Sunday, February 5, 2012

men and women

so it seems to me like this is a topic we could talk about til we're blue in the face (a fine expression, if i do say so)..
there is so much to say, so much to learn, and ALWAYS room to grow... in our relationships that is...
so let's start with a few basic points...

1. men and women are DIFFERENT. we look different, we are biologically different, we act different, we talk different, we have different needs, and WE THINK DIFFERENTLY. that's a lot of different...
(although i have yet to read it myself, i have heard that 'men are from mars, women are from venus' is an awesome book and a must-read, hopefully will get to it one day...)
*btw i am about to make lots of generalizations. there are always exceptions, but i find these generalizations generally hold true enough to be useful, so let's continue...

A man's greatest need is to be RESPECTED and a woman's greatest need is to be LOVED.

Remember this, and you will go far.

How does this principle manifest itself? First of all, let me just clarify that men and women both need both love AND respect, we are simply talking about who needs which more. In fact, I think it could also be that respect makes a man feel loved, and love makes a woman feel respected... but for now let's look at each for it's own sake...

Let's illustrate respect for a man... (oh and by the way, i generally talk about relationships in terms of husband and wife because i am assuming that level of commitment exists within the relationship, although these principles can be applied to dating as well)

Your husband comes home from work feeling deflated because his boss called him irresponsible for not handing in his report on time. 

wrong approach:
"well what do you expect? you really are irresponsible, you never follow through with what you say you'll do."

right approach:
"wow that must have been so upsetting. it shows he really doesn't know you very well. you're always running to take care of your responsibilities at home, whether it's taking out the garbage or walking the dog... how do you feel about what happened today?"

*note: it doesn't matter if you actually think he's irresponsible yourself!!! by putting him down (especially in a situation like this where he's already feeling low), not only will you not help him to become more responsible, but you will also drive a wedge between you... rather, in the 'right approach', the wife sympathizes with her husband, finds an example of some part of his life where he does show that positive trait (responsibility in this case), and finally allows him the chance to talk about how he feels (when he might say how it was upsetting, but unfortunately his boss was right and he does want to work harder to get his act together).... therefore there is potential for him to grow, and most importantly, the husband and wife are actually drawn closer together by this RESPECTFUL communication...

Illustration of love for a woman...

A wife has worked hard to prepare a beautiful dinner for her husband and is anticipating a romantic evening together...

Wrong approach:
The husband comes home, sees the food, quickly sits down at the table, eats as much as he can as fast as he can, says 'thanks honey that was awesome', gets up from the table and goes to watch tv...

Right approach:
The husband comes home, sees the food, says "wow you must have worked so hard, this looks great"...[appreciation]  sits down at the table, waits for her, LOOKS INTO HER EYES, asks her how her day was, and really wants to hear and know the answer [attention]... as he eats the food he tells her "the fish is great, i love the way you seasoned it"[compliments, and even better, a specific compliment- this feels more genuine and is more meaningful]. then as she tells him about her day, he does 'active listening'.... this is basically where you show signs to the other person that you have heard what they said, and usually is as simple as repeating back to them what it was...

wife:"i had such a hard day"
husband: "you had a really hard day"
wife: "yeah i was a few minutes late for work and i had trouble catching up and then I missed my break and then I came home and the kids were acting up and it was just really hard"
husband: "you had so much on your plate. work was challenging, you didn't even have a break, and then the kids were giving you a hard time... that is so tough"

*note: the husband did not offer any suggestions, advice, or judgements, he simply repeated back to her (in her words or his own) what she said, and the result is a woman who feels loved! to feel heard is to feel known, which in turn is a feeling of being loved..

the Jewish sages say that 10 parts of speech came into the world, and the women got 9 and the men only 1! and this is not meant to be derogatory, but rather factual... women really and seriously have a need to talk about how they feel, and they generally (almost always) do not need solutions to their problems! they just need to know you heard them! so simple! any guys reading this, if you can master the whole active listening business, you will seriously be set for life...

and ladies, just as important as it is for us to know what we need, it's important for us to know that men simply don't share this deep need to talk about their feelings and feel understood... their #1 need is to keep their EGO in tact!!!! (and this comes through respect)... yes that's right, a man has a strong ego, and this is good and important... (too much is a separate problem, but not enough ego can be just as harmful)... so allow a man to keep his pride, and don't assume that he wants to talk about how he feels, chances are he doesn't! (shocking, i know... i'm still trying to swallow that one...)

and you know, it's funny, but the more a man puts himself in a place where you find it hard to respect him, the more he will need your respect to bring himself back up... so let's all be smart and think about OUR GOALS when we are communicating/living/interacting with our significant other, and hopefully what comes out of our mouth and the actions we take will be purposeful and productive.

so remember,
man- wants/needs respect
woman- wants/needs love

ok love to everyone reading this, hope this is helpful!!! btw if we're gonna do a whole advice column thing here too, i am very happy for anyone to send me relationships (or other) questions and if i have anything worthwhile to share, i would be very happy to do so!!

love from jerusalem...

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