Wired differently? That’s a new thought for me! I knew men and women are different. Some ways are obvious and others are not. I have often thought a separate dictionary that gave the men’s definitions would be helpful. Although I was married to the same man for fifty years, I have to admit that there were times when I just didn’t understand him. In fact, he occasionally told me, “You just don’t understand…” He was right, I didn’t. As I talked with some of my men friends, I discovered they wished they could understand a woman. My women friends say the same, they wish they could understand a man.
Carlos Cavallo, a relationship expert, has published an audio course called “Understanding Men”, and I grabbed it up. He says says that “most women have it all wrong about men.”1 Talk about an attention-getter! Wow! He claims that his information is based on data he has gathered from his work with thousands of men and women over the last ten years. With his permission I am sharing some of his important advice because as I listened to what he was saying, I kept thinking, “I wish I had known this when my husband was alive!” I am sure other women will say the same when they hear what he says. I have italicized Cavallo’s quotes and then my comments follow.
#1. Cavallo: “Suppose your man has a good reason for what he does…? Suppose he is genetically programmed to act a certain way and cannot change his behavior…? Could this (knowledge) make a difference in your reactions to his behavior…? and would (this knowledge about men) make a difference in your relationship?” 2
I believe the answer to the above questions is “Yes, definitely!” Most of the arguments my husband and I had started with a misunderstanding. Then my feelings would get hurt because he was not doing or saying what I thought he should be doing or saying. I think had I understood more how men think, I would have been more patient with him and attempted to find out exactly what he meant. (add: Perhaps I could have said, “This is what I heard you say _______________. Is that what you meant?)
#2. Men are not wired to think about two or more things at the same time and are unable to multi-task.” 3
I never realized that men simply do not have this ability. I guess I just never thought about it because multi-tasking is second nature to me. Cavallo suggests that understanding this one concept would allow a woman to plan ahead so she can avoid interrupting him when his mind is occupied with something else. Knowing that a man simply cannot change back and forth from one thing to another like a woman can. Just knowing that it takes time and effort for a man to switch gears should allow a woman to be more patient with him. I remember my husband complained many times that he couldn’t keep up with me because I “flitted” from one thing to another too quickly. Is this what he was talking about? I wonder.
A few weeks ago in his sermon, my pastor’s sermon was about the differences between a man and a woman and he used an analogy from “Men Are Like Waffles and Women Are Like Spaghetti,” a 2001 book written by Bill and Pam Farrell. Men’s brains compartmentalize their thoughts and activities similar to a dinner plate on which each type of food is separated from the others. Women, on the other hand, do many things at once and so their dinner plates resemble a dish of spaghetti.4
#3. If a woman understands this concept she can schedule her “want to talk times” at a convenient time for him. Examples of bad times for a woman to attempt a conversation with a man include the following: • when he is watching the news or a sports event, • whenever he is reading, and • whenever he has just gotten home.
Note: a man need to be able to chill for a short time when he first gets home to allow his mind and body to adjust from his work environment to his home environment. 5 This alone time and activity can include: reading the newspaper; chilling out in front of the tv; reading a book; or taking a quick nap. Given this time alone will make a lot of difference in his attitude towards his wife and children and will improve his own well-being for the rest of the evening. Once he has made the necessary adjustment to being home, then and only then is he able to start communicating and playing with the children. Note: he cannot accomplish this chill-out time during his commute to and from work.
Women do have the innate ability to multi-task and it is this quality that enables them to monitor the kids’ activities, fix dinner, converse with another adult, etc. all at the same time.