Now that our kids are older it is so funny to observe some things that have not changed. One thing that hasn’t changed is meal time!! Our boys hate to go out to eat. When they are home, they want to eat at home. I would love to tell you that it is my wonderful southern cooking that makes them want to eat at home. But on the Back 9 I can see another obvious reason for not going out, it takes too long. Our men just want to eat!!! Collins prefers to dress up and go out. She enjoys looking over a menu and having choices for her meal. She treasures the time for conversation and catching up. On the other hand, these same outings are like putting our boys in front of the firing squad!! Recognizing the different needs has compelled us as a family to find a balance between eating out and eating at home.
Men often see going to lunch as an efficient way to meet their hunger needs. It can also mean an opportunity to discuss a business prospect or solve a problem. Women may view going to lunch as a time to build relationships, share or hear problems, or as a chance to give and receive support. Going to lunch for two females can very often become deep, meaningful and intimate, very much like a counseling session. Why is this?
“A man’s sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results.” And a “woman’s sense of self is defined through her feelings and the quality of her relationships.” -John Gray
Men are driven to prove themselves and develop their strength and skills. Just examine the men in your life. They love sports, hunting, fast cars, video games, etc. They would much rather clean the garage or have the grass and yard look good. They are not usually so concerned about how clean their closet is. They are most fulfilled through success and accomplishment. They are more interested in “objects” and “things” rather than people and feelings.
Women are driven by the value of love, beauty, communication and relationships. They are most fulfilled when they are relating and sharing with others. Women love to decorate, to shop, to have lunch and to throw parties. They are interested in carrying out their God-given desires and values through these avenues.
Historically men have worn uniforms to work. Businessmen prefer to wear coats and ties. Most men spend little time deciding what to wear. Women will think about and plan for days what they are going to wear to a special event. Yes, sometimes they will change clothes two or three times before leaving the house on any given day. All these examples demonstrate the vast differences between the genders.
Because of these differences, conflict occurs when we expect the opposite sex to change. We should instead recognize the God-given distinct qualities of men and women. Look to cultivate ways of relating to and respecting the opposite sex. The end result will mean healthier relationships.
For example, it has taken me years to drop my hands and shut my mouth when it comes to giving advice about directions to Bill. Men do not like to be told what to do. They like to achieve a task on their own and feel most accomplished if they reach it by themselves. John Gray, a PHD, says, “To offer a man unsolicited advice is to presume that he doesn’t know what to do or that he can’t do it on his own.”
So women, before you instruct or give advice…………WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE ASKED! Remember, men like and want to be strong. If they have to ask for help, to them it is a sign of weakness. As a woman, I love and care and wanted to help Bill. I see more clearly now that it was probably being perceived as if I didn’t trust him to do the smaller things such as get us to the restaurant. It may have also given him the impression that I did not trust him in the bigger things. Men like to fix and solve. It is best when women try to resist the urge to give advice unless asked. Women have no idea how critical and unloving we are perceived to be when we offer “help” to a man.
As for the men, whether your role is that of husband, son, father, boyfriend, friend, or brother, know that women like to be listened to and validated. I know I do!! I really didn’t realize how much I did until we had a daughter. One day I was listening to her share her hurt feelings and she said, “I am not looking for you to fix this. I just need you to listen!” She went on to point out to me that, many times from her perspective, I was trying to fix problems. She was right! Women want to be heard!! They want men to listen and validate their feelings, not always offer solutions, but understanding their feelings. Put on your ears and don’t always try to be Mr. Fix-it.
Timing and approach to offering advice and solutions to each other, male and female, can be done and should be done. Often we fall short in realizing the God-designed differences between men and women. We are not sensitive to how often we may need to completely refrain from our natural bent and wait for an appropriate time to offer advice (women) or a solution (men).
JOHN 13:34, “…LOVE ONE ANOTHER…”