Why Men Need Women and Women Need Men (part III)

 

 

God always uses opposite natures in his creation. At the smallest level of the life in the atom we see a proton (positive charge) and an electron (negative charge). 2 protons protract away from each other and 2 electrons protract away from each other. The only way the chemistry of life can take place is the attraction of these two opposite forces. In fact, all of God’s creation has opposing natures. God is like an artist. He uses different musical notes in making and sustaining his creation. In Genesis, God creates light from darkness, day and night, waters above the firmament from waters below the firmament, land from sea, living from non-living, animal from plant. In man and woman, the same applies.

The differences between the sexes reveal that their opposite natures attract to each other in a way the completes the human experience. In part II of this investigation, we saw how the male focus of giver-outward mover needs the female focus of receiver-inward mover and conversely, how the female as receiver-inward craves the male giver-outward nature. Now, we will see more diversity between the sexes that shows men are truth-seekers through their rational makeup while women are relationship-seekers through emotional connections. The important concept to grasp is that these differences need each other, and when they are combined, they illuminate the full human portrait.

Psychologists have noticed that men tend to have more interest in rational thinking to seek the truth, whereas women tend to be more interested in stories and emotional appeals to enhance the relationship. Philosopher William Lane Craig writes about his experience in the study of philosophy and how men represent the vast majority in this field. His observations communicate how men prefer logic and reasoning to discover the truth whereas women prefer topics in a narrative, emotional fashion that portrays people in a relationship framework (see here). The reflections of Craig outline an important distinction between the sexes. Lest one think this statement is a stereotypical generalization, research among neurologists confirms this assertion. An article on a recent study that looked at the brain patterns of men and women explained:

“Men generally have more connections within each hemisphere and between the front and back of the brain. In women the stronger connections usually run from side to side, between the left and right hemispheres. In essence, what this means is that men are more logical and better at coordination and spatial awareness. Women are more intuitive, have greater ’emotional intelligence’ and better memories for words and faces” (see here).

The study goes on further to comment,

“The finding of sex difference in connectivity was interpreted with reference to notions of hemispheric lateralization, which delegated emotion to the right and logic to the left hemisphere of the brain. Within this framework, women’s greater inter-hemispheric connectivity implied that their thought process was more integrative of emotion, whereas the structural independence of men’s hemispheres produced a compartmentalization of emotional and increased rational thought” (see here).

Furthermore, the female brain showcase more operation and blood flow in the part of the brain called the cingulate gyrus. This area of the brain will produce increased emotional responses. Men tend to concentrate on the cerebral cortex, which is the rational part of the brain that is involved with more analyzation and less related to emotions. (see here). It is no wonder because their brains operate differently the sexes interest in approaching topics are unique as well. According to recent findings, women have a greater facility for linguistic expression (i.e. emotional words) while men’s brain structure links closer towards spatial orientation and a comprehension for logical abstraction.[5]

In short, what all this research is suggesting is that God structured the male brain to think while he programmed the female brain to feel. Notice that men’s strength (rational thinking to seek the truth ) complements women’s lack in this area, while women’s strength (emotional thinking to build relationships) help men who lack in this area. Combined, thinking and feeling represent the totality of the human experience. So, we see how both natures, when combined, perfect the human experience. More evidence will help shed light on this.

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Georgetown University compiled a list of popular college majors and occupation fields associated with gender placement. This study outlines how men prefer areas that employ a rational approach to ascertain the truth. The following college majors are predominately male-dominated: Petroleum Engineering (87% male), Marine Engineering, (97% male) Mechanical Engineering (94% male), Military Technologies (93% male), Aerospace Engineering (88% male), Chemical Engineering (72% male) (see here). We can see that the broad subject of “engineering” holds a significant percentage of more men than women. Men prefer engineering because engineering employs a methodical, analytical approach in which one utilizes a structured system to discern the truth – how objects work. Since men are wired to be attracted to an analytical method, men feel at home in this field. For example, the construction industry is a male-dominated industry as the Georgetown study indicates Construction Services ratio is 92% male compared to 8% female. This reality is not because of sexism but simply because men are wired to be more interested in the concept of fixing and building objects in a structured, logical method.

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What about women’s interests? The Georgetown study found that women gravitate towards fields that focused on human relationships and child development. The following college majors are predominately female-dominated: Counseling and Psychology (74% female), Childhood Education (97% female), Medical Assistance (96% female), Human Services and Community Organization (81% female), Social Work (88% female), and Family and Consumer Sciences (93%). These areas of study highlight the female’s interests in that women are attracted to nurturing relationships at the family and societal level. Social Work and Family Sciences both involve improving the human person through relationship development and providing care to one’s emotional needs.

In the Georgetown study wee see confirmation of Buytendijk’s theory that men’s persona is described by “work” and women’s by “care.” God equipped the female make-up for childbearing, so it should be no surprise that the fields associated with nurturing contain significantly more women than men. If there was no difference in genders, why is it that men dominate fields associated with the analytical approach designed to create and understand objects and women dominate fields associated with child and relationship development? In short, men like to construct and fix objects while women prefer to construct and fix relationships.

These findings do not mean that women are incapable of analytical, rational thought or men are incapable of showcasing nurture, rather, they illuminate that given the two options men favor the rational setting while women prefer the nurture setting.

Therefore, men’s realm of attraction and interest is in the objective sphere – the area that goes outside the subject. Whereas women’s realm of attraction and interest is in the subjective sphere – the area focused on the subject or person within. Notice the objective dimension points outward, and the subjective dimension points inward. Is it not a coincidence that the male attraction toward outwardness matches the male reproductive organ design to literally point outward in the life-creating process of sex? Moreover, the female attraction toward this inwardness matches her reproductive organs pointing inward to nurture and care for new life. The deep convergence of what the human body reveals matches the inner characteristics of the sexes.

Now, there are exceptions to the distinct male and female traits. Certainly, some women can display more masculine characteristics that men normally engage in and similarly men can exhibit more female traits (e.g., metrosexual men). However, these exceptions are not the norm. Rather, this article is drawing off academic research that reveals the overall pattern among the sexes. In fact, where you find a woman that thinks using a rational method, you’ll generally see that she was heavily guided by a male figure in receiving this trait (e.g., father, husband, male teacher, etc.). Indeed, the premier female philosopher of the 20th century is Edith Stein. Edith was a Carmelite nun and her thinking was significantly influenced by the teachings of Edmund Hesserl and Thomas Aquinas.

Men and women’s minds are distinct as well. Psychologist Judith Bardwick in her work distinguished how men and women’s mind interprets data differently. As she states, “The male mind discriminates, analyzes, separates and refines . . . The feminine mind knows relatedness, has an intuitive perception of feeling, has a tendency to unite rather than separate.”[1] What Bardwick’s finding suggests is women do not really think in an analytical method. Rather, their feelings persuade their thinking. However, feelings are not a sturdy approach for discerning the truth. Indeed, it is better to approach a math problem (or any area) through critical reasoning over and above one’s feelings. Nevertheless, for women, their internal intuition or feelings tend to be the mode to grasp reality. Philosopher Edith Stein further comments on women’s mind: “the living and personal is the object of her care.”[2] Here, Stein indicates that personal touch is the women’s main focus. This personal element points to more of a feeling as Stein goes on to comment, “her natural way of knowledge is not so much notional and analytical, but envisaging and sensing [feeling] the concrete.”[3]

Psychologist Julia Sherman also notes that men hold “superior spatial skills account for their [men’s] known superior performance in aspects of geometry, mathematical problem solving, engineering, architecture, and the mathematical and physical sciences generally.”[4] Conversely, social scientists have indicated that women perceive and react to events with a high emotional response that takes into account her whole mind and body interaction.[5]

Now, emotion is good and, in fact, needed. However, emotion needs to be in the correct order. Just like you don’t eat a meal while driving a car, you don’t use emotion before thinking analytically. Indeed, the very concept of feeling or emotion is that it’s a response to the truth. So, emotion only kicks in after the truth has been established and the truth is established through reasoning in a critical and analytical fashion. In other words, in the order of the human recipe, God uses the male nature (truth-seeking through reason) first, followed by the female nature (relationship-seeking through emotion). However, to avoid this fact, the skeptic will cunningly argue that such an assertion is a “stereotype.” But, when we zoom in on the evidence, we can see this is no mere stereotype, this is, in fact, a reality.

emotional woman

Psychologist David Schmitt examined numerous academic studies to determine if women are more emotional than men. His research found that in all areas women experienced a substantial increase in emotionally reactive responses than men. For example, in differences in reacting to certain moral emotions, women tended to experience more negative emotions, such as guilt, shame, and embarrassment than men did (see here). Schmitt highlighted a meta-analysis on children’s feelings and found similar results with a high degree of emotions in women. Moreover, he noted the expansiveness of these findings. As he stated, “In a cross-cultural study of 37 nations, women tended to report significantly more negative emotionality than men.” Furthermore, Schmitt noted, “Sex differences in social anxiety found that women across cultures are universally higher than men.” These findings indicate that women clearly encounter a higher emotional response than men do. And, these emotions produce a negative effect on women. In fact, Schmitt found that women experience a higher degree of emotional stress in coping with the daily affairs of life. Additionally, he found that women’s communication behavior, either verbal or written, revealed that women convey more negative emotions than men do. The female personality traits manifest the women-emotion link.

In another cross-cultural analysis, Schmitt noted that women scored higher on the personality trait closely related to the negative emotion of neuroticism. Indeed, the trait neuroticism indicates that one is prone to self-consciousness, anxiety, and depression. Now, psychologists almost all agree that women tend to be more self-conscience and insecure than men (see here). Another similar work found that women exhibit anxiety significantly higher than men do. As Schmitt states, “In a meta-analysis across 25 studies, for instance, Feingold (1994), found women score higher in anxiety. Several large cross-cultural studies have confirmed these sex differences across dozens of nations.” Therefore, the differences in which women experience a higher degree of emotions then men is not an isolated incident confined to one culture. Rather, the emotional temperament of women seems to apply to all cultures at all times. These findings suggest that women have a sensitive nature when it comes to responding to particular stimuli while men are inclined to be more even-keeled. As Schmitt concluded,

“Women do appear to react more negatively to unpleasant experiences in experimental settings For instance, in a study of sex differences in reactions to pleasant and unpleasant slides, researchers found women reacted more negatively to unpleasant slides (e.g., mutilated bodies, physical violence, and suffering or dead animals). A sex difference that persisted in size from ages 20 to 81. King and Gordon (1998) found women react with more sadness to sad films than men do and women react with more fear-disgust to fearful-disgusting films than men do” (see here).

Additional studies confirm Schmitt’s conclusions. That is, women are known to evaluate emotional stimuli (whether good or bad) with vastly more reaction than men (see here). Therefore, if someone presents an emotional message to women, women will be more inclined to overreact to these messages than men. The emotional nature of women cloud their ability to think rationally and analytically. In fact, science shows us that when a person becomes overly emotional, the logical part of their brain (the cerebral cortex) designed to critically think, does not work properly (see also here) So, now we can see further evidence of how the male nature assists and perfects the female nature.

It is important to note that this emotional reaction of women is rooted in their very makeup. In confirming this theory, a study published at the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) stated that in an image assessment study that “subjective ratings of negative emotional images were higher in women than in men” (see here). Moreover, scholars attribute these findings to the very make-up of differences in the sexes. As stated in the NCBI report, “These results highlight critical sex differences in brain connectivity during negative emotion processing and point to the fact that both biological (sex steroid hormones) and psychosocial (gender role and identity) variables contribute to them.” In fact, writing about the NCBI report on the emotional reaction women experienced to certain images, Kristin Magaldi wrote in Medical Daily,

“When looking at the brain’s reaction to the images, the researchers found that the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and amygdala on the right hemisphere of the brain were activated in both sexes when viewing the images. However, the connection between these two parts of the brain was found to be stronger in men, leading to more interaction between the two parts and further decreased sensitivity to emotional stimuli” (see here).

brains of sexes

The NCBI report explained that the responses of the amygdala and the dmPFC indicate how a person processes emotion and data. As Magaldi states, “The amygdala is known as the part of the brain that detects threat, and often fires when a person is exposed to fear or sadness, while the dmPFC helps process social interactions and mediates perception, emotions, and reasoning.” Men react better to emotional messages or certain “trigger words” better because the two parts of the brain to discern emotional phrases work stronger in men than in women. Thus, when an expressive or sensitive message is communicated to a man, he doesn’t react to it with a knee-jerk response. Rather, he processes it more through his calm analytical nature. However, in women, this interaction between these two parts of the brain is weaker.

In short, the NCBI report reveals that women have more of an emotional reaction because their brains have been wired to respond to expressive messaging. This fact is a crucial point because many skeptics will attribute the display of negative emotions in women as a by-product of unfair sexism. However, the studies illuminate that the reason women experience greater emotions is that women’s biological nature fixates more on an emotional response than do men. In further analyzing the NCBI report Stephane Ptovin, Psychiatry Professor at the University of Montreal, stated, “A stronger connection between these areas in men suggests they have a more analytical than emotional approach when dealing with negative emotions. It is possible that women tend to focus more on the feelings generated by these stimuli, when men remain somewhat ‘passive’ toward negative emotions, trying to analyze the stimuli and their impact” (see here).

The emotional nature of women goes beyond their brain processing and is rooted in their chemical formation. The primary hormone that develops and sustains the female body is estrogen. However, doctors have linked estrogen, the key ingredient to females, to anxiety and depression. Nivin Todd writing in WebMD indicated, “Depression and anxiety affect women in their estrogen-producing years more often than men or postmenopausal women. Estrogen is also linked to mood disruptions that occur only in women — premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and postpartum depression” (see here). In looking at the chemical level, we can notice a substantial phenomenon. That is, women’s chemical makeup changes literally every day in an up and down manner while men’s stay the same – a straight line. This point communicates that within women is a chemical disposition that causes them to have an increase in emotional levels while the male stands in a steady, non-emotional manner. What is even more fascinating is that studies now show that the hormones in men’s semen help reduce anxiety and depression in women (see also here). It is almost as if God has given women the gift of men so they can experience emotional stability. Here, we come to a crucial point in our analysis of men and women. Because research has shown that male semen act as a calming nutrient for women we can draw a conclusion that the uniting of male and female natures that is so crucial to human fulfillment is showcased in the natural act of sex between a man and woman. When we say natural act of sex we are alluding to sexual intercourse in a marriage between a man and a woman where no artificial barrier exists or no contraceptive methods come into play. It is no wonder that studies convey that couples who practice natural family planning are overall more satisfied in their marriage than those who don’t. We’ll come back to this point at the conclusion of our article, but for now it is important for the reader to grasp that the exchange or uniting of natures that the sexes so desperately need takes place most specifically in married couples practicing natural family planning. For now, we will continue to move forward to see how the essence of how men and women think is dramatically different so you can understand why it is that they need to unite their traits together.

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In Stephen Clark’s work, he shows further proof of how women need men to reach their pinnacle of knowledge and understanding. Clark explores this idea within the intellectual level. As he states, “The descriptions of the intellectual differences between men and women emphasize that men tend to analyze, disassemble, classify, and synthesize, whereas women prefer to resort to intuition – a quality yoked to such terms as ‘relatedness,’ ‘unity,’ ‘fusion,’ or ‘empathy.’[3] Notice that intuition guides women’s thought process. Additionally, intuition is associated with feelings. The idea of feelings exists with such words as “empathy” and “unity.” Thus, feelings (not reason) tend to guide women’s thought process in which she bonds herself closer to the object. Moreover, social scientists have indicated that women perceive and react to events with a high emotional response that takes into account her whole mind and body interaction.[4]

Given the relationship centerpiece of the female, women approach a message more so to see if she can bind herself to it to place herself in relation to the message. It is no wonder that women have a hard time saying no to emotional appeals or cannot bring themselves to deal with messages that cause distress on their feelings. Prominent anthropologist and psychologist F.J.J Buytendijk confirms the idea that women experience a heightened emotional reaction to arousing topics while men have a more reserved response to such imagery. Buytendijk showed a series of emotional cartoon scenes to men and women. He found that:

“The women found the comic effect of cartoons diminished by the entry of any tendentious element. The more any cartoon served a tendency to make a direct appeal to the emotions, the less they found it to their taste. They felt too much involved, they sometimes identified themselves with the object being ridiculed, and so could not maintain the ‘emotional distance’ necessary to be able to give the situation an ambiguous and amusing structure.”[1]

Researchers showed the same cartoons to the men. Whereas the scenes in the cartoons distressed the women, the cartoons amused the men. Buytenjijk concluded that men would more often distance themselves emotionally from an object, whereas women respond more immediately and spontaneously. Therefore, the male’s even-keeled calm disposition compliments the women’s emotional, sensitive temperament. While feelings guide women’s thought process, men’s thoughts can detach itself from feelings. Men can separate themselves from the object in standing outside the object to understand it whereas women attach themselves to an object in a personal way to relate to it.

In short, women do not think about situations or teachings in an analytical manner detached from other factors. Instead, internal emotions heavily influence how women think. Additionally, women approach a topic to connect to it in a relationship framework. They want everyone to get along and often want to please all parties in the relationship. On the other hand, men approach a topic with the primary concern to find the truth. Men will more likely accept the truth even if it elicits a negative effect on the relationship. The significant point is that in the grand analysis truth-seeking must come first so that any human relationship can eventually thrive. Thus, the male nature of truth over and above positive emotions in the relationship must come primary. Additionally, because the male can better handle negative emotions, he can act as a guide for the female. This fact helps explain why the Bible refers to men more as teachers and leaders as men can better comprehend God’s laws without being negatively influenced by feelings. If men are good students in that they figure things out well and understand them, it follows that men are better theological and philosophical teachers to help others so they can comprehend these big picture areas. In addition, if women are better teachers for care, comfort, and relationship enhancement, it stands that women would make better leaders in the domestic sphere.

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Another important clue in our investigation of the sexes is that social scientists have indicated that women perceive and react to events in a way that takes into account her whole mind and body interaction.[2] As Clark describes, “Women brings her more integrated psychological structure to bear upon a situation which she perceives as a living whole.”[3] Therefore, women react to a message or situation with her whole being whereas Clark mentions, “men tend to help by analyzing a situation or a person and thus isolating the particular sphere of need.”[4] It is almost as if an emotional message affects the woman’s whole personhood – whether positive or negative, and men’s whole being is not as affected by the message. Therefore, the classical line, “Do not take things personally” is a communication channel from men to women.

These studies also reveal that women possess greater sensitivity to the values inherent in things around them and to interpersonal relations, while men tend to see the world in terms of obstacles and means to an end. Women’s horizon of experience lies more in the direction of subjective personal impressions, while men are more able to connect the concrete details of a situation and try to resolve it in terms of objectivity valid, general principles. This outlines the often-cited statement that women want to talk about their feelings, while men want to fix the problem that leads to the negative feelings. As one psychologist simply puts, “women talk to connect” and “women solve problems by talking though them. . . . women want to vent” (see here ). The author went on to say that “men are wired to solve problems.” Therefore, the male responds less by talking about the problem, but more by “get r done” action in which they express their outward nature. This phenomenon leads those in the relationship therapy field to continuously point out the often comical back and forth between a woman who wants to talk about her problem and a man who wants to fix her problem through action (see here).

In short, women display a greater sensitivity to the personal elements of their environments whereas men show a greater tendency to outside components of rules and structure that go beyond the personal. The key move is that the intuition and emotion that women utilize in their thoughts is so they can pull the object into them. As Clark notes, “Women desire to know an object by drawing closer to it, whereas men tend to distance themselves from an object in order to understand and act in relation to it more effectively.”[8] Therefore, the woman desires to connect with the object or subject, so she places herself within it. Men’s disposition, on the other hand, directs to the outside of an object through the lens of analysis. With analysis, one must separate himself from the topic precisely to study it in a non-bias manner. Hence, women say, “Let me be with that object (or person) to relate to it.” Whereas men say, “Let me temporarily distance myself from that object (or person) to understand it.” While both modes are needed, note that you can’t relate to an object (or person) without first understanding it. Therefore, we see again where the male approach must come first followed by the female method second.

At this point, we can begin to see the obvious – just like men need women, women need men. And the order of God’s formula is always: male ingredients first, followed by female ingredients. In sum, both need each other and the order is incredibly important. Despite the culture’s objections, women very much need men. In the next article, we’ll outline specifically why it is dangerous for women to remove themselves from receiving authentic masculinity.

To be continued….

[1]F. J. J. Buytendijk, Woman, A Contemporary View (New York, NY: Newman Press, 1968), p. 154.

[2]Erik H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crises (New York, NY: Norton, 1968), p. 2.

[3]Clark, p. 392.

[4]Ibid.

[8]Clark, p. 385.

[3]Stephen Clark, Man And Woman In Christ (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1980), p. 383.

[4]Erik H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crises (New York, NY: Norton, 1968), p. 2.  

[1]Clark, p. 394 citing J. Bardwick, Psychology of Women (New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 100.

[2]Edith Stein, The Writings of Edith Stein (London, Peter Owen, 1956), p.161-162.  

[3] Ibid.

[4]Julia Sherman, On The Psychology of Women (Springfield, MA: Charles C. Thomas, 1971), p.23.

[5]Erik H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crises (New York, NY: Norton, 1968), p. 2.  

[5]Beatrice Flad-Schnorrenberg, The true difference. Being a woman-innate or acquired? (Freiburg, Basel and Vienna, 1978), pp.36-39.

 


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