We all know that men and women approach many things in a different manner. We handle stress differently, prioritize our time differently and often have a different handle on raising our children. Now a new article explains that men and women have different ways of working on a marriage. This can be important to understand when you and your spouse are trying to work through problems. You may be on the same page more than you believe.
The article, by James E. Sheridan, appears in the “Marriage Works” section of the website for the Fort Worth News-Sentinel and features input from several different experts on how men and women differ in the way they work on a marriage.
Author Mark Gungor explains that women tend to see the relationship of marriage as a dynamic, something that develops and grows. But ‘men don’t want to work on their marriages.’ Indeed, men see marriage as a “work-free zone,” and they like it the way it is.”
Any woman who has seen the look of resignation on her husband’s face when she mentions “working on the marriage” will understand that this is true. But while men don’t like the word “work” when applied to marriage, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t care.
Researchers Patricia Love and Steven Stosny explain that
Men see relationship and marriage more as a place to relax than a dynamic interaction. It’s a secure place to get their batteries recharged before the world takes another whack at them.”
It’s not that men don’t care about the marriage, but that they envision the marriage as a place of peace, apart from the chaos and stress of the outside world. Women, on the other hand, are more comfortable with the idea of a marriage as a work in progress or something that takes attention and effort.
As Gungor puts it, men see “work” as something you do to earn money. “Relationships don’t fit into a man’s definition of work.”
So how do you and your mate work together to improve your marriage despite these differences?
A woman should make a point of bringing issues to her husband’s attention without making them seem like huge projects with life or death consequences. Men should make a point of expressing their appreciation of the importance of those issues and voicing what steps they think should be taken, rather than clamming up or distancing themselves from the issues.
Men and women care equally about their marriages; they just approach them from different perspectives. If we can remember that when issues arise, we’ll have a much better chance at reaching solutions.