God Created Them Male and Female…and Really, Really, Different!
Study Guide, February 9, 2020
Pastor Clay Olsen
Since we are enjoying a special Sunday where the guys get to honor the ladies we thought it would be enlightening and inspiring and just plain amazing to think about some of the ways that God made males and females really, really, really…yes, really different. Both Biblical revelation and just everyday reality bears this out pretty clearly. Even the Apostle Peter instructs married men to make it their continual pursuit to seek to understand their wives. 1 Peter 3:7- “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way…” NASU Certainly, the context is a caution to not take advantage of the wife and to honor and serve the wife as a fellow heir of the grace of God. But this ‘understanding way’ is a key to the fact that there are real differences. Even children pick up on these differences early on.
Some time ago Dr. Dobson received some feedback from girls and boys who each said that girls were ‘more better’ than boys and that boys were ‘more better’ than girls. That’s how they put it: ‘more better’. Here’s a few of the reasons the girls gave that girls were more better than boys. [Girls chew with their mouths closed. Girls have better hand-writing. Girls don’t smell as bad. Girls don’t eat as much. Girls put deodorant on more often. And Girls have more manners.] Well, then the boys said they were more better than girls because…[Boys are proud of their odor. Boys aren’t afraid of reptiles. Boys don’t take two million years to get ready. Boys don’t wake up with bad hair. Boys can climb trees better. And…Boys learn to make funny noises with their arms faster.] That seems to be very important to boys.
But the evidence is clear that even from a young age these differences are very pronounced. And one of many benefits of seeking to be Biblically correct instead of some other imagined idea of correctness is that it frees you to discover and to celebrate the many ways that God created men and women with many and marvelous differences. And we can also then understand that these intentional differences were designed by God in order to promote our need to learn from one another and to assist one another as we serve God together.
So instead of being frustrated by these differences, we are to draw on these differences, like drawing water from a well, in order to build up one another and to then communicate to the world the wonder of our Creator, and to also then work together to communicate to our world the message of our Redeemer. But all of this requires seeking to better understand and to serve one another.
For example: So, how many languages do you speak? Some speak one or even more languages than English. Some might just think they only speak one, English. However, each one of us speaks more than one language, or English. For if you are a man, you speak both English and Manglish. And if you are a woman, you speak both English and Womanglish. And so the challenge for men and women is that in order to better understand and relate to one another, you will have to learn, and continue to learn each other’s language.
In fact, you may have already noticed that, in general, there’s even a difference in the amount of language. Studies have shown that men speak an average of 9,000 words a day, and women speak an average of 16,000 words a day. Thus, comes the old joke about when the work day is over and men have used up most of their words, women still have 7,000 to go. That’s a joke of course…of course it is. But think about it, men tend to speak in short phrases with few details, whereas women enjoy giving story-like details. Men like to have the ‘bottom line’ result of whatever the subject is. They are more ‘report’ inclined, or results driven. Whereas women want and need to include details in conversation before any ‘bottom line’ is reached, as they are more ‘rapport’ oriented…or more relationally driven. For example: When a woman asks her husband how his day went, since he is ‘report driven’ he gets to the bottom line and says, “Fine”. But since she is ‘rapport driven’, she’s not just looking for ‘bottom line’ information, but for some details in order to bond together in their conversation. So while the husband is content with just being together and doing activities together, the wife also desires to converse together while they are together and hopes to talk about whatever it is that they are doing.
And in just understanding this simple example about each other helps us to also better understand the Biblical counsel for husbands and wives to seek to better understand each other, and to take steps in serving one another, and to work at even this very practical art of communication. And so you see, when a husband understands that communicating with his wife is as much about building the relationship as it is about just sharing information, then he can understand why he should commit to serving her needs by communicating more than what just comes naturally for him. And when a wife understands that being together and doing things together really is like communication and bonding to a man, then she can understand why she should commit to serving his needs by realizing that even in his unspoken deeds he really is speaking affections to her. To men, deeds are words. To women, deeds also need words. But either way, since each are trying to serve and meet the needs of one another, this means that each has to do, not just what comes naturally to them…rather, they are to seek to do what doesn’t come naturally to them, but whatever they can do by faith to better meet the needs of one another.
I was thinking of an example of how after a husband and wife watch an old cowboy show. And afterwards the wife says, “They hardly said anything in this film.” But to the husband, with all the action and even the nonverbal looks going on, he was hearing all kinds of communication happening. Why, He even understood what the horses were saying to each other just by how they acted. But then a husband watches a show about relationships with his wife, and afterwards says, “There was hardly any action in this film.” But to the wife, with all the spoken words in all the various scenes and different settings, she saw all kinds of action happening. Actions are words to men…but to women, actions also need words.
So make it your mission to learn all you can about these marvelous differences in order to better understand how to better serve one another. Note this: Studies have shown that even men and women’s brains are different. Men generally have a thicker skull. Now watch out here! Be careful what you do with that information Ladies! Then, men also have thicker skin. And guys, watch out what you do with that information, too! And men have heavier blood…20 percent more red blood cells, which explains why women are more prone to fainting. Women’s hearts beat more rapidly than men’s, but blood pressure is generally lower.
Now then, let’s go back to the brain. Men tend to think ‘compartmentally, while women think more ‘globally’. Meaning, men tend to compartmentalize their thinking. They can sort of ‘zone out’ of one area and go into the next area. Part of this is due to what has been discovered in researching the development of the brain in a baby boy. Note this: “… about the eighth week a male brain is washed by a huge surge of hormones. It is then transformed radically and even takes on a different color. This male hormone eliminates some of the communication cells, including a portion of the bundle of nerves called the ‘corpus callosum’. This ‘corpus callosum’ is a rope of fibers that connects the right hemisphere, where emotion is processed, with the left, where language is focused. Although the corpus callosum survives this hormonal bath, the male brain will never be able to “cross talk” as effectively thereafter, which has major implications for future masculine behavior. This hormone also causes an increase in the volume of neurons and circuits located in the boy’s aggression centers. A male has up to twenty times more testosterone than a female, which is why his play often involves running, jumping, roughhousing, grabbing hair, making loud noises, and playing with trucks and tanks and such.2
That explains a lot right there. The result is that, for the girls, both sides of their brains work in stereo with each other, working in concert together, while for the guys, their brains now function more like in mono mode, as on working on one side at a time…not completely, of course, but more so than in a woman’s brain. And just that research reveals why men do tend to think more in terms of ‘one thing at a time’. It’s been compared to a house, where to a man, his house is broken up into rooms, and he can fully be in one room at a time. Whereas to a woman, her house is more like one big room, and so she is in every part of it at the same time. Now, there are advantages and disadvantages to each, of course, but it also explains why women are so adept at multi-tasking, while that’s more difficult for men. But it also explains why it’s easier for men to deal with one task at a time…not thinking about the others. If they would say to a woman, “Well, just don’t think about it” like how they can just flip the off-switch on that subject, the woman would be confused as in, “How can you not think about it? And I don’t see an off-switch anywhere.” Some women have explained that by saying that sometimes in their thinking they even interrupt themselves.
Let’s give one other example of these differences of which we can act upon right away. Included in Paul’s counsel for husbands and wives in being subject to one another and serving each other, he points out a very different basic need of one another. And the amazing thing about this is that this basic need for the woman is different from that of the man. Take a look: Eph 5:33- “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” NASU So there are two commands here, but they are different. The husband is commanded to love his wife, but the wife is commanded to respect her husband. And one important thing to understand here is that this kind of respect referred to here is not what is commonly thought of as, ‘respect is something that you earn.’ Although respect should be something we should be focused on earning, still, the Greek word for ‘respect’ here is related to that of ‘showing honor’. It’s not about waiting until a person rightfully earns it, but it is showing honor to another because that is the right thing to do. It’s like when you show love to another that either has or hasn’t rightfully caused you to feel loving. Loving others is simply the right thing to do. You see, Love is showing compassion either in connection with or in spite of your feelings. In the same way, respect is showing honor either in connection with or in spite of your feelings. This showing of love and showing of respect is just the right thing to do.
Wives need love shown to them and husbands need respect shown to them. In a remarkable and insightful book called Love and Respect the author points out that wives are made to love, want love, and expect love. Whereas, husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect. And so get this: as they then relate to one another, without love from him, she reacts without respect; and without respect from her, he reacts without love. And around and around it goes. The author called it: The Crazy Cycle.
This Scripture in Ephesians has been in the Bible for over two thousand years, but many men and women keep on relating to each other with little understanding about it. In commentary on this verse the author went on to point out that a husband is to obey the command to love even if his wife does not obey the command to respect, and a wife is to obey the command to respect even if the husband does not obey the command to love. And as you can see, we have just moved up to the level of ‘living by faith’ rather than just ‘living by feeling’, because when a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard for him to love his wife. And when a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard for her to respect her husband. That’s why we are called to live by faith rather than by feelings.
Think about it further: When a husband feels disrespected, he has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel unloving to his wife. But that is when this demonstration of love is most powerful, and needed, and thus it is why this command is based upon faith, not feelings. And when a wife feels unloved, she has a natural tendency to react in ways that feel disrespectful to her husband. But here, too, that is when the demonstration of respect is most powerful, and needed, and thus it is why this is a command based upon faith, not feelings.1
And so right away, we see another example here of another big difference in how men and women are created differently, and thus the need for men and women to humbly seek to understand each other better, in order to serve one another better, and to thus honor God better, and to let Him do His work in and through their lives. Plus, especially as Brothers and Sisters in Christ do seek to better understand and serve one another, God then uses that to mightily speak to a confused world around us that understands little and little appreciates these remarkable differences in those God created male and female. And, as we celebrate these differences and learn more how to benefit from them we can then speak these things to the world around us about our amazing Creator, and about His plans He has for us all, and especially His plan to save all who will receive their Savior, Jesus Christ, so that they can be a part of His forever family.
1. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect, pp 15,16
2. Dobsonlibrary.com, A Woman’s Brain (Research on brain development in Women and Men)