complementary differences

Different responses and different needs between gender

The circuitboard of the male brain is programmed for action rather than people. It ignores megabytes of personal information, such as the delicate visual cues to which women respond so much more readily in conversation. Men have to ask, for instance, “Am I boring you?” Women know.

Men find things, rather than people, are easier to deal with. The man cannot understand why the woman spends so much time agonising over a relationship any more than she can comprehend why he spends so much time tinkering with the car.

Men simply need more “space” in every sense. It is no coincidence that the favourite male pastime – fishing – involves solitude, space, and the freedom from any human intercourse. Women, then, see, hear, and feel more, and what they see, hear and feel means more to them.

Women choose and stress exaggeratedly – “If the kitten’s been sick, I will simply die,” or “There is nothing worse than a clumsy hair-dresser.”

This can annoy the man: “No, you won’t die, it will be merely rather annoying, “and “Yes, starvation in Ethiopia is worse than a clumsy hair-do.”

Women, in turn, see these male responses as an infuriating and sarcastic “put-down”. They are, in fact, a clumsy reaction to the gulf of perception and communication that divides them.

Why doesn’t she get things “into proportion”? Because her sense of proportion is different from his. His is literal, objective; hers is approximate, subjective.

But how does that square with that particularly male irrationality, his quickness to wrath? Anger is a function of high testosterone levels. Just as the man is more easily roused to lust, he is more easily roused to frustration and anger. And just like passion, that anger is soon, explosively, spent.

Marriages work, against all the odds, not because women are submissive, and accommodate their domineering males; marriages work because women’s natural social skills – it is been called “social intelligence” – enable them to manage a relationship so much better than man.

Women can predict and understand human behaviour better than man, can sense the motives behind speech and behaviour; so if he is the engine of the ship, she is a rudder. She is also the navigator, because she alone has the chart and knows where the rocks  are. If women are worried about their status in relationship, or indeed in life, they could recognise, and build upon, those skills specific to their sex.

Marriages go wrong when men and women fail to acknowledge, or begin to resent, each other’s complementary differences.

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