Before we leap into this subject too much, it is necessary to understand that there is no possible way that everything mentioned here applies 100% to all men or all women. The subject here, 'understanding the opposite sex' is in terms of generality. Most of the concepts here will apply to most men or women, but not all.
God made us too diverse to emphatically say this is the way a woman thinks, or this is the way a man will react. However, to say that there is no difference between men or women is an absurdity that lends credence to the political correct pundits.
Let me make a statement that is sure to steam most people up. "Men and women are not equal."
Now, if you will, let me explain. Saying that men and women are equal is much like saying that the brain and the heart are equals. That is an absurdity. It is impossible for the brain to adequately perform the heart's function or vice-versa. However, neither can you say that the brain is more important than the heart, or the other way around. Both are necessary for the survival of the body. Though they may be equal in importance, they are not equal in capabilities as they serve two different functions.
In addition, they are co-dependent on each other for their survival. If one stops, the other will too.
Men and women, or husbands and wives, are very much like that. We are built different. We serve different functions, equally important, but equally diverse also. The differences aren't bad. They are essential.
Modern society advocates that there is no difference between men or women. This is foolishness. There most certainly are differences. I would even go so far as to say that there are fundamental differences. These differences aren't bad--they are good. And necessary. Only the differences in our physical bodies allows for reproduction, and only the differences in our mental, emotional, and spiritual makeup allow for the formation of a solid marriage.
Occasionally, I'll say something like this to my wife, "Boy, I'm glad I'm not a woman." And she'll look me right in the eye and say, "And I'm glad I'm not a man!" You know, I like the fact that I married a woman who enjoys her femininity. My wife revels in who she is and who God made her. I happen to revel in the fact that I am male. I love it. And why should we not?
Look, our differences are complementary, not divisional. Much like a key and a lock are uniquely different, but fit so well together, so too is the union of a man and a woman in marriage. The differences are what make the marriage special...and what helps it to work.
I do believe in a masculine nature as well as a feminine nature. Although not every single aspect of femininity will be found in any given woman, you'll find that the following concepts hold true for most women, most of the time. The same is true for the men.
Men Have A Need To Dominate Their Environment. While Women Have A Need To Dominate Their Relationships
Most men have a need to work. In fact, most men find fulfillment in their work and have a need to dominate it. It is how a man defines himself. When he thinks "Who am I?" he thinks of his work. He is a plumber, a carpenter, a programmer, a CEO. If his work is not going well, then he is not happy.
A man likes to control the things around him. He likes being king or chief. Whether it be the music, the functioning of his car, the power to build or destroy, men have a need to almost play God with their surroundings. It's often been said that a man is nothing more than a boy with more expensive toys. Yes, but what are these toys? Cars, boats, table saws, chainsaws, ATV's, guns and so forth. Isn't it interesting how many men are so attached to their garages? It's an environment they control absolutely!
I pastor a church, but I find tremendous joy in taking a piece of wood and cutting it, sanding it, drilling into it, and painting it. I like to build with my hands. I have four sons, and they all have an incurable curiosity anytime I bring out one of my power tools.
Men will put tremendous amounts of effort into proving they are king of the hill. I once had a tree stump that I was determined to unearth. I skipped every meal that day simply because I wasn't about to give up. When I had finally succeeded, I patted the stump and said, "See there? Told you I'd win." As if I were in competition with a silly tree stump.
Most men have a fairytale need to ride forth from a castle like a knight in shining armor to slay the dragon that is terrorizing the countryside.
Women, on the other hand, aren't so interested in controlling their environment as they feel the need to control their relationships. Women define themselves by the success or failures of their relationships. I think that by nature, women possess more of a spiritual nature than men. This allows them to be more empathetic and sympathetic with people. But it also creates a need to control their relationships.
If you ask a woman who she is, most will respond that she is a wife and a mother. A woman rarely hides herself in her work, unless she has formed a meaningful relationship there. Men can become lost in their work to the exclusion of all else, including relationships.
Therefore, if a woman's relationships are deteriorating, she is not happy. You can never exhaust a woman's patience by telling her that you love her too much. She constantly desires the confirmation of the success of her relationship. Men sometimes think, "Look, I told you that I loved you when I married you. If I ever change my mind, I'll let you know." That brings no comfort to a woman.
If a woman believes that her relationships are failing, she will go to extraordinary lengths to seize it before she feels she loses it completely. This can have a negative result.
Some Good Advice:
1. Wife, allow your husband to be king of the hill. Learn to cheer him on. Build up his ego. You will find your relationships stronger when you have convinced him that he is king of your life.
2. Husband, never forget to constantly reaffirm your love to your wife. Do it in various and diverse manners. Your wife will never tire of hearing, "I love you." Say it quietly, say it sweetly, say it with flowers, even shout it from afar. But tell her.
3. Wife, understand your husband's need to control things. Be it his power tools, guns, stereo, job, garage, or the car. Men like to feel in control. Why do you think that most men don't want to ask for directions when they are lost?
4. Husband, never underestimate the importance of relationships with your wife. All the money in the world will not buy off a wife who really loves you. A man once gave his wife $2,000 every single week, but they still struggled in their marriage until he realized that what she wanted was him, not his money.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
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