead, and women 'respond' - but God is not a legalist. In the Bible, when a woman like Deborah has outstanding leadership qualities, she leads and men follow her lead. The Southern Baptists and Promisekeepers want to be more specific: men are always to be 'servant leaders'; women 'willing responders'.

When women know they're loved 'as Christ loved the church' (see Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Peter 3:1) they'll have no trouble 'submitting' to such a man, in our view. As one Christian woman put it: 'Submission doesn't mean giving in or being an overworked doormat; it's a gift of a woman's will. It means submitting to God first, then demonstrating that submission by choosing to serve and respect and be our husband's Number One supporter. Even when a man is more of a jerk than a Superman, he needs the respect of his wife, even if she has to ask the Lord for His perspective on what areas of his life are worthy of respect! Our primary need as women is to be cherished - to be shown TLC, understanding, respect, devotion, validation, and reassurance.

Men and women are equal but different. By 'equal', we mean that men and women have a right to equal opportunity and protection under the law.

Relationships between men and women are not impossible or necessarily difficult, but they are challenging. Problems will always arise when we expect or assume the opposite sex should think, feel or act the way we do.

The task that faces men and women is to learn to accept their differences, avoid taking their differences as personal attempts to frustrate each other, and to compromise whenever possible. The idea that one gender can think and feel like the other if they truly loved each is rather absurd.

Counseling and therapy can help a couple understand and appreciate each other, and even benefit from their differences. A marriage check-up with another experienced, sensitive person or couple every five-to-ten years is a good idea. As are Marriage Enrichment/Encounter weekends ('making good marriages better').

A man's primary need is for respect - from his peers and from the significant woman in his life: trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement. He also needs to be needed: that's why it's so emotionally devastating to a man when he loses his job. And just as a man is devastated by the loss of his job, a woman is devastated by the loss of a close relationship; both losses reflect the God-given differences between us. Just as a man needs to be respected, women primarily need to be cherished. Cherishing means giving tender care, understanding, respect, devotion, validation, and reassurance. Women need to know others think they're special. And just as a man needs to be needed, women need to be protected. That's why security is so important to a woman. A man needs to be able to provide, and a woman needs to feel provided for.

FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. Why do romance novels sell by the hundreds of millions?

  2. Why does Paul urge wives to honour/respect their husbands?

  3. Susan Estrich suggests opening schools earlier and keeping them open later to give mothers help with child care. What do you think about that idea?

  4. It is "better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife...(who) is like a constant dripping on a rainy day." (Proverbs 25:24; 27:15). Try to explain that!

  5. What do you make of this quote (source unknown)? 'Is the beer-guzzling/ TV-glued/ sex-driven man in your life more intuitive than you, the average woman? Yes, for he senses a situation and takes action intuitively (though his responses may be very restricted). He does not go through a long internal verbal process in choosing his path - he reacts, knowing it is right for him to do so. Intuition is defined (Oxford, 1980, s.v. "intuition") as "the power of knowing or understanding something immediately without reason or being taught." He responds immediately with sexual feeling to sex objects (no planning or long decision making process for him in these matters). This is an immediate response to his sexual feelings (i.e., right brain work). If you say something he doesn't want to hear, he will not respond verbally, but spatially as he moves to the TV to watch football reruns. He senses your words are wrong for him, and his intuitive response is to move away. As a woman, on the other hand, you may have long debates in your head before you come to make a decision or take some action. Such internal thinking and debating are left brain activities.'

  6. Someone has offered these ten commandments for married men. Try to arrange them in priority order. I. Treat Your Wife with Strength and Gentleness. II. Give Ample Praise and Reassurance III. Define the Areas of Responsibility IV. Avoid Criticism V. Remember the Importance of "Little Things" VI. Learn How to Listen to Her in Order to Understand Her VII. Give Her a Sense of Security VIII. Recognize the Validity of Her Moods IX. Cooperate With Her in Every Effort to Improve Your Marriage X. Discover Her Particular Individual Needs and Try to Meet Them

  7. Genesis 1:27: 'So God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.' What are the implications for 'gender thinking' in this statement?

  8. Read Proverbs 30:10-31. What do you make of this picture of the ideal wife? (Naughty question: would a woman have ever written anything like this?)

  9. From a Biblical perspective what is authentic masculinity and femininity?

  10. Comment on 1 Peter 3:1-7 in terms of the relationship between Christian husbands and wives today.

  11. Comment on your own role models of masculinity and femininity when you were younger. How did they affect your development?

  12. "Why can't a woman be more like a man? I submit to you that the much more relevant question for the 1990s is why can't a woman be more like a woman?" Mrs. Elizabeth Dole (wife of presidential candidate Bob Dole) told the applauding crowd at the Governor's Economic Summit For Women on Tuesday. She said experts have begun to realize that the female management style, stressing compromise and flexibility, is a more effective way to run many businesses. Why did they applaud? How does her statement apply to the church?

  13. Mrs Dole went on to say: "In the United States women still earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by males, and only 6.6 percent of executive-level managerial positions are held by women." Got an opinion about that?

  14. "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church" (See Ephesians 5:25-31, 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, Colossians 3:19, 1 Peter 3:7). How would you feel about this statement: "Wives have no trouble 'submitting' to a husband who loves them as Christ loved the Church"?

  15. James 1:19 " Be slow to speak, slow to become angry". Hurtful words last for a long time: how can we learn to be more careful/disciplined here?

  16. "Real love is acceptance-before-worth. If it's not like that, you're in love with an idea, not a person: you are in love with what they could be and not what they are." Agree? How can we change in this area?

  17. And how about these: "There is a clear pattern for language style associated with men to be that of power and dominance, and that associated with women to be that of powerlessness and submissiveness. Our culture prepares men to talk and women to listen." "Men interrupt women and other men more often, disagreeing with or ignoring women's comments." When a woman and a man each begin to talk at the same time, the woman is more likely to defer to the man and cease talking, allowing him to complete his thoughts and statements. Although many women do not realize this is their behavior, many will admit they are afraid they will say something that makes them seem too aggressive and 'unfeminine'. When a male or female 'expert' is talking to a couple, with whom - the man or woman - do they make most eye contact? Why?


    Here's an unedited email I received today from a male client who's having some marriage problems. He has given me permission to share it (with names changed). What would be your wisdom for him/her/them?

    We have just come back from two weeks' holiday with the family. Supposedly for a relaxing holiday. It was not. 'John' (my teenage son) spent pretty well the whole time in a whole lot of trouble. He had started the holiday this way and it continued for the whole time. 'Yvonne' (wife, not John's mother, second marriage for both of us) had bought him some fancy deodorant and he had given her his word it would not go to school with him. The day before we left, Yvonne went looking for it in his room and couldn't find it. She rang me in the car on the way home to see if John had it with him. He said No. He lied. I asked him where it was too and was told it was in his room. When we got home, I followed him to his room and asked him to show me where. He searched his room until I opened his bag and there it was. Yvonne went ballistic over the fact he had lied to us but more than that, he had tried to deceive us by covering it up. I do agree but I didn't want it to continue over the whole holiday. She pushed him so far that they had a fight and I am expected to back her up where I really feel like saying, "Just leave him alone". I know this is not right but it is how I feel.

    We had two big fights over the holiday time and they both started over my children and how bad they are and how I don't follow them up enough and keep the boundaries that "We" have set in place.

    This morning it was on again. I got up early to follow up on 4 things John needed to complete this morning before he went to school. Yvonne wanted me to stay in bed and have a cuddle. The argument went on until 9.00 when I am supposed to leave for work at 8.00. She feels I do not show her love and respect when I don't support her in front of the kids. I thought I did but she says it shows in my face and body language, which is probably true. I don't know how to respond to her and I know this makes things worse as Yvonne has told me so. The thing is I can't really fault most of what she says she wants from the kids or me, I just don't like the way it all happens.

    We talked about the way she chases me and how I retreat and the more she chases, the more I retreat and Yvonne's response to that is I have to stop retreating, not she has to stop chasing so hard. All we seem to talk about is my shortcomings and what I need to fix. I have tried accusing her of believing all our marriage problems are my fault and I don't get a simple answer. So I continue to believe she thinks they are all my fault.

    I am also told a lot of my problem is spiritual as I don't pray with her enough or live my life as enough of a witness to what is in the Bible. All this does is intimidate me further and drive me further into retreat. I don't want to retreat, but I don't want to continue to be beaten up. The problem is the more I retreat, the more I am beaten up.

    As usual, I have no where to go. I truly believe my God loves me just as I am, warts and all. He will never leave me or forsake me, just always be there for me and love me. This is all that keeps me alive at the moment.

    Thank you for listening and praying for me. This e-mail is unedited as it is just what is coming from my heart at the moment.

    Here's a random collection of generalizations about men and women. Would you agree?

    Men tend to offer solutions to requests for help instead of giving empathy.

    If you give empathy you don't need to make sacrifices.

    Women tend to offer unsolicited advice.

    Men tend to pull away and silently think through what's bothering them.

    Women feel an instinctive need to talk about what is bothering them.

    Women's most common complaint is that men don't listen (she wants empathy).

    Men's most common complaint is that women are always trying to change them (he wants acceptance).

    Men value power, competency and achievement so they are touchy about advice, because it implies they are not competent.

    Men offer solutions to problems and get upset when their solutions are not accepted and when she brings more problems in.

    For women it's a sign of love to offer help without being asked.

    Competence is not a touchy issue for a woman so you can offer help without problems.

    Women like men to provide solutions normally but NOT when she is upset!

    Men like to get advice but ONLY when it is requested.

    If a man is preoccupied he will be distant ("in his cave") until he finds a solution, then he will be better.

    Sports and news etc. help men vicariously solve problems rather than deal with their own!

    To expect a man who is in his cave to instantly become open and loving is as unrealistic as expecting a women who is upset to instantly become calm and make complete sense.

    By randomly talking about all aspects of her problem and others too, a women receives relief by being understood. Men usually think she is blaming him.

    Women who are wise do not take it personally when men are in their caves.

    When a women is upset, overwhelmed, confused, exhausted or hopeless she most needs to feel she is not alone.

    Women when upset don't convey facts (much is not literally true) but emotions. "We never go out" (when you often do ) just means "I feel like going out together". "Everyone ignores me" means everyone ignores me today, make me feel special. "I'm always tired" means I'm tired today give me a hug and reassure me. "No one listens to me" means I am afraid I am boring you, please listen to my day and ask me supportive questions. "Nothing is working" means "I am overwhelmed but I trust you so I can share this feeling with you. Tell me it will all work out and give me a hug". "You don't love me anymore" means today I don't feel loved, tell me you love me and reassure me.

    When a man says "It's OK" or "It's no problem" he means he is capable of solving it on his own and just needs to know you trust in his competence to solve the problem. (He should never say this about a womens' feelings because it minimises them).

    Men pull away when women get closer, she then panics and demands more closeness to re-establish things.

    Both men and women's cycles are monthly.

    Women need to receive Caring Understanding Respect Devotion Validation Reassurance.

    Men need to receive Trust Acceptance Appreciation Admiration Approval Encouragement.

    If a woman complains a man feels unappreciated; if she tries to change him he feels unaccepted; if she corrects him it makes him feel like the bad guy; if she criticizes him he no longer feels encouraged.

    A man must listen and not minimize, not correct her, not blame her and not say nothing and walk away.

    She says "How could you be so late ?" He explains. He should say "Sorry darling". If he forgets to do something, he should say "I did forget, are you angry?" and lets her talk.

    Caves: He says: Everyone needs space but I know it must be painful for you when I pull away. Let's talk about it.

    She says "How could you treat me this way?", He hears, "You are a bad person". He should say "I'm sorry; you don't deserve to be treated that way" and let her talk.

    Each gift of love scores a point with girls, big or small.

    Ideas for little things: 4 hugs per day, ask specific questions about her day, give her twenty minutes of exclusive attention, flowers, plan a date several days in advance, compliment her, offer to help when she is tired, call her if you are going to be late, call her from work now and then, put on cologne, give her a massage, be cuddly without being sexual sometimes, display affection (discreetly) in public, create occasions when you both can dress up, take pictures of her with you, go away for a weekend, write notes, comment on how she is feeling - you look happy, you look tired and ask questions, take her dancing, treat her the way you did at the beginning of the relationship, open doors for her, compliment her cooking, touch her when you talk, create special times to be alone together, don't answer the phone at intimate moments, go for a picnic, go bicycling, say you missed her

    What women need to do: be appreciative (men give penalty points if you don't). If you do a lot of practical things and don't appreciate what he does for you, the practical things don't get any points!

    Men idealise fairness, women unconditional love.

    Things she can do for him: don't nag about his mistake, don't punish him for dissapointing you, or when he forgets to pick something up.

    Men are competitive. Whether they're on the basketball court or on the highway, they want to win, to be out front. And it's not that girls aren't competitive, they tend to be more cooperative than competitive. When girls are playing and one gets hurt, the game will often stop and even be forgotten while everyone gathers around and comforts the one who went down. Be happy to see him when he gets home, really enjoy having sex with him, be tactful about expressing disappointment in a movie or restaurant, share your negative feelings in a balanced way.

    Women get our sense of self from relationships. Where men are task-oriented, women are relational-oriented.

    Men usually focus on a goal. They want to get to the bottom line, to the end of something, but women tend to enjoy the process.

    John Gray gave some great advice when he said that when a man's going into his cave, he can give powerful assurance to the woman in his life by telling her, "I'll be back."

    Men get our sense of self from achievement. They tend to be task-oriented, and being self-reliant is very important to them. You put those two together, and you get people who hate to ask for directions or for help. For men, asking for help is an admission of failure; they see it as a weakness.

    One final difference. For men, words are simply for conveying facts and information. But for women, words mean much more. Not just to convey information, but to explore and discover thoughts and feelings, to help them feel better when they're upset, and it's the only way they have to create intimacy. To a woman, words are like breathing!

    Men tend to be compartmentalized, like a chest of drawers: work in one drawer, relationships in another drawer, sports in a third drawer, and so on. All the various parts of our lives can be split off from each other. Whereas women are more like a ball of yarn where everything's connected to everything else. That's why a woman can't get romantic when there's some unresolved anger or frustration with her husband, and he doesn't see what the two things have to do with each other.

    A woman's chance of getting support are greatly reduced when the request becomes a demand.

    Finally, we need to understand the other person's past. The key man in a woman's life before she marries is usually her father, who provided a certain 'kit of behaviors' for her to expect / react against in her husband. And vice versa for the man. (Source unknown)

    REFERENCES

    Apprenticeship in Liberty - Sex, Feminism and Sociobiology by Beatrice Faust

    Brain Sex: The real difference between men and women by Anne Moir, Ph.D. and David Jessel.

    Hidden Keys to a Loving Lasting Marriage by Gary Smalley

    Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by Dr John Gray

    Sex and Power by Susan Estrich

    Sex On The Brain: the biological differences between men and women by Deborah Blum

    Understanding The Difference Between Men And Women by Michael G. Conner

    Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man? by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

    Why Men Don't Iron: The Real Science of Gender Studies by Anne and Bill Moir

    Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps by Allan and Barbara Pease.


    Written by Rowland and Jan Croucher, April 2001

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