There is a lot of debate on whether or not men and women are designed differently by God. Here is one person’s take on that issue. See if you agree:
“Man was made from the ground,
so he focuses more on nature.
Woman was made from man,
which makes her more human relationship-oriented.”
We came upon the above quote and found it interesting in how it can relate to marriage. Think about it. Whether you agree with it or not, we hope it will promote a good discussion between you as it did for us in how very differently we approach life. So, from this vantage point, both of us will be addressing this message from our varying perspectives.
Designed Differently by God?
I’m not sure if the above “anonymous” statement is true, but I do see it happening in many relationships, including ours. I acknowledge that sometimes the “role” is reversed in what husband’s and wives bring. But I see that this appears to be true in most marriages. In our relationship, our approaches to life are very different. My focus is more on relationship issues and Steve’s focus being more on non-relationship issues.
For a long time we didn’t understand or appreciate these perspectives. As a result, it caused a lot of conflict in our marriage. But over the years we’ve come to see how God designed us very uniquely with our gender differences being a big part of what we bring into the mix. As we work to make it so, we really do interact well together.
Steve helps me to take things a little less serious in the way of human relationships. He helps me to let go of that, which I cannot change. I help Steve to be more aware of other approaches in relating to people. I help him to see aspects of human temperaments and behavior in ways that he might not think of, given his natural approach to life.
Romans 12:3-6 comes to mind:
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…“
Designed Differently to Function Together
God tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 about this as well. There are many parts functioning in one body, which also means many differences working together as they make the body work as it should.
Steve and I are both changing in the ways we approach various aspects of everyday living. It’s taking time, patience, compromise, and mostly a willingness to listen to God’s leading. But it’s worth whatever effort we put into it because we now realize we make a great team when we do things God’s way instead of our own way.
Something I learned that has helped me tremendously in our marriage is NOT to use the excuse, “that’s the way I am you’ll just have to accept me.” A good marriage involves marrying of our ways to approach life as a team. I learn and can benefit from Cindy and Cindy learns and can benefit from me (when we’re doing things God’s way).
It’s true that men and women do seem to be “wired” differently. Over the years God has shown me how great it is that Cindy’s focus on life and relationships IS different from mine. That’s part of the unique giftedness God gave Cindy (and women in general). Once I accepted this as a true strength in our relationship, I also saw it as a part of God’s gift to me in my wife.
But I need to add that even after 45+ years of marriage we can still get really frustrated with each other just “being the way we are.” It’s a process of growing and trying to understand, so don’t get too frustrated with yourself because growth can be slow …and even painful at times.
I like the humorous way that Pastor Mark Gungor writes about this issue in his book, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. He says that men and women are very unique in their approaches in life. (But he also says, “This is a generalization that doesn’t always hold true and may sometimes be exactly the opposite.” You may find this to be true in your marriage.)
“The differences between men and women are colorful and pretty self-evident. In fact, the only thing we seem to have in common is that we come from the same species. Other than that, we have different views of the world, different values, and we operate by a different set of rules.
“Take the [public] bathroom. Men visit the bathroom with a single goal in mind; he goes in, does his business, and walks out avoiding eye contact and conversation. Women, on the other hand, think of the bathroom as a social area or therapy office. A woman can meet a stranger in the bathroom and begin a conversation as if she were her new best friend. Men don’t make friends in the bathroom; it just doesn’t happen.
“Men have sex; women make love. Men like things; women like people. When women get lost, they ask for directions. Men don’t get lost—getting lost would make a man look stupid. A man may take a scenic route, which adds travel time, but men don’t get lost.
“Men are hunters; women are gatherers. Men protect; women nurture. Men and women even have different brain structures. We think differently, believe differently, handle stress differently, and behave differently.
“Yet it is amazing how many men and women resist recognizing or discussing their differences. But these differences are the fingerprints of our gender. They are neither good nor bad; they are simply who we are.
“Birds fly, frogs croak, horses sleep standing up, and men and women do what they do. A loving intimate marriage relationship will leave room for gender differences without making the assumption that the other is wrong.”
Men, if we’re going to truly demonstrate how much we value the differences there are between us and our wives, what better way to show your wife how much you love her, than by taking some time this week to examine your strengths (differences). To do this you must T.A.L.K.
T … Thank God for those strengths He’s given her…
A … Ask God to show you how you can encourage her to use those strengths in your marriage…
L … Learn by becoming a “student” of your wife. The better I get to know Cindy and the unique ways she approaches life, the more I love her…
K … Kiss and embrace your wife and tell her no matter how differently you may see things, you’ll always love and be committed to her and her alone. (I especially like the “K” part.)
Our hope for you is that you’ll learn to embrace the differences in your personalities, seeing them as gifts that can benefit your life together. We also hope you’ll discuss some of those differences, and ask God to help you to lovingly “complete” rather than “compete and struggle” with each other.
Steve and Cindy Wright
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