Intriguing, right? I promise you won't regret reading this post in its entirety.
I've started a couples class at my place of employment, and I'm really looking forward to exploring lots of marriage/family concepts with clients eager to learn. I thought it'd be fun to give my readers a glimpse into my first group session. (This will be content only! No confidential info will be disclosed.)
After starting with introductions and group rules, I presented the following (although my hand-drawn versions were less than stellar):
Character Stereotypes series from CFOM to understand more.)
Basically, these two images represent the typical way men and women process their surroundings, their lives. Men are more compartmentalized. This is not to say simple or easy, but each aspect of their life goes into a a box. Men enter these boxes one at a time, size up a problem (if any), and seek to solve it immediately. Men are problem solvers by nature. They have work, children, wives/partners, dogs, hobbies, chores...all in separate "boxes."
Funny enough, according to the book I read where I got this metaphor (alas, wish I could claim it as my own, but Bill and Pam Farrel wrote the book by the same title; a Christian alternative to Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) said that men have boxes with no words, just images/memories. They also have boxes with no words and no images...just blank boxes. (Not making this up...straight from the book and confirmed by many men.) A man's mind will often stick close to the boxes that make them feel like successes, feel good about themselves. They tend to avoid the boxes that make them feel like failures.
Women, on the other hand, are very different. We process everything by it touching everything else. It's much more of a process. Everything is connected. While at work, we can think of home or shopping. We're more relational, and can tend to be much better at multi-tasking as a result of out ability to process this way. We will often catch guys in one of their "blank boxes" and ask them, "What are you thinking?" The blank stare we get is the truth!
Communication, as you can imagine, between the two is challenging. A woman will come home from work, and when asked about her day, she can say, "It went fine. I got an email from Susan....the cancer's back. Oh, we need to go to the grocery store and get shampoo and conditioner. Did you pick up David from practice? We should send a thank-you letter to the Johnsons for dinner last night, too."
The man, poor soul, is scrambling! Trying to enter the friend box, then the grocery box, then the children box....it's a mess. Often, if a man feels like the communication box with their significant other is too challenging, they avoid it. (Which is why many women are the pursuers in relationships while men are the retreaters.) You might hear a man saying, "What's the point of this conversation? Where is this going?" The woman is doing their thing, processing to the point (that we do have), taking our own path. The man would prefer the woman to say, "Can we talk [insert subject] now?" Then they enter the box and both people are on the same wavelength.
I LOVED the looks on the guys faces as the lights came on. They turned to their significant others and said, "YES! This is exactly how I feel!" The women were nodding their heads, too. It was eye-opening, this discussion in stereotypes. I love it.
Q4U: Guys, have you ever felt like you were scrambling to catch up? Women, ever feel like you're almost better off talking to yourselves? Does this ring true for anyone else but me?