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September 13, 2023

Men and Women Think Differently About Love

In addition to physiological differences, the sexes are blessed with a vast array of unique emotional characteristics. It is a wise and dedicated husband who desires to understand his wife's psychological needs and then sets out to meet them.

The emotional differences between you and your partner will influence every aspect of your relationship. Your love life will be no exception. Briefly stated, love is linked to self-esteem in women. For a man, romantic experiences with his wife are warm, enjoyable, and memorable—but not necessary. For a woman, they are her lifeblood. Her confidence, her sexual response, and her zest for living are often directly related to those tender moments when she feels deeply loved and appreciated by her man. That is why flowers and candy and cards are more meaningful to her than to him. This is why she is continually trying to pull him away from the television set or the newspaper, and not vice versa. This is why the anniversary is critically important to her and why she never forgets it. That is why he had better not forget it!

This need for romantic love is not some quirk or peculiarity of his wife, as some husbands may think. This is the way God designed the human female, and the sooner men understand this, the better they will be equipped to increase the level of intimacy in their marriages.

Men also need to understand that women tend to care more than they about the home and everything in it. Whether your wife has a nest-building instinct or not I don't know, but for years I have observed this feminine interest in the details of the family dwelling. Admittedly, not every woman keeps a neat house. I know some messy ladies whose mothers must have been frightened by garbage trucks when they were pregnant. But even in those cases, there is often a female concern for the house and what is in it. Husbands sometimes fail to comprehend the significance of this inclination.

Shirley and I recognized that we had differing perspectives a few years ago when we purchased a gas barbecue unit for use in our backyard. We hired a plumber to install the device and left for the day. When we returned, we both observed that the barbecue was mounted about eight inches too high. Shirley and I stood looking at the appliance and our reactions were quite different.

I said, "Yes, it's true. The plumber made a mistake. The barbecue unit is a bit too high. By the way, what's for dinner tonight?"

Shirley reacted more emphatically. She said, "I don't think I can stand that thing sticking up in the air like that!"

I could have lived the rest of my life without ever thinking of the barbecue mounting again, but to Shirley it was a big deal. Why? Because we see the home differently. So we called the plumber and had him lower the unit about eight inches.

Husbands aren't the only ones who need to be aware of their partners' needs, of course. I suggest that wives tune in to their husbands' quirks and interests as well. For example, a survey taken several years ago to determine what men care about most yielded surprising results. Men did not long for expensive furniture, well-equipped garages or a private study. What they wanted most was tranquility at home. Competition in the workplace today is so fierce, and the stresses of pleasing a boss and surviving professionally are so severe, that the home needs to be a haven to which a man can retreat. It is a smart woman who tries to make her home what her husband needs it to be.

Of course, many women also work, and their husbands are not the only ones in need of tranquility. This is a major problem in two-career families. It is even more difficult in the single-parent situation. I know no simple solution to those stress points, although I'm convinced that emotional instability and even physical illness can occur in the absence of a "safe place." Creating an environment at home to meet that need should be given priority, regardless of the family structure.

From Dr. Dobson’s book Love For A Lifetime.

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