Understanding some of the emotional differences with men and woman
You may wonder how you became so emotionally different from your mate. If we start at the beginning, God created all embryos to begin life “female” in nature with the fetus starting out very similar in all areas of the brain and body. The brain was created with two sides that have separate functions that work together with a massive intertwining of nerve fibers allowing both sides to function beautifully together. Approximately, the seventh week of pregnancy a strong dose of the hormone, testosterone, covers the male fetus to masculinize the body. This hormonal covering actually damages the brain and alters how it functions. (Men, this information is dangerous if left in the wrong hands!) The nerve fibers that connect the two sides of the brain become damaged, making the flow of information from one side to the other, less efficient.
Although testosterone can be blamed for men thinking longer about what he believes and the delay in a response when there is some emotional content to the issue, men still have the ability to think and feel. It just it takes longer for the message to transfer from one side of the brain to the other. (Men, this information could wipe out our “excuse” strategy.) In comparison, a woman maintains the original brain functioning and is able to more effectively utilize both sides of the brain and respond more quickly to feelings and information with feeling content.
Now ladies, don’t go telling everyone you finally found the secret why your husband is the way he is; there is more to the story. Testosterone may give some answers for the difference in responding, but you probably would say, “When he wants something (like sex), he doesn’t have a problem responding quickly.” (Actually, he may respond too quickly.) Although hormone change is a core reason why men and women relate differently to the world, the difference should not be used as an excuse for men to remain unemotional.
I remembered when a woman named Jennifer recalled how crushed she felt when a neighbor made an unkind comment about a recipe she had shared with her a week earlier. For several days, Jennifer was quiet and could not say anything nice about her neighbor. Jennifer’s husband, Brad, could not understand the problem. “It’s only a recipe; get over it,” he would say. Of course, Brad’s comments only stabbed Jennifer in the heart even more.
“Not only does my neighbor say nasty things, my husband doesn’t care about what I say either,” Jennifer said with tears in her eyes. She has always regretted telling Brad her feelings, knowing it would end up back in her face or become part of some joke later on.
The unemotional person (often the man) may make the comment to Jennifer, “It’s only a recipe; get over it” or “What is all the big fuss all about — you’re being sooo emotional!” The unemotional man has little space in his life for all the “whining” that does not make sense to him. Whether unemotional or not, men are wired to first understand how and why something happens before emotion becomes a part of the response. An unemotional man’s brain organizes, evaluates, and has more of a relationship with objects than humans. Unemotional men feel more in control with objects and especially enjoy that objects don’t talk back! Men must sort out the pieces by logically taking the situation apart, working it out, and putting it back together before he can understand the situation in his own way. The man uses a “fix-it” approach to just about everything as a way to move on with life. This is mostly due to the man’s logical mind needing to rationally understand how he fits in with situations and his natural ability to compartmentalize life. Once the man understands the issues, then and only then, can he move on to the emotional side of the issue.
For the unemotional person, emotions only get in the way of thinking rationally and making decisions. Having emotions creates a sense of being out of control for the logical person. Emotions represent vulnerability, weakness, and sometimes the fear that something bad may happen. The woman needs to help the man work through the situation by letting him dissect it, logically understand it, and fix it in his own mind. Then he will be better able to move closer to the emotional part.
The emotionally minded person (often the women) would comment to the rational man, “Why are you making such a fuss over that new truck? Why don’t you make a fuss over me?” Women don’t understand why a man has more emotion about the things in life than with people. This sends confusing messages, only building disappointment when the emotional mate does not get the love he or she expects. Similar to Jennifer’s reaction to her husband Brad, I often hear women with heartbreaking stories about their insensitive partner giving a deaf ear, insults, or joking remarks, after the woman expresses feelings. It becomes disappointing and hurtful to the emotional mate when feelings are not as important or accepted compared to other areas of the partner’s life. This scenario happens more in the emotionless relationship than people are willing to admit, believing they are destined to live that way.
Women deal with life first by relating emotionally and socially. This is why Jennifer’s heart was crushed when the neighbor made an unkind comment about the recipe she had shared a week earlier. Jennifer’s sharing of the recipe was a form of connecting, reaching out, and sharing part of her. However, if the recipe was rejected, Jennifer felt rejected. This is one of the biggest differences between men and women. The man interprets giving the recipe not as a relationship but simply as the giving of information. Jennifer interpreted the information as sharing part of her life. Once a woman talks or cries out what she feels, she becomes more logical. The man needs to help the woman work through the situation by letting her cry and talk out how she feels about the situation. Then she will be able to move closer to the logical part.
God actually knew what He was doing when he created man and woman to function very differently. The saying “opposites attract” is truer than you may give credit. Women were created with a greater ability to perceive what is happening around them (intuition) and the ability to accurately identify needs, desires, wants, and displeasures in order to increase control over the stresses of life. Men were created with a greater ability to be effectively practical and develop a sense of trust to build security and safety with those around them. Men tend to have a greater ability to logically relate with people and things, providing a great strength to initiate rational thinking to accurately understand the reasons why situations happen.
You need those opposites to function more effectively and efficiently together. For example, when there is a decision to be made, the emotional attributes of one partner and the logical attributes of the other should work together for a more balanced decision. You do not want to make a decision solely based on emotions and later regret the decision. For the same reason, you do not want to make a decision based solely on logic without considering the personal effects of that decision. The attributes of each partner should complement each other, creating a well-functioning union.
Seek professional counseling with a counselor that has experience dealing with the emotional differences of men and women. Get a copy of my book, When Your Mate Has Emotionally Checked Out for more details of what to do. You can go to my web site for more resources and my email to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or receive counseling if you are able to come to our clinic at Masterpeace Counseling in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Excerpt from the book:
When Your Mate Has Emotionally Checked Out, Craig A. Miller 2006©