I consistently hear this phrase while working with couples, “Sometimes I just don’t understand him/her!” or “Why can’t he/she see it my way or understand how I feel?”
Understanding the differences of how God made men and women is critical to an intimate and happy marriage.
Scripture is full of truth concerning marriage and how it is designed to be: close, intimate, fulfilling and mutually pleasurable.
Listen to these intimate words from Song of Songs 7:1-10 exchanged between two lovers in Scripture: “How beautiful you are O prince’s daughter how fair and pleasant you are, O love, with your many delights.” She replies: “I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me.”
The physical differences between men and women are obvious. But there are also significant differences in the way men and women think, emote and relate. We are called to understand these differences and work within them to build intimacy and closeness in marriage.
Let me start with women. Here is a list of characteristics generally true of most females: the need for security, safety and having emotional needs attended to; less of a risk-taker; multi-tasks easily and uses both sides of the brain; intuitive; gains identity through relationships and connects through conversation; protective and nurturing; and freer with emotions.
Concerning female sexuality, the following is generally true for women: they look for emotionally connected soulmates; are more vulnerable to distractions; tend to take more time to warm-up; and emotional closeness to their husbands is the pre-requisite for sexual activity. All of this is neither bad nor good, it just is.
Men, listen up. You need to understand these things about your wife. Talk to her to see if this is true for her.
Men, work on your marriage skillfully by understanding her. Husbands, I suggest you do the following:
First, understand fatigue and distractions can rob her of intimacy with you. You can care and provide for her by helping her more and removing distractions.
Second, you can give her your undivided attention, verbal compliments and seek to connect with her emotionally. This is best done by listening to her during regular, frequent conversations.
Next, you can take leadership by “sweeping her off her feet” — by arranging for child care, planning an evening out and following that by a night of romance that is pleasing to all of her senses.
Finally, you can invite her to coach you on what she would like from you emotionally, socially and sexually.
Now let’s look at how God has wired men.
Generally speaking, most men fit the following description: they need a sense of significance, achievement and admiration from their mate; identify themselves with what they do; take risks more easily; are one-tracked and focused on the task of the moment; value strength and competence; and are less driven by feelings and tend to be more left-brained and analytical.
Concerning male sexuality, the following is typically true: men are consistently driven by a hormonal build-up they cannot control; are visually focused; can warm-up in a second; and tend to be more predictable in what arouses them. For a man, sexual activity with his wife is often the pre-requisite for emotional closeness and vulnerability in the relationship. All of this is neither bad nor good, it just is.
Women, listen up. You need to understand these things about your husband. Talk to him about these aspects and see if they are true for him.
Women, work on your marriage by skillfully understanding these things.
Here are some things wives can do to breathe life into their marriage. First, be intentional with your husband and do not assume he can read your mind or notice how you feel. Initiate a night of romance periodically.
Second, do not allow a poor body image to rob you and your husband of intimacy. Think of yourself as “soul-sexy” and allow your femininity to come out.
Next, enjoy romance and moments of love. Your husband loves it when you abandon yourself to him. Next, give him plenty of praise and adoration. Tell him when he does a good job and sandwich criticism between praises.
Finally, create a sense of adventure and variety in your relationship.
When we seek to understand our differences and work within them for the benefit of our spouse, then warm, romantic feelings can return. All too often, we tend to think we are right and the other is wrong. Not so. Delight in your mate and appreciate his or her differences.
Remember, opposites attract.
When a man understands and serves his wife, and when a wife understands and serves her husband, something very beautiful happens — renewed intimacy, emotional warmth and ever-increasing closeness. God intends marriage to be very good and this can be yours as you learn to understand your mate.
I encourage you to purchase a copy of Dr. Douglas Rosenau’s book, A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy. Better yet, take advantage of the free services provided by the Chaplain Family Life Center, located in Soldiers’ Plaza. Give us a call at 706-545-1760.