It may sound like a politically incorrect detail to point out that men and women are different. But there is a lot we can gain as fully functioning families when we pay attention to what mom and dad don’t have in common. Celebrating the difference between men and women means that we’re not threatened by one another; that we value the unique ways we complement one another; and that we take those differences to the bank.But men and women bring a variety of diverse attributes to family life, and that is something to celebrate.
No one is about to argue against equality between the sexes. But men and women bring a variety of diverse attributes to family life, and that is something to celebrate. The mistake many of us make is in generalizing stereotypes rather than operating as a team and understanding how our differences can make us stronger.
In one family, Derek knows he’s no handyman so he leaves that to Rebekah. In another, it turns out Frank is more naturally nurturing than his wife, Barbie. In a third, Mom owns the kitchen and Dad rules the garage.
At the same time, brain science tells us women are neurologically equipped for multitasking while physiology observes men’s greater upper body strength. We know that boys are wired for action more than conversation and we understand that women have an advanced capacity for empathy. All this begs the question, “How can we celebrate what makes us unique in family relationships?”
1. Play like a team:
In team play, we depend on one another’s strengths. In a way, we also depend on the fact that we all approach things differently.”Why don’t you see things my way?” can – and should – change into, “What’s the view like from over there? Because I really need your perspective on this…”
2. Be a committed encourager:
When we lift one another up, when we encourage our spouse, when we value their unique contribution, then two things happen. First, they tend to reciprocate and, additionally, what they have to offer becomes even more valuable.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse for help:
In asking for help, we are recognizing the value of our spouse’s contribution, we are validating them as a person, and we are increasing the chance of a beneficial collaboration.
4. Take a hint from exceptional education:
In the old days, teachers would punish weakness and try to fix deviations from normal. More enlightened educators play on a child’s strengths, teaching them to utilize their gifts to compensate for their weaknesses. Rather than point out weakness in our spouse, we would do well to affirm and encourage their strengths. More solutions are found in encouragement than in criticism.
5. Don’t misunderstand the meaning of help:
In the Bible creation story, the first woman is described as a helper. Typically, guys see this as a secondary, subservient role. But we misunderstand the meaning of help. The same Hebrew word is often used to describe God’s work among people. Help means to add value to a task. When we celebrate differences, we’re adding value and improving the situation for everyone.
Huddle up with your wife and tell her about the qualities you see in her that make the family stronger.