322 Stephenson Avenue, Ste B
Savannah, GA 31405
Women and men are clearly very different, but I don't think we're from other planets. In fact, people of all kinds, regardless of gender or race, are a lot more alike than different. Our emotions are derived from the need for love, for companionship and desire, for safety and independence. We're all motivated by success, no matter how differently defined. Loss makes us depressed, whether it be loss of love, loss of hope, or loss of trust. We all like to win. No one likes to lose. Whether or not we're in control, feeling things are within our grasp is generally desirable. We all can feel overburdened with the responsibility of caring, but we all need relationships (to a higher power even when not with others). One thing is absolutely definite on this matter. First and foremost, Men and women are Earthlings. Nevertheless, it also can't be denied that the roles we've played through time, and by design, make us different too.
We need only extrapolate from the obvious physical differences between the sexes to understand what the psychological differences might be. That is, women bear children and are more naturally soft to the touch while men develop strength and are more naturally rough and coarse. The roles the sexes have played throughout time have clearly been delineated along these lines. Because women bear children and because men are more likely to be bigger, stronger, and faster, each has been more likely to develop psychological characteristics suitable to the roles their biological differences determined for them. No one can know for sure whether these differences in psychological characteristics were innate from the very beginning. But there can be little doubt that gendered personality characteristics exist, and that they are either innate or have apparently become biological over time simply due to the force of nature's influence. Human beings develop tendencies over time that make them adapt to the necessities of their environment. Since women have spent more of their time watching over and nurturing their offspring, they developed psychological abilities and tendencies that helped them take care of the home-fire and nurture others. Since men have spent more of their time hunting for meat and protecting the family unit, they developed those psychological abilities and tendencies that helped them hunt for food and guard the family. These appear to be the greatest differences between the sexes.
That is, women are like nurture/nesters and men are like hunter/guardians. Although women are often fantastic at accomplishing tasks, and many women are much better at it than many men, there is a general tendency for most women to be best at those tasks that make use of nesting skills. For example, many times, but not all the time, women are especially skilled at accomplishing tasks because they include, as part of their approach to those tasks, the ability to nurture. Women are much more likely to make good use of encouragement and connection with others within a group setting than are men. Quite often it is also noticed that women will bring a superior multi-tasking ability to their work. That, too, likely derives from the necessity to do many things at once in the process of nesting, which includes child-rearing, making a suitable home, feeding, and preparing for the future. Nesting skills involve nurturance, connection, communication, and making people feel good and understood. Although women do often like independent activities, most activities in which they engage involve direct care for others, and most of their pleasurable activities involve others as well.
Men, on the other hand (and as stated above), are like hunters or guardians. They can be great at child-rearing and nurturing, and many men are much better at it than many women, but there is a general tendency for most men to be better at defining and completing clearly circumscribed tasks as would be necessary in hunting or guarding. Many times, but not all the time, men are especially good at accomplishing group tasks if it is important to specifically manage the role each participant must take. That is, men are more likely to be good at telling people what to do without mincing words or having second thoughts. In a group hunt, or when a group is to protect a community, the ability to see each persons' role in an instrumental way would be essential. It can also often be noticed that men are less likely to be distracted in their tasks by the aspects of those tasks that are outside their role. It seems quite likely that designing specific plans, and careful follow through on those plans, are skills that were developed in the process of hunting and guarding, which include protecting the family, providing a home and food, and providing for the future. Hunting skills include "bringing home the bacon," getting things done, meeting goals, and getting people motivated to move forward. Although men do get involved in group activities, it is generally the independence they express, either in groups or while alone, that defines their character, and many of the pleasurable activities in which most men engage do not necessitate the involvement of other people.
Even with all that said (and I hate to repeat myself, but due to the sensitivity of the issue it is likely necessary), it is so important to remember that we are much more alike than different. It is also extremely important to remember that in many individual men and/or individual women these gendered differences seem to be either completely or almost completely untrue. But these differences do hold true so often that defining them, and developing and understanding them, is essential in helping many couples. People, in general, believe too much that others are just like we are, which actually leads to misunderstandings. If we believe others know they should see something just as we do, and then they do something different, we are far too likely to believe they have purposely done something hurtful even if they truly had the best intentions. With that in mind, what follows are the primary ways that gendered differences are so commonly exhibited within relationships. Understanding these differences can lead to increased understanding where previously certain actions have been thought to be evidence of bad intentions. As will be seen, understanding these differences is often very helpful in developing communication between men and women in relationships.
Copyright 2010 Daniel A. Bochner, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Material provided on this web site is for educational and/or informational purposes only. This web site does not offer either online services or medical advice. No therapeutic relationship is established by use of this site.
322 Stephenson Avenue, Ste B
Savannah, GA 31405