In their book, Brain Sex, Anne Moir and David Jessel write:
“It is yet another example of the basic differences in the way we, men and women, see the world, and see each other. We have innately separate approaches to each other, our children, our jobs, and the values we attach to them. Different perceptions, brought to bear either upon the child or the washing-up, may cause stress and strife. Denying the differences devalues the perception, and causes further conflict – ‘Oh, all right, I’ll do it your way if it’s so darned important to you’ – is annoying because the presumption is that ‘your way’ is not important.
As in most of the differences between the sexes noted in this and other chapters, the key to peaceful coexistence, as in the political sphere, is diplomacy, and, to a lesser extent, negotiation; a lesser extent, because negotiation may succeed in diminishing nuclear stockpiles, but it cannot erase basic ideological differences. There is not a war between the sexes, not even a cold one. But there is, in key respects, a basic incompatibility. The success of many marriages is a tribute to women’s superiority in social diplomacy. Perhaps more marriages would be more universally successful if men, too, acquired at least that one female skill.”
In a time where so many are struggling with the harsh realities of war, economic difficulties, health care concerns, shattered relationships, addictions and brokenness on many levels I can’t help but wonder if it is time to reevaluate and appreciate the glorious differences between the genders rather than trying to force females to be more like males and males to be more like females. Isn’t there value to what both genders bring to the table of life? I believe we have a lot to learn from each other.
So often in marriage therapy sessions, I will observe a fundamental lack of respect for the spouse’s gender differences. “He’s not romantic enough.” “She’s too emotional.” “She is so needy.” “His idea of quality time is watching a game together.” “Why can’t we sometimes just cuddle without it always leading to sex?” What challenges are you experiencing in your relationship? Are you wishing your partner would be more like you, male – female?
There is a potential danger when discussing gender differences and that is with the tendency to categorize them as polar opposites. However, if people start conceptualizing gender differences as a point on a male/female continuum rather than an absolute, we can then leave gender ‘rules’ behind and move into the world of discovery. Taking the time needed to discover and learn about each other – maleness and femaleness. I can’t help but wonder how many relationships problems would magically disappear if you spent more time appreciating and working with gender differences rather than trying to invest so much time in getting your partner to be more like you!?
What do you think of this quotation from Brain Sex? Do you find in your current and/or past relationships that there is a lack of understanding of how the opposite sex functions/thinks/values/relates? Do you defer to the other gender when in a sphere where the other’s natural gifts may be more advantageous to employ? Or, do you fight to defend your position as the only valuable and accurate one?
Genesis 1:27 – “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Thank God there are gender differences. Without them life would be incredibly dull. With them, we can exercise economies of scale that bring a richness and fullness to relationships that right now are too often unrealized. What a wonderful example of a heavenly inspired partnership!