This is an excerpt from Marriage in The Nude: A Man’s Guide to Love and Grace, by Ritchie Miller. You can order it here.
When God created Eve, He took her from Adam’s side. The Hebrew word used to describe God’s creation of woman means, “to build carefully and skillfully or to fashion her.” God seemed to take a little more time and care in creating woman. God created Eve to be considerably more refined than Adam. Women cherish beauty and cleanliness. They communicate differently. They admire cute things. They are tougher on the inside than a man because they are more emotionally connected than a man. Although a wife's emotional makeup is entirely different from her husband's in most cases, it is equally important. In fact, it may be more important. Women are the emotional glue that holds the family together. They are more in touch with their emotions because they need to be. Wives bring beauty and romance into marriage. Moms provide a unique emotional expression to their children that is critical to their well-being. Women have a God-created skill set that men do not have. It is beautiful and necessary for a Jesus-centered marriage. Women are emotionally stronger, more intuitive, and softer on the outside than men. Thank God! It is a part of His design.
As a pastor, I have observed that these differences are a part of what makes marriage a beautiful mystery. They bring delight and joy. However, these differences in emotional expression, communication, and instinct can also be a source of marital conflict. Many marital conflicts stem from not understanding these differences. Only when Jesus is at the center of your marriage can you navigate these differences and live in joyous union the way God intended.
By trusting God’s design for us, we can celebrate the differences between husband and wife and embrace them as a part of the blissful, yet mysterious union. The Apostle Peter admonished husbands and wives to live together “in an understanding way.” Learning the subtle differences between the ways men and women communicate will go a long way in helping your communication with each other. Females tend to use many more words in a day than men. Males tend to use fewer words. Women have an innate desire for intimate communication. They love details! Men, on the other hand, tend to think that their actions speak for them, and usually require fewer intimate details.
I learned this early in our marriage. Kim is a naturally outgoing person. She loves to meet people, and she quickly empathizes with them. She meets total strangers and quickly discovers details about their family, children, where they are from, and things I don’t even know about some of my friends! I once played basketball with a group of men for about two years. One day Kim asked me about some of them, and I realized that I did not even know some of their last names, much less any personal details about their families. I knew their first names and what they did for a living. I knew who had a good jump shot and who played the best defense, but that was about it. It blew her mind that I never had any deep conversations with any of them. I think that illustrates the difference between the way men and women communicate. She has had to learn to understand the way I communicate. She has learned to be patient with me and has extended a lot of grace to me. She understands that just because I tend not to be detailed, does not mean that I don’t care. I have had to learn to pay more attention and grow in communication skills. Engaging in deeper and longer conversations ministers to her needs in a Christ-like manner. She naturally craves conversation, and I have been mandated by God to understand her and love her as Jesus loves the church. We have both learned to know each other better, and as a result, our marriage is stronger. We are learning to celebrate our differences.