Pixar’s new “Inside Out” does a great job of explaining the differences between a man and a woman’s thought process. My husband and I love the part where Dad’s emotions were watching sports instead of paying attention to the family conversation at dinner.
Some of the difficulties in marriages can be attributed to common gender differences. Referring to marriage at a 2014 international conference on the family, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said, “It is the meeting of opposites that generates diversity.” And that diversity can be the foundation for a strong, loving marriage.
Here are a few ways you can appreciate the differences in your spouse.
It’s hard to apologize
Yes, your husband feels remorse. Sometimes he may even see the error of his ways. But it’s hard for him to say those things. Apologies are easier to give, though, if they are well-received. To strengthen your marriage, both of you should work on getting really good at giving and receiving apologies.
He doesn’t notice little things
New dress? Highlights? He might not pick up on these things. Angry wife? He probably will catch on to that — eventually. Make things better by not setting him up to fail; he’s not a mind reader. Instead of waiting for him to notice something, tell him about it. For best results add, “I bought this new dress. Please tell me you love it.”
He doesn’t want to talk about his feelings
Feelings are dangerous ground for many men, whether theirs or someone else’s. Women say 20,000 words a day. Men say about one-third of that. However, if your husband has something to say, he will say it. His silence doesn’t automatically mean he’s mad. It can mean he’s said his piece. Rather than badger him about not sharing, listen carefully when he does. It will encourage more talking in the future.
He doesn’t need the same social outlet that you do
We are not unlike the animal kingdom when it comes to social circles. For many species, females live in a herd with their offspring while males live in small groups or on their own. Chances are your Facebook friends list is much longer than his. To make this work for both of you, be sure your No. 1 friend is your husband — and the one other friend he has is in second place behind you.
Two pairs of pants and three shirts make a wardrobe
It’s true that some men’s wardrobes will rival their wives’, but for many it’s not a priority. This doesn’t make him a slob; it means his priorities are elsewhere. If nothing else, just come to an agreement that you won’t bug him about his lack of outfits and he won’t bug you about your excess pairs of shoes. As a bonus, maybe he’ll let you use the extra space on his side of the closet.
The speed limit sign isn’t a recommended minimum
If your husband’s need for speed and quest for adventure makes you fearful, explain to him that you love him and want to grow old together.
The bottom line is this: Everything your husband does that annoys you creates an opportunity for both of you to flex the muscle of diversity and strengthen your relationship in the process. Learning more about the interdependent nature of marriage will help you make yours stronger.