Shoulder to Shoulder, or Face to Face

In his book Gender Matters, Dr Leonard Sax says that boys and girls have a fundamentally different approach to life's activities. He says that boys stand "shoulder to shoulder" and girls prefer "face to face." Boys build relationships around activities that they are focused upon (shoulder-to-shoulder looking at the activity together). Girls use activities as an excuse to talk to each other (face-to-face), and the talking and sharing is the basis of their relationships. Boys do not need or even want much talking -- it can be a distraction.

When we grow up and get married, those same inherent differences can really work against a close relationship if we misunderstand our partner. A wife can feel that her husband's lack of verbal skills (ignores her) means he does not love her. A husband can feel that his wife's constant talking (nagging) means that she does not love him. All-the-while both spouses may be trying to engender in their partner the very opposite feelings in the only way that they know how.

While gender differences can be a real hindrance to a marriage, they are also the very thing that make that special relationship the foundation of never-ending growth. Different perspectives, different emotional sensibilities, and different rational skills can be a valuable blessing to the partners who learn to work together in spite of their opposition.