Some girls like things that, traditionally, are seen as more masculine, like sports, not dressing up, leading rather than following, and so forth. And some boys like things that are traditionally considered more feminine, like playing house or other sorts of care-taking rolls, dressing well, being more collaborative rather than dictatorial, and so forth. But those preferences aren’t what matters. There is something deeper. To explain that, let me tell about my journey:
Years ago I heard a Christian women’s conference speaker talk about how there really is no difference between men and women, just cultural stereotypes. I was skeptical. After all, where do stereotypes come from? Well, she handed out a survey that listed traditionally female ways of behaving, on one half of the sheet, and traditionally male behaviors on the other, in opposing pairs. She asked us to survey ourselves by picking one from each pair, to see if we fit into the gender stereotype.
While my responses were mixed, I tended to fall just a little heavier on traditionally male characteristics. For instance, I prefer the end product of a project rather than the process. I prefer to lead rather than follow. I prefer to work alone rather than collaborate. All of these things, I guess, are considered male, though I know quite a few other women who prefer these things, too. And I know a number of men who love to collaborate, enjoy the process and prefer to follow, as long as the leader knows where they are going!
She seemed to prove that there is no intrinsic difference between men and women. But deep down, I knew that wasn’t true. But what is the difference?
A year or so later my husband and I hit a bump in our marriage, as pretty much all couples do, so we decided to talk to the Marriage Ministries pastor at our church. He had us do some reading, and that’s when I learned what makes men, men and women, women. Basically it comes down to this verse:
Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you [husbands] also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Men crave respect above all, that is why God is reminding women to respect their husbands. Women crave love above all, that is why God reminds the husband to love his wife. We both want and need both, but each gender has a different hierarchy of needs.
When teaching kids about how to demonstrate love , a friend of mine asked for examples from her Sunday School class. The girls piped up with all sorts of warm, fuzzy things like giving gifts, saying, “I love you,” etc. But the first male response was, “being respected.” There you have it folks!
So girls and boys are different at the core.
As girls, we can’t truly understand what it means to be a boy, and vice versa.
Therefore, we must trust that God made us who we are, and wants us to be the gender we were born with. If we don’t match up to society’s stereotypes for behavior, that’s okay. As long as we are following God’s plan, we are on the right track. Sometimes it means learning new things to get along with others in our gender, for instance, learning to be more collaborative, on my part!
What do you think is the core difference between men and women?