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Are Men and Women Really That Different? Does That Explain the Craziness?

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When a wife complains, “I have nothing to wear,” she means she has nothing new to wear. When a husband complains, “I have nothing to wear,” he means he has nothing clean to wear. In this instance, both say the exact same thing. “I have nothing to wear.” However, both mean something different. Why?

Because this humorous point brings home a simple truth that we too often miss: men and women differ.

She filters her life through her priorities and felt needs as a woman and he filters his world through his priorities and felt needs as a man.

This isn’t rocket science but political correctness blinds us to reality. Political correctness declares that because we are equal therefore we are the same.

When we both believe that we are the same and then the other proves to be different, things can get crazy. We expect the other to be like us. “If only you were like me, we’d be happy.”

Subconsciously, we negatively react to the other as a way of motivating that person to see things as we see them, think the way we think, and feel the way we feel. When they don't, we begin to think that they really don't care and will only accept and appreciate us when we are like them.

Equal but Not the Same

However, the Christ follower declares that though we are equal in the eyes of God we are not the same. The XY and XX chromosomes scientifically prove the differences. For instance, women can only bring the egg and men can only bring the sperm. That difference alone proves we will never be the same.

Of course, many counter, “Agreed, we differ biologically but that is the only difference. Beyond biology we are the same.”

However, neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine writes in her book The Female Brain, “Out of the thirty thousand genes in the human genome, the less than one percent variation between the sexes is small. But that percentage difference influences every single cell in our bodies—from the nerves that register pleasure and pain to the neurons that transmit perception, thoughts, feelings, and emotions” (The Female Brain [New York: Broadway Books, 2006]).

Should we be surprised? This difference jumps way beyond biology to the emotions, feelings, thoughts, and perception.

In Love and Respect in the Family I write, "I have a friend who has a restaurant that caters to preschool and early elementary boys and girls. He created a Princess Room in one part of the facility. When the boys and girls enter the room, the girls fall all over themselves to put on the dresses, wear the crowns, walk in the heels, and wave the wands. They long to be that special and beloved princess. The boys, though, show no such interest in the Princess Room. But as the boys turn to leave, they see the plastic swords lined up on the entrance wall. Whoa! They pick up the swords and the fun begins” (page 166).

Again, should we be shocked by these variations between male and female?

What Did Jesus Say?

Jesus said in Matthew 19:4,"Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female…?"

Females look at the world through pink lenses and men through blue lenses, both of which color what each sees. She notices the baby. He notices the babe.

He hurts her feelings where he feels she should not feel hurt. She hurts his feelings where she feels he ought not to feel hurt. Both feel the other is too vulnerable in certain areas and ought not to deflate. In fact, both are stunned that the other holds them responsible for those hurt feelings.

He thinks when conflicts arise and both are highly upset that it is best to drop the issue for a while, and maybe drop it altogether. She, on the other hand, thinks the two of them should sit down and talk about what happened until both feel there is closure to the matter and a feeling of positive connectedness.

Neither are wrong, just different.

Pink is not wrong for the XX chromosome, just different.

Blue is not wrong for the XY chromosome, just different.

As Jesus said, God made them different, male and female, on purpose.

Pink and Blue Create Purple

Interestingly, when pink and blue become one flesh they become purple, the color of royalty—the color of God. Together a husband and wife reflect the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” When a husband and wife “become one flesh” (2:24), they reflect the image of God together as a unit. What a privilege to show the nature and character of God.

My Discovery: A Pink and Blue Verse to Help Avoid the Crazy Cycle

In Ephesians 5:33, God commands a husband to love and a wife to respect.

God commands the husband to agape-love his wife but does not command the wife to agape-love her husband. Instead, He commands the wife to put on respect toward her husband. Why?

When a wife feels unloved, she reacts in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband. God’s command guards her against getting too disrespectful. For example, when he brings home a diet book for her, she negatively reacts. At that moment, she feels his love is conditional based on her appearance. She quickly conveys her disgust with him for making such a purchase. She does not feel respect for him at that instance.

When a husband feels disrespected, he reacts in ways that feel unloving to his wife. God’s command in Ephesians 5:33 guards him against reacting too unlovingly. For example, when she brings home the third marriage book for the two of them to read, he negatively reacts. At that moment, he feels her respect is conditioned on him acting in the marriage based on the standard established in this book and the last chick-flick she watched. He ignores her request to read the book, and withdraws from her emotionally. Deflated, he feels he can never be good enough for her. He does not feel like being lovey-dovey with her.

A Crazy Cycle ensues. Without love she reacts without respect. With respect he reacts without love. This cycle spins and spins.

Are you experiencing the Crazy Cycle in your marriage? Is that happening because you have overlooked the male and female differences? Do you need to appreciate God's design of pink and blue?

Do you both need to grin when you hear the other say, "I have nothing to wear” because you understand what they mean as a male and female?

A Takeaway

As a husband, when things get crazy decode that your wife is not trying to be disrespectful but is probably reacting to something that happened earlier that felt unloving. As a wife, when things get insane decode that your husband is not trying to be unloving but is probably reacting to something that took place before that felt disrespectful to him.

I am not arguing that your spouse is always right for feeling this way, only that it is better to give them the benefit of the doubt. They need your loving and respectful demeanor as God reveals in Ephesians 5:33.

-Dr. E

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

  1. Have you been guilty of buying into the politically correct lie that tells you that since you and your spouse are equal, therefore you are the same?
  2. In what ways do your differences with your spouse reflect the nature and character of God, the one who created you with these differences?
  3. How has overlooking male and female differences helped lead to a ride on the Crazy Cycle in your marriage?