The adage ‘men need to have sex to feel loved and women need to feel loved to have sex’ is often relevant but what is ‘love’? There are some obvious ways of showing you care about each other on a day to day basis but for love to grow and flourish over a lifetime of living together a couple need to support and help each other to reach their full potential.
Current research and MRI scans are now providing evidence
supporting what men and women have always known - that our brains
function differently. So we now know there is a physiological reason for
our differences regardless of our background or conditioning although these factors are relevant and need to be acknowledged.
Please note this is a general view and does not apply to all men and
all women. Even when it is usually applicable there will be some
occasions when men or women change their usual response patterns.
However, if we bear in mind that the male/female thought patterns and
responses differ this can greatly improve communication and
Women use both sides of the brain when processing information whereas men use predominantly their left brain. Consequently men are more focused on facts and women will remember more about the emotional content. Women are more in touch with their own feelings and therefore interested in the feelings of others and men will analyse and remember more factual information.
A consequence of this is that women's conversation tends to revolve more around people and human behaviour and they may feel men are being insensitive and uncaring when they don't remember or appear disinterested. Men may feel the same when women are less than enthusiastic about analytical factual information. Misunderstandings can be avoided when we understand our different interests come from our different brain function. Women often say if he loved me he would understand what I need without my having to tell him, whereas he needs specific clear factual information and can be genuinely confused by innuendos and hints.
Women may therefore accuse a man of not listening when he offers advice or solutions and men will resent suggestions that he needs to talk, when he wants time alone to think.
Men need greater stimulus to start on a project although they will then take more risks and enjoy deadlines and competition. This could explain why they have tended to achieve more senior positions than women who are more risk averse, less competitive and prefer to work as part of a team. Women are less focused on doing one thing at a time so can appear to achieve less, although they will be more aware of what is happening on an emotional level with the people around them.
By understanding each other's approach to getting things done (in the workplace and at home) we can use our different skills to create harmony rather than conflict.
When stressed or upset men are more likely to become angry whereas women tend to become withdrawn or depressed. Women need to understand that this anger often masks deep underlying painful feelings which may not be directly related to her. In our present culture many people are suffering from stress which increases the strain when a relationship is not at its best.
Exploring these differences and how couples can communicate effectively is one aspect of couples counselling.
Another common cause of conflict especially when there is an attraction of opposites is that the characteristics which draw people to each other can eventually cause the problems which drive them apart.
Strong emotions block rational thought leading to arguments and misunderstandings. Therapy will help to lower high emotional states making it possible to clarify the real cause of the problem and to work out a strategy for change.