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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Women Want to Help; Men Want to Protect

One final female and male difference. Women want to help; men want to protect.

Look at these two verbal exchanges. 

She: "What time do you want to leave for the church social?"
He: "Don't worry, you have time to cook the casserole."

He: "How many people are coming for dinner tonight?"
She: "You have to be ready to barbecue at 6:30."


If you've had an interaction with your spouse like that, you most likely got frustrated thinking, "Why didn't he (or she) answer my question?"

In the first example about the church social, the husband is giving his answer because he wants to protect his wife from worrying.  The problem is the wife may take his answer as meaning he's withholding information and trying to be the one in control.

Although the second example is similar to the first in addressing the question, the motivation is different. The wife wants to be helpful by answering what she thinks her husband is really wondering about. She believes she is anticipating her husband's desires and concerns. 

Here's an example from Larry and my marriage. This is from Larry:

Some time ago, I was still coughing from a bad cold after two months. When I returned home from the doctor, I mentioned to Kathy the doctor had given me medicine for my chest pains.

"What chest pains?" Kathy exclaimed, concerned and frightened.

I had purposely withheld details of my chest pains from Kathy to protect her. I sheepishly replied, "I didn't want to frighten you, so I didn't tell you. For the last week, I've been experiencing chest pains."

"You didn't want to frighten me?" Kathy's voice raised. "I thought you understood that not telling me what's going on weakens my trust in you."

Kathy didn't say it, but she would have liked to "mother" me: be concerned about the problem and make me feel cared for. She wanted to be helpful. It was exactly what I wanted to avoid. I wanted to "protect" Kathy from worry and concern. Now I realize I subconsciously wanted to maintain control. (As it turned out, my chest muscles were strained from coughing.)

When I put myself in Kathy's shoes and imagined her making the same choice I had, I felt uncomfortable. I wouldn't want Kathy to leave me out of the "information loop." I had inadvertently hurt Kathy by trying to protect her. Trust and honesty are inseparable. You can't have one without the other.

Trust and honesty are inseparable. You can't have one without the other. Tweet that!

From Kathy:
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the female and male differences in my last several posts. (But remember we're talking about generalities!) When we see that the differences are actually created by God for His purposes to have "every base covered," we can appreciate the differences. As we share our perspective with each other, we make a completed whole. 

(Graphic by Salvatore Vuono found at www.freedigitalphotos.net)



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