Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gender Differences in Christian Marriage

Welcome to Marriage Monday!

How Marriage Works:
21 Secrets Every Couple Needs to Know

Secret #14: Appreciating each other's strengths creates positive marriage synergy.

Q. Can two human beings who deeply love each other really be that different in their approach to life? 

" far as our own marriage struggles over the years, I'd have to say communication has been one of the biggest challenges. We are doing so much better these days but it has not always been so. It took a lot of learning along the way, with help from seminars like Love and Respect and others to help us understand why each of us sometimes weren't always communicating effectively."Tammy

"Our frustrations? Communication: Me: 'Quit yelling at me!' Him: 'I'm not yelling, this is just how I talk!' Money and Priorities: Me: 'Glad you bought a brand new fancy camera, but I really wanted a refrigerator.' Him: 'I'm not buying a new refrigerator until I can afford exactly what I want and I won't buy it on credit.'"Jennifer in OR

A. Yes they can. Loving couples need to negotiate about many areas of their marriage. Some experts say that communication, money, and sex are the areas of greatest conflict. But why?

First, let's keep in mind that although we're two different genders, we're not two different species. Both genders come equipped with a similar range of aptitudes and abilities. It's possible to see things from your spouse's point of view, even though you might not entirely agree.

Unfortunately, it's stress that sends marriage partners to opposite corners of the ring. That's often when mutual understanding flies out the window, and each spouse comes out swinging. You can learn more about how to "get off the crazy cycle" and achieve better communication in marriage here. For information about how spouses tend to view money in marriage click here. If sex is an issue between you, click here.

Even when good feelings between you abound and your marriage is going smoothly, you've probably noticed that your husband prioritizes life differently than you do. To that we say, viva la difference! God has uniquely hard-wired men and women and for good reasons, as you will see in the summary below. 

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up ... Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
(Ecc 4:9-11 NIV)


Thirteen Differences Between the Sexes

Studies have proven that gender differences are neurological, hormonal, and genetic in origin. They are highly resistant to change by the influences of culture. This is true of men and women around the globe. The sexes are equal but different.

1. Socializing: Whether it's tennis or cards, women usually use the event as an excuse for cooperation and supportive conversation. For men, the name of the game is competition and winning.

2. A man's brain is focused outside the home in work and recreation. When he comes home, he does so to take a rest. Although she may be working outside the house too, a women's brain is strongly focused on her home and on family. When she comes home from her job, she's greeted by more work. She finds it difficult to rest until her parenting and homemaking tasks are completed. 

3. Self-esteem: Men develop the evidence of their worthiness primarily from their jobs—whether it's a business, profession, or trade. Women (especially SAHMs) depend heavily on the romantic relationship with their husbands for emotional support. Little tokens of affection are appreciated more by wives, whose
self-esteem gets a boost from these expressions of love and caring.

4. Mothers become emotionally bonded to their children prior to birth by the virtue of carrying the infant in her body. Men do not become emotionally bonded to their children until several months after the birth when the infant begins to smile, respond, and interact with him.

5. Sexual arousal: Men respond to visual stimulation, caring less about the romantic component or personal identity. Men can more easily separate love and sex. Women are usually not attracted by a photo of an unknown model or by a handsome stranger, but to the touch of a particular man with whom she has entered into an personal relationship. Women prefer to combine romance and sex.

6. Men do not have as strong a desire and need for stability, security and enduring relationships as women do.

In a time of crisis, women tend to react with reference to their feelings. Men tend not to react with reference to feelings but with deducted thought and reason.

7. Women experience emotional influences that men do not because of the hormones associated with their reproductive cycles: e.g. pregnancy, lactation, and menopause.

8. The play habits of young girls is almost exclusively in real life domestic situations, playing house, school and so on. In contrast, young boy's play is usually in the fantasy world, heroically blasting Martians with lasers to save the world.

9. School: Boys tend to excel over girls in math and science subjects. Girls tend to excel over boys in English and arts subjects.

10. In a time of crisis, women tend to react with reference to their feelings. They become more verbal and feel need to "vent" about their problems with an empathetic listener. Men tend not to react with reference to their feelings but with deducted thought and reason. They become less verbal, while feeling the need to retreat into their "man-cave" to solve the problem alone.

11. Women are usually credited with possessing "mother's intuition" in regard to her children and all her personal relationships. She may not be able to explain it, but she has a feeling about the situation that the man does not. Yet while she may be responsible for sensing the situation, the man can usually chose the most appropriate course of action.

12. Our materialistic society places a higher value on the ability to be rational in the face of stress—a quality which is necessary for providing financial stability for the family. Yet this quality is of little value for happiness inside the home. So while men may be better equipped support the family, women are better equipped to keep the family emotionally healthy.

13. Overall, society places much greater value on masculine qualities. This has driven many women to feel "unfulfilled" in the home environment. Many women do not feel valued unless they are working outside the home for money. They feel ashamed to say they are "just a housewife."


Photos: JoePhilipson (1), YorkCollegeofPA (2 & 3) (Flickr)

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Miriam Pauline said...

Great list! So glad you are back to posting. Have a great day!

e-Mom said...

Over at Susannah's {Kitchen} Janette said:

Is that a question....LOL, of course they can be!!

Oh this will be fun to read... maybe one day I can get back on the band wagon and join Marriage Monday.

Denise said...

Great post.

Faith said...

lots of info here! Glad you are back to blogging!!!

Lisa Maria said...

Hi e-Mom

So nice to see a Marriage Monday again! Unfortunately I only saw this tonight so I haven't participated, but I have really enjoyed reading and learning what everyone else has to say. Next time I'll be joining you for sure!

Thanks for a very enlightening post!

God Bless!

Constance said...

It's funny to see the things you've learned, put into writing! As I read through the points, I thought, "Oh I knew that" over and over.

I always give the same marriage advice when asked (at showers, etc). Always respect the other person!

My Mother-In-Law used to tell Dave's Dad, "I'm not your clone! If I were, one of us would be unnecessary!"

What was said in exasperation rings so true! We both bring unique perceptions to the table, each have value and should be affirmed!

Another important piece of advice for Christian couples:
Be teachable! You are never too old to learn God's truths and apply them to you life and relationships!


Shelley said...

Another great post by a great lady :) It is interesting though, because sometimes I do not think like a woman ... yikes. 1) I'm more competitive :) 2) My brain is focused on work and church and I go home to rest ... and worry less about homemaking tasks (am I bad) lol, my house is not a major mess but I would rather sit and read or write over doing the dishes or laundry. :) I struggle in not being a miss susie homemaker ... if I had more time maybe I would - but really my thoughts are ministry before home .... hummmmm I'm sure if we had children this would change?

Shelley said...

PS I also do not 'need' alot of female interaction, I'm good with my own company and with my man.

e-Mom said...

Shelley: I hear you girl!

In fact, you've anticipated our next Marriage Monday topic, which is "spiritual gifts" (or temperaments.) Think of M and F as the two polarities--which definitely show up in marriage when we're under stress.

Each of us is gifted by God at birth. In terms of temperatment, all of us actually fall somewhere between the two polarities, somewhere along that continuum between M and F. Some of us lean more toward the typically "girly" end and others more toward more the "boyish" end.

Yes, if you had children, you would definitely have the hormones of pregnancy, lactation etc. giving you a strong "nesting" urge. But don't worry, God has you exactly where He wants you.

Tune in next time for more!

Hugs, e-Mom

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