Differences in Communication

Genesis 2:21–22 says, “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.” God took something from Adam and used it to fashion Eve. She was literally flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, and the powerful intimacy that was to characterize the male-female relationship was firmly established. As we learned in chapter 2, irreconcilable differences is not a reason for divorce. Every couple has them, and it all begins with the fact that one of them is a woman and one of them is a man. That’s right, the two people in a marriage are very different, and God Himself created them that way. They look different and they think different, but these differences are meant to enhance the marriage relationship, not hinder it. Yet far too often genetic differences are ignored, and the marriage is negatively impacted. More often than not, the common source is poor communication.

There is a story of an English professor who wrote the words, “A woman without her man is nothing” on the board and directed the students to punctuate correctly. The men wrote, “A woman, without her man, is nothing.” The women, however, wrote, “A woman: without her, man is nothing.” The choice of punctuation yielded two entirely different results with very different meanings. That’s how it is with our communication. Our choice of words and tone of voice can convey very different meanings to those around us.

I have personally noticed something about the different way that men and women communicate. When approaching a group of women, I have observed that though they all seem to be talking at the same time, they all seem to know what the others are saying. But men in a group talk one by one, and the others listen. Why is that? Well, I believe God purposely designed men and women to communicate differently. Men as a whole reflect Ecclesiastes 5:2: “Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.” Men tend to guard their words and use them sparingly. You’ve heard the descriptive phrase, “a man of few words,” haven’t you? That is indeed true of many men. So ladies, if you fell in love with the strong, silent type, don’t expect him to turn into “chatty Kathy” after you say “I do.”

On the flip side, men, God front-loaded your bride with more words than you, and she is going to use them. If you’ll listen to her, she will teach you how to communicate with her. Women as a whole tend to speak more words than men and in greater detail. I believe there is a divine reason for that. Titus 2:3–5 says, “Teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Look at all the things women have to teach! By design, they naturally use, and even need, more words to fulfill God’s plan for them. These are generalizations, of course, but by and large, men tend to be bottom-line communicators, while women are more detail oriented. Both are valid forms of communication, and both are needed at different times, but we can all grow in our ability to express ourselves in a clear and life-affirming manner.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

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