Reading. Writing. Simply being.
I read this book so I could understand the opposite sex a bit better and it did exactly what it said it would. It helped me “understand and delight” in the differences between men and women. Here are just a tiny portion of the cool things I learned:
On Communication: Women talk their way through stress and they talk to a variety of people including friends, family, coworkers, significant others, and God. It’s a web of connected strings (hence spaghetti) that she goes through to navigate through the problem. Men work much differently by retreating to a box or category (hence waffles) of his life that is non-stressful, the two most popular “boxes” being the sex box and the sleep box. This causes communication errors because women want to talk and men don’t want to listen, while men want to retreat and women can’t relax until their minds are divulged through conversation. The Farrel’s bring up an excellent point that many women easily forget when they are chatting it up (I can say this because I am a woman and have been on the other end of this listening to women).”We do not share with others what our spouse should hear first.” So the bottom line? Men, offer to listen to your wife when she’s experiencing something troubling and ask what you can do to help. Women, support your husband when he wants to spend time doing something that relaxes him. Don’t just support him, but suggest he do this for himself on a regular basis.
In regards to arguments, “A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.” And when arguments happen men go into problem-solving mode, which sounds great but sometimes the argument isn’t logical but rather emotional. Many times in these types of arguments women just need to be heard and in those times men should simply listen. Phrases like “What is the bottom line?” are not helpful in heated arguments. To avoid this, women would do themselves a favor by giving her man a heads-up that she just needs him to listen.
On Romance: It’s no shock that men and women romance in different ways. For women, flowers at work or doing the dishes after dinner can be romantic. For men, physical touch is the ticket. The authors admit that females use excuses to escape the physical touch component from time-to-time, “I don’t feel good,” or “I’m bloated.” But there are two excuses women can’t use given that “at the 1976 Olympics an American swimmer won three gold medals and broke a world record while at the height of her period. And so far as pregnancy is concerned, the Russians revealed after the 1964 Games that no fewer than ten of their twenty-six female champions were pregnant when they earned their medals!”
And, on the topic of romance, the Farrel’s use Philippians 2:3-5 as a foundation, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” And another verse, “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
On Money: In regards to money the book says this, “A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he wants. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item she doesn’t want.”
On Work: Aside from liking to vent to her friends, women also make decision based on the consensus. Women “consider the broad impact of [their] decisions, and [they] will want the decision to benefit as many of the important people in [their] lives as possible.” So, when my fiance asks me, “Why would you do that?” I now can say it’s just biological! This also explains why women don’t enjoy taking risks as much as men. “Men are faster on the draw” when making decisions as well. And in the business world, “men are people of the ladder, women are people of the circle.” In other words, men place priority on goals while women place priority on people and relationships. We all know the saying, “Don’t bring your work home.” This is much easier for men to do according to the Farrels. Men have work in one box and home in another box. They are not connected. But for women, everything is connected so her day at work will affect her home life and vice versa.
On Homelife: Lastly, because women have the ability to connect everything, they can also manage multiple tasks at one time better than men; however, this is also why sometimes forget to switch the clothes over, or we’ve lost our keys for the gazillionth time. And, the book says that women are drawn to work at home because this is where connections are formed for her, whereas men like “simplified focus” and can more often find this at work. And, “even when they have no children, working wives still tend to do the bulk of the shopping, washing and cleaning. When there are children it is found that a husband’s contribution to the running of the house actually declines with each child, while the housework done by his wife increases by 5 to 10 percent for each child. These statements are based on the observations of a team of social scientists working in twelve different countries, in Eastern and Western Europe and in North and South America, and they found surprisingly little variation between one part of the world and another.” This being said, men like for their homes to be a place for relaxation. The book compares men to batteries that need to be recharged.
On Parenting: Most households would say that children are typically closest with their mothers and need their mothers the most, but the book debunks this myth but only from their own observation. “We have noticed that kids whose dads have been actively involved and aggressively interested in their lives are more confident and much more likely to make healthy decisions.” But now for some science: “an experiment carried out on six-month old boys found that those who had most contact with their fathers were least disturbed when a stranger of either sex picked them up.” And, an American study “shows that the less frequently babies of both sexes are dressed and bathed by their fathers, the longer they cry when they are left alone with an adult they don’t know.” Parents of daughters remember that they must talk their way through their emotions, and if parents aren’t available to listen girls will go to someone who will such as a peer. Girls also feel more supported and safe when they have physical touch from parents (this can be a hand on the shoulder or a pat on the back. “Because your daughter will relate all that happens in life to the emotional state she was in at the time, you do her a great favor when you make physical affection a consistent part of her life.”