Perspective can make a big difference in how we think, feel, behave and relate to our spouse. Substantial psychological research on gender differences has shown that men and women differ significantly in how they perceive, think and communicate. Men tend to approach the world from the point of gaining status, preserving independence and avoiding failure. Women tend to approach the world as a network of connections and try to preserve relationship, community, create intimacy and avoid isolation. It is useful to consider these differences in the context everyday misunderstandings between men and women.
Views about marriage differ by gender
In general, men tend to see relationship and marriage as a place to relax. They want to recharge when stressed or tired. Ideally, a man can kick back, and not do anything he doesn’t want to do. Often, he engages in an independent activity like reading the newspaper, watching TV, doing projects around the house. It could be an activity together with his spouse like renovating, going for a walk, engaging in a sport. What makes him relaxed is the activity itself and the comfort of knowing that his partner is near. A sense of security in a relationship for men seems to be greatest when he is engaged in an activity and she is nearby.
Women also want to feel secure enough to relax in their relationship. Engaging in conversation seems to help women relax. For most women, security in marriage comes from stimulating conversation with their man. They want to feel emotionally connected in order to relax and do this by expressing themselves, feeling heard and listening to their spouse.
Of course, women like activity and men like conversation, but the degree that each wants it, varies. So, while both men and women want a sense of security from their relationship, that security comes in slightly different ways and feels different for each of them. This subtle difference can become a relationship problem, if it’s not understood.
I will post about how each gender can avoid this problem and strengthen the relationship.