Let’s talk about those annoying, gender-specific traits your spouse has:
When Differences are Tricky
You tell your husband about a problem you’re experiencing and he tells you how you can “fix it.” You didn’t want him to fix it. You wanted him to listen.
Your wife always has to give you the full description of everything. Why can’t she just give you the bottom line?
You’ve been telling the kids they need to work together, and your husband comes home and turns their game into a major competition.
When Differences Make Us Stronger
It turns out God knew what He was doing when he ordained that a mother and a father—each with their own complimentary, unique, and valuable perspectives—raise a child. Glenn T. Stanton in “Why Children Need a Male and Female Parent” (published by Cornerstone Family Council) points out that fathers and mothers play with their children differently. Fathers encourage competition; mothers encourage equity. Dad’s play breeds independence, but Mom’s play breeds security. They both lead to security and confidence, but different kinds of security and confidence.
Most dads’ communication styles are more direct and to the point while, overall, moms are more descriptive, personal, and verbally encouraging. While they are different, both communication styles are good and needed.
Moms and dads prepare their children for life differently. While dads tend to see their children in relation to the rest of the world, moms tend to see the rest of the world in relation to their child. I remember getting my first speeding ticket. Mom took up my cause. Dad asked if I deserved it.
While you probably find the gender differences you have with your spouse irritating at times, they serve a purpose. I tried to be a good mom to our three daughters—I really did. But many times, I would second-guess myself.
“Maybe I wasn’t clear enough.”
“Maybe I gave her sister more leeway on a similar issue.”
“If I don’t show leniency, will I put a permanent dent in our relationship?”
Bob had no such problem. “These were the rules. Why didn’t you follow them?” It was much easier for him to be cut and dried and often, that’s what was needed. Was my compassion also needed? Of course. It was the balance that gave a better outcome.
When all three of our girls were teenagers, it seemed no matter what went wrong, it was my fault. They did grow out of this stage, but at the time, it wore me out. Bob decided that for one week, everything would be his fault. Ridiculous? Yes. But it was one of my favorite weeks in my entire life. Every time one of the girls came to me to complain about something, Bob would interject, “Come here and tell me because this week it’s my fault.”
Why could Bob do this so easily? Because he is by nature more objective. His decisions about right and wrong don’t get entangled in the relationship the way mine do. While I’m not going to say these traits don’t have exceptions, it is more likely than not that you and your spouse react similarly. John Stonestreet of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview says that a child doesn’t need two parents. A child needs a mother and a father.
When your spouse’s gender differences irritate you, remember that God created those differences for a purpose and see how you can embrace them.