Is It a Stereotype or a Pink and Blue Difference That God Gave Your Spouse?

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Some folks resist anything that seems to reinforce a stereotype. Their initial response to stereotypes is usually to defend individualism and claim that such generalities do not define or explain their situations.

How do you feel about stereotypes when it comes to explaining differences between you and your spouse? What if I said that many women see life through pink sunglasses and many men see life through blue sunglasses and these views color what each sees, especially in conflict? Similarly, she wears pink hearing aids and he wears blue hearing aids and each “hears” something different during heated moments in marriage.

While you may initially resist these “stereotypes” of how men and women understand and interpret the exact same things through different perspectives, extensive studies have proven it to be true.

For example, research points out that 85 percent of those who stonewall and withdraw when in conflict with their spouse is the male. So withdrawing from the conflict is not merely a male stereotype but rather a “blue” way of responding when in conflict with his wife.

Even more, there is actual good-intentioned purpose behind this “blue” response to conflict; it is not just a hurtful stereotype that does nothing but drive a wedge between his wife and him. While it is natural for most wives to feel unloved and even disrespected at such moments of withdrawal, could some men do this to de-escalate the conflict, doing so because they are honorable men who care about protecting the friendship? Is this method not something they have seen their husbands do with their best buddies so as to not hurt their relationship?

I do not bring up this example to justify his withdrawal. Rather, I simply want to point out that what you may chalk up to be a silly male stereotype is actually him trying to do the honorable thing.

What if at a moment when tempers flare and the husband starts to pull away emotionally, even shutting down, a wife said, “I know you aren’t trying to be unloving by withdrawing but are actually trying to do the honorable thing. But after you collect your thoughts, would you honor me by re-engaging for fifteen minutes so I can better address the issue? I need you to help me bring some closure to this matter. Thank you"?

How could understanding pink and blue perspectives help your marriage?

In what ways have you attempted to nullify a male or female stereotype in your spouse and instead expected them to respond exactly as you do in a situation?

What other male and female stereotypes do we tend to resist but may actually be God-designed differences that can complement each other for the health of the relationship?

-Dr. E