The Difference Between Men and Women: Part 1, Thinking


When mankind fell in the Garden of Eden, more happened to our human nature than being ashamed of our nakedness. There was certainly a rift created between women and the serpent, but due to concupiscence, we are drawn to sin and tempted to do wrong. This is the stain of original sin we all bear. Part of concupiscence is the sad reality that women and men are no longer a unified team like God intended us to be. Think of the story of Adam and Eve. Adam runs and is ashamed of his naked body when he hears God coming. God questions him about eating of the fruit He told him not to. Adam blames his wife. Eve blames the serpent. No one wants to take responsibility for his or her own actions. The rift between the sexes starts here, in the Genesis story, and continues to today.

Men and women have a hard time communicating with one another. But our "problems" with communication start with the way we think.

The way men think
It was once explained to me that men think in "tracks." There is a food track, a women track, a money track, a work track, a family track, a sports track; anything in a man's life gets a track. A generalized man will think only on one track at a time. So, when it is time to eat, it is time to eat, not time to play sports. And, when it is time to go to the bank it is not time to think about clothing.

A very simplistic analogy perhaps, but it makes sense to me. This is particularity important for men. In order for men to survive, they needed to be able to forget the problems in one area of their lives in order to take good care of the other tracks. A train can go off one track, but there will always be another track for it to run on. This can make men seem cold, because they come across as detached in some areas. But, it is pretty smart engineering.

The way women think
Just as men think in tracks, women think in webs. The webs are intricate, and ordered in her mind. Each part of the web (money, relationships, food, family, work, sports) is interconnected and is attached directly or indirectly to another line of thought. So, women tend to find connections in all the areas of their lives. They will go to the bank but be thinking about the children; they will be playing baseball with the team but be thinking about what she'll need to do for school.

Have you ever noticed when a spider catches a fly in her web, the web gets tangled because of its sticky threads? This is similar to what happens when something affects one of the threads in a woman's life. If office politics are getting her down, everything else in her life will show it. Although this might seem to make her weaker than the man, she has, in fact, quite a problem-solving arsenal in that web. This is also very smart engineering. This allows women to come up with creative solutions, and to be involved and engaged in the world around them in ways that men, generally, are not.

The way people think
There are certainly some commonalities, however. The main one is that we think that everyone else thinks like we do, or should if they do not. Men think that women think like men, and are often befuddled to find out that they don't, thinking they are irrational. Women think that men think like women, and are often surprised and hurt to find out they don't, thinking that they are cold and uncaring. As a general rule, men are not cold and women are not irrational -- but why do these stereotypes continue? Because we have a hard time believing that the other person could possibly think in a different way.

Another is that, generally speaking, most people mean well. When we talk to our spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, we mean well. We want to communicate well with them, and we want them to be happy. The people we meet in the streets even, why, we are generally good and try to be to others. This "meaning well" when we communicate brings me to Part 2, Talking and Problem Solving.

But first, we need to take responsibility for the way in which we think, and understand that not everyone thinks in the same ways we do.

But, what can I really do to change the way I think?
You can't really. But, you can start off by understanding the way you think. Are you really mad about your husband not bringing the lawn mower into the garage? Or are you upset because you didn't get the promotion you wanted and taking it out on him? Are you sure you don't care about your wife's day or are you just really hungry? Sure, these are kind of silly examples, but the point is there. What is there about the way you see the world that can change? Can you try to put something aside? Can you try to pay attention to something you normally wouldn't?

When it comes down to it, most of us think that to change the problems in our lives the other person must change. However, we can't change anyone but ourselves. And, that's the only way to change the relationships in our lives.

[This series is an attempt to highlight the general differences between men and women. I hope that by highlighting these differences, I will be able to help people surmount the differences, and build better relationships in our personal lives and collaborations in the Church and in our professional lives. If you have anything to add, or think needs to be ammended, please feel free to comment.]


Melinda7834 said...

I think that is a brilliant observation about the difference in the way women and men think and I completely concur. Thanks for sharing!