I may as well plug a book I’m reading, even though I haven’t finished it. It’s not a Christian book, but it is a surprisingly wise book, and you’ve probably heard of it: Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, by John Gray. Of course, coming from a secular writer, there will be things you dismiss as you go. But despite that, I have learned quite a bit.
Doug and I have taught on the differences between men and women for years, but this book really takes it to another level. He pushes things into the corners, explaining in very practical and helpful ways how men and women think differently. And of course if we understand the differences, we can get along much better. As Christians, we have God’s Word and grace and Spirit to help us. So if we can learn some more common sense to boot, we have a tremendous advantage in understanding one another.
For example, I have taught that women have a greater need for communication than men do. So far, so good. But Gray explains that it is far more complicated than that. Women like to talk to relieve stress. Women find out what they think as they are talking. Though I would not have put it like that, I do think he is on to something. I often figure things out by talking. And I feel lots better after a long day if I can talk about it all. I think he is right.
Men, however, don’t have the same need to report on all the events of their day. They will if they have to, but there are other things they would prefer, like reading the paper or watching the news. That is how they relax after a hard day, but wives can misunderstand this, assuming that a husband should want to chat about the day the same way she does. Gray gives lots of suggestions on how to overcome potential misunderstandings.
Last night I read this quote and just burst out laughing at his insight: “What women don’t know about Martians is that they need to have a reason to talk. They don’t talk just for the sake of sharing.” (That gem is on page 107.)
Hooray! I get it now! When I read that quote to Doug he chuckled and confessed that many times when I was trying to start a conversation, he was rummaging like the dickens in his mind for a topic. What a saint!