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How Differences in the Thinking of Men & Women Affect Their Marriages

2012-08-06   Views:3

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John Gray wasn't kidding when he said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The ways that men and women think are so different from each other, we may as well be from different planets. While this is funny when you're in third grade and as

How Differences in the Thinking of Men & Women Affect Their Marriages

John Gray wasn't kidding when he said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. The ways that men and women think are so different from each other, we may as well be from different planets. While this is funny when you're in third grade and asking your friends for "cootie shots," when it comes to marriage, a difference in thinking can lead to major communication problems. Resolving these problems only happens by first understanding the way your spouse thinks.

The Way Women Think

According to Rabbi Aryeh Pamensky, founder of Happywife.com and relationship expert, women expect three things in a relationship: affection, attention and appreciation. Traditionally, women are the ones taking care of the house. In today's world, they are probably working outside of the home as well. With a difficult and stressful lifestyle like this, women like to be told they are doing a great job. No matter how many times they hear it, it's never enough, because the tasks are never-ending as well. Additionally, women crave love more than anything else and they express love by paying attention and verbally declaring their feelings. They expect this in return from the people whom they love and feel forgotten or neglected when they don't receive it. Women think when people pick up on their feelings, it means they are paying attention and care about them. If a woman needs to spell out what she wants, she often feels the other person doesn't care enough about her to figure it out. Relationship experts Mark Knapp and Anita Vangelisti explain that people generally invest a great deal of thought in interactions in the beginning of a relationship, making sure everything said is met with happiness by the other party. As the relationship develops, however, this usually tapers off somewhat.

The Way Men Think

Pamensky explains that a man's greatest need is to be respected. Men desire love, of course, but more than anything, a man wants to feel like the "head honcho" who is able to do and accomplish. Just like in ancient civilisations when going to war and conquering land was the epitome of manliness, a modern man needs to feel that he has "conquered" his world, which is expressed by respect from those around him. Men love to please their wives, but they are extremely straightforward about their needs and expect their wives to be the same way. "If she wants something, she should tell me," is a man's way of thinking. A man knows that when he wants something from his wife, he always makes it clear, so he doesn't expect differently from her.

How It Affects Marriage

The contrasting ways of thinking obviously set men and women up for a huge communication problem. Gray explains that women expect men to figure out what they want and feel unloved if the man doesn't, while men expect women to be clear and don't understand why they wouldn't be. This can lead to a woman feeling neglected, bitter, unappreciated, uncared for and a wide variety of other things, while a man can end up feeling lost, unsure what he did wrong, undeserving of criticism or a cold shoulder and confused. Knapp points out that both sides look to invest more in the relationship when the majority of the feelings and interactions are positive. On the other hand, both sides will pull away if the overwhelming emotions are negative.

What to Do

In order to maintain a healthy, happy relationship, men and women should try to cater to the other's way of thinking. A woman should assume that her husband wants to make her happy and just needs to be told how, so she should tell him directly what she wants. For example, if she thinks he doesn't appreciate her gourmet dinners, she should ask him for more positive feedback when he likes something. A man should try to go out of his way to figure out what his wife is thinking and/or feeling. Look for areas in which your wife works really hard and compliment them, such as working a full-time job or keeping the car clean. If you need to give constructive criticism, couch it between two compliments. Don't assume your wife will love to hear it just because you would.

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