Let us make man in our image, in our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen 1:26-27)
If you’ve been married for any length of time, you’ve discovered that you and your spouse are different. Those differences drew you together, and create a great deal of passion in your relationship. Glory! But when you’re under stress, they can also create a great deal of conflict.
So how are male and female different from each other? Authors Bill and Pam Farrel like to think of them this way: "Men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti. At first it may seem silly, even juvenile, but stay with us. It is a picture that works and men 'get it' (because it involves food).
We don’t mean that men 'waffle' on decisions and are generally unstable. What we mean is men process life in boxes. If you look down at a waffle, you see a collection of boxes separated by walls. The boxes are all separate from each other and make convenient holding places. That is typically how a man processes life. Our thinking is divided up into boxes that have room for one issue and one issue only. The first issue of life goes in the first box, the second goes in the second box, and so on…
As a result, men are problem solvers by nature. They enter a box, size up the 'problem,' and formulate a solution. In their careers, they consider what it will take to be successful and focus on it. In communication, they look for the bottom line and get there as quickly as possible… A man will strategically organize his life in boxes and then spend most of his time in the boxes he can succeed in. This is such a strong motivation for him that he will seek out the boxes that work and will ignore the boxes that confuse him or make him feel like a failure. For instance, man whose career holds the possibility of success will spend more and more time at work at the expense of other priorities…
The bottom line with men is: they feel best about themselves when they are solving problems.
The 'success' drive is why men find it so easy to develop hobbies that consume their time. If a man finds something he is good at, it makes him feel good about himself and about his life. Because men tend to be good with mechanical and spatial activities, they get emotionally attached to building, fixing, and chasing things. Yard projects become expressions of his personality. The car becomes his signature. Fishing becomes an all-consuming pursuit of the right equipment, the right fishing spot, and the right friends…
The bottom line with men is: they feel best about themselves when they are solving problems. Therefore, they spend most of their time doing what they are best at while they attempt to ignore the things which cause them to feel deficient.
Women are Like Spaghetti
In contrast to men’s waffle-like approach, women process life more like a plate of pasta. If you look at a plate of spaghetti, you notice that there are lots of individual noodles that all touch one another. If you attempted to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even switch to another noodle seamlessly. That is how women face life. Every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue in some way. Life is much more of a process for women than it is for men.
This is why women are typically better at multitasking than men. She can talk on the phone, prepare a meal, make a shopping list… and close the door without skipping a beat. Because all her thoughts, emotions, and convictions are connected, she is able to process more information and keep track of more activities.
And so women consistently sense the need to talk things through. In conversation she can link together the logical, emotional, relational, and spiritual aspects of the issue.
This often creates significant stress for couples because while she is making all the connections, he is frantically jumping boxes trying to keep up with the conversation. The man’s eyes are rolling back in his head while a tidal wave of information is swallowing him up. When she is done, she feels better and he is overwhelmed…
Different by Design
The differences are not limited to conversation, however. As research accumulates, it is becoming increasingly obvious that God made men and women different in many ways. They think differently, they process emotions differently, they make decisions differently, and they learn differently. And yet men and women complement one another so beautifully that a healthy relationship makes both partners more complete."
And this, my sisters (IMHO) is the glory of Christian marriage!
How to Make Our Differences Work
This excerpt is quoted from the book, Men are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel. Refreshing and humorous, the authors explain how to make the differences between men and women work for you in the areas of sex, work, friendship, communication, and parenting. Check it out!
This is really a spiritual issue, because the fundamental issue really is will we embrace God’s design in creating us with these differences—your gender, your background, your family, your personality—He created you and then brought you together in covenant. Will you thank him and praise Him for that. Will you accept it as a good and kind gift from a good and kind God or will you kick against the goad? Will you try to deny or to change what he has done? When we reject our spouse, we are fundamentally rejecting God and His perfect plan for our life.
—Jeff Robinson, CBMW
For more Marriage Monday posts on The Glory of Christian Marriage, click here.