Great minds don’t necessarily think alike.
One of the best books ever written about the differences in men and women—and one of my personal favorites—is Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences by Bill and Pam Farrel. They explain how a man’s mind is divided into sections or boxes, just like a waffle. According to the Farrels:
The typical man lives in one box at a time and one box only. When a man is at work, he is at work. When he is in the garage tinkering around, he is in the garage tinkering. When he is watching TV, he is simply watching TV. That is why he looks as though he is in a trance and can ignore everything else going on around him.
They go on to describe how the section in the middle is the “sex box.” A man can have one foot in the sex box at all times, while the other foot moves around and settles in only one other box at a time. This is why it’s hard for men to multitask. It’s also the reason they have a hard time following a woman’s conversation as she flits from one subject to another.
The reason for the confusion is simple. A woman’s mind resembles a plate of spaghetti. Just as each piece of pasta touches or intertwines with the others, so do a woman’s thoughts. Because of this, she can jump from one subject to an entirely unrelated one and back, with five rabbit trails in between, and never miss a beat. Men have a hard time keeping up. To women, it’s normal. It’s the way we’re wired. This is why we’re such good multitaskers. As the Farrels put it:
If you attempted to follow one noodle around the plate, you would intersect a lot of other noodles, and you might even switch to another noodle seamlessly. That is how women face life. Every thought and issue is connected to every other thought and issue in some way. Life is much more of a process for women than it is for men.
Oh so true. If you haven’t read the book, I’m sure you’re laughing and agreeing with the authors. The analogy paints a clear picture of our differences, but the Farrels also elaborate on the problems that can result:
This often creates significant stress for couples because while she is making all the connections, he is frantically jumping boxes trying to keep up with the conversation. The man’s eyes are rolling back in his head while a tidal wave of information is swallowing him up. When she is done, she feels better and he is overwhelmed.
Because men and women are hard-wired so differently, it’s almost impossible to change. Some traits are woven into our DNA because God created us with a specific plan and purpose. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG).
We all see through a different lens. Many times, we hear what we want to hear, and we don’t deal with people and situations in the same way. This is good. If men and women were the same, we’d miss all the excitement, mystery, and passion God intends. It’s important to remember that different doesn’t mean wrong. Each of us has a way of approaching life that works best for us as individuals.
Learn to recognize, appreciate, and embrace the differences, especially in your spouse.**
** Excerpt taken from Marriage: Make It or Break It by Andrea Merrell published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Used by permission.
Featured Image by Guilherme Cunha