Our first topic for "31 Days to Healthier Relationships" is perhaps the most basic and common sensical… men and women are distinctly different! However, we all know what they say about common sense; it isn't necessarily common practice.
Thaddeus Eastland (Mark’s pastor) of HOPE Church -Pearland, likes to remind people that one of the biggest mistakes we make is when women try to treat men like hairier women or men expect women to act like better smelling men. Well, he doesn't exactly say it like that, but you get the point! We are very different and need to stop expecting one another to; react the way “we” would, care about the things “we” care about, communicate the way “we” communicate, etc.
In the book “Love & Respect”, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs says; women have “pink” glasses and “men” have blue glasses, woman have “pink” hearing aids and men have “blue” hearing aids and both see and hear “everything” through their own perspective based on their individual gender, not just a “role” but the way they actually interpret information.
Our differences show up in very obvious ways, especially when it comes to how we make decisions. It is no secret that women tend to be more emotionally-driven while men tend to be more logic-driven. That isn't to say that women don't or can't use logic or that men can't or don't have emotions, it is just to acknowledge the very basic reality that we are distinctly “designed”, “Male” and “Female”.
As often as not, we can expect a man and a woman to approach situations differently. There's no shame or penalty in this; it is by God’s wise design since He is the creator of both “male” and “female”. Our brain and body chemistry is different. At our very core, the hormone levels of testosterone and estrogen in men vs. women are distinct. As a result, men and women not only look differently on the outside, they are fueled and motivated differently from the inside. Many of these differences remain a mystery to the opposite sex. We often mistake this for how each one is “acting” but they are not “acting”, they are simply operating from a different place. Many of these mysteries are simply “who” he/she is, not “how” he/she is acting. When any one of us insists that the design be other than what it was created to be, we are inviting impossible circumstances that he/she can’t possibly live up to. In this, we set ourselves up for more pain and unsuccessful relationships.
You can wrap an apple in an orange peel but internally, its structure will still be an apple. Plant the seeds and they will always produce other “apples” because they are “designed” that way. We often forget that we were never created to be in the image of one another. We were created in the image of God and yet He made us distinct in gender, not just in roles. To expect one another to be or act in ways that are both unnatural as well as unintended is to ask someone to try and figure out how to literally “be” somebody else. We see this in the most basic sense when the roles are reversed. A man can learn how to do certain tasks that women typically do and a woman can learn how to do certain tasks that a man typically does but this will never change the lens from which they view life and make decisions. It does not change their hormone levels. It doesn’t change “who” they really are.
As couples, if everyone is making decisions the same way, we are bound to miss something! Again, referencing Pastor Eastland, he calls this the “microscope versus the telescope principle”. Men tend to look at the world through the lens of a telescope - seeing more clearly those things that lie ahead and beyond the present circumstances. They are not as easily deterred from their focus because they are more logical/concrete in nature and deal mostly based on “facts” and “end results”.
Women tend to look at the world, family and life through a microscope - having a keener sense and understanding than many men have of what is up close. They are more sensitive in nature and deal more with every day “human needs” and “details”. They naturally gravitate towards what is needed behind the scenes to make it all happen. He is the “mind” of the vision while she is the “heart”. Of course “he” has heart and “she” has a mind, but ultimately, their natural tendencies will cause them to gravitate in the direction of their internal make up.
Men and women operate more effectively in relationship together when each one focuses on what they can see more clearly and when each one allows the other to operate from that perspective. His ability to “see” clearly and her ability to “feel” it out are both necessary senses and add value to the outcome when appreciated.