Why Do You Do That? And What’s with Him or Her?
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2003 12 Dec
When you find yourself acting in surprising ways or encounter baffling behavior in other people (especially the opposite sex), you might think the situation just doesn’t make sense. But in fact, there are good reasons why you act the way you do — and why your spouse, children, friends, and coworkers do what they do.
Here are some ways you can better understand and respond to the reasons behind men and women’s behavior:
- Know that God has given each person unique DNA. Different DNA accounts for different traits among different people.
- Recognize the differences between male and female brains. The structure and operation of a man’s brain is fundamentally different from that of a woman’s brain. Their brains make different connections so that their thinking is organized differently. Men tend to compartmentalize their lives because they think best about one issue at a time, while women blend various parts of their lives together because the two sides of their brain are better connected. Women generally have stronger verbal skills, and men usually have stronger spatial reasoning skills. Among other differences: women have better memories than men, men tend to be more aggressive, men express their love mostly through actions and women tend to express their love through words.
- Understand the physical differences between men and women. Men are generally more physically strong than women their own age — able to run faster and endure strenuous activity longer. That strength often motivates them to search for challenges and take risks. Men tend to make more dangerous choices than women, and are more prone to accidents and disease than women.
- Take the influence of family into account. Each family is a culture that helps define who its members are. Families are profoundly influential in shaping people’s roles, expectations, habits and ways of handling life’s stresses. Study your own family background and that of people around you for clues to how family molded each of you into the people you are today. Take dysfunctional family experiences to God and ask Him to heal you and others of their destructiveness. Know that God is your ultimate father and that your ultimate family is the spiritual body of Christ.
- Recognize uniquely male drives. Men are naturally competitive, wanting to win whenever and however they can. They have a natural confidence in their ability to find their way out of unfamiliar places (hence, their reluctance to ask for directions), a need for adventure and a desire for simplicity.
- Recognize uniquely female drives. Women want to know that their lives are significant … that they’re helping to make the world a better place. They are naturally compassionate and able to read other people’s emotions. They tend to want to control their lives and can struggle with surrendering control over to God.
- Don’t let PMS defeat you. Gain victory over the often puzzling effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) by understanding how it affects you or those you love and how to combat it. Eat at least every four hours; choose foods that your body processes slowly; avoid salt, caffeine, and alcohol; drink lots of water; use vitamin and herbal supplements; get regular exercise; consider medications; and seek support from friends.
- Embrace change instead of fighting it. Accept that the only constant in life is change. Whether the changes are physical (such as pregnancy for women or aging bodies for men) or circumstantial, know that God is bigger than any change you might face. Let the past stay in the past and focus on the future instead. Make a regular habit of praising God for His timeless, unchanging qualities. Choose to be joyful, and God will help make that a reality for you.
- Successfully navigate menopause (for women) and midlife crises (for men). Take care of your physical needs (such as good nutrition and adequate exercise and sleep). Ask yourself some key questions as you enter the second half of your life, including: “Have I made my mark on the world?” and “Do I have close, healthy relationships?” Invest time and energy into resolving the issues on your heart with God’s help. Discuss these issues with supportive friends, and pray about them together.
- Make deliberate choices that will help bring about a successful future. Know that, regardless of your DNA and the circumstances in your background, you can make choices that will help you achieve your full potential. Consider how the following areas influence your relationships: communication, parents, economics, society (geography, generational attitudes, social mores) family, friends, politics, the media, ethnicity, education, past trauma, and religion. Don’t use any unhealthy factors to make excuses in your life. Instead, ask God to help you start now to make healthy decisions in all these areas of your life, and watch Him bring about transformation.
Adapted from "Why Men and Women Act the Way They Do," © 2003 by Bill and Pam Farrel. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthouspublishers.com.
Bill and Pam Farrel are cofounders and co-directors of Masterful Living, an organization that provides practical insights for successful relationships through the Farrels’ magazine articles, radio and television interviews, and newspaper columns. Bill and Pam are also pastoral counselors and popular conference speakers, and their best-selling books include "Men are Like Waffles – Women Are Like Spaghetti."