Guest Author - Dr. Jonice Webb
”If you like pink books with plenty of words, then I have the perfect one for you.”…Shawn Smith, PsyD, author of The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think
It is remarkable to me how differently men and women see the world. Often, husbands and wives are mystified by each other’s way of interpreting, remembering, and reacting to events.
Shawn Smith, Psyd wrote an informative book about the differences between men and women called The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think. I sent him some questions that I thought my BellaOnline readers would want to know the answers to:
1. In the survey that you did for your book, you asked men what they most wish women understood about them. What did they say?
Naturally, men expressed a few common frustrations about women. For example, a lot of men feel that their mistakes will forever be held against them, like this guy: “They don’t forget anything. The old mistakes, purchases that didn’t work out, the thing said in anger.… [Women] will not accept an apology and forget it.”
Men also offered some interesting advice on relationships, like the men who said, “All any man wants is to feel needed from time to time,” and “I don’t feel the need to ‘connect’ verbally as much as you do. I’m connected just sitting beside you.”
Mostly, men expressed a lot of admiration and love for women. I received hundreds of comments like this: “We males are often troublesome creatures, and women seem strangely willing to love us despite our flaws. I can never be too thankful for that,” and “Without women, men would be lost. They give us the purpose we need to live honest and meaningful lives.”
2. What are some tips for how to communicate better with a man?
Women have a tendency to see a bigger relationship picture than men, and can more easily relate past events to current happenings. I can’t tell you how many couples I’ve seen sidetracked into destructive and pointless arguments because he’s talking about what’s happening right here, right now, while she’s talking about larger patterns in the relationship. Because she’s looking at the bigger picture, she may bring up past incidents during an argument, or even speculate about how things are going to be in the future.
A lot of guys feel like they’re constantly behind the eight ball because they don’t know when they might be ambushed by past mistakes. Women could help men by setting some parameters and sticking to them. That is, if we’re going to discuss the past then let’s agree to that up front. Men are better able to talk about past conflicts or mistakes when they understand why that conversation is important to her, and when they feel that they have some influence over the course of the discussion.
3. What are some of the most important things that drive men?
The good news is that most men are striving for a happy partner and a peaceful home. The bad news is that lots of men tend to withdraw during discord because it’s terribly uncomfortable to them, and some give up entirely when they feel that their partner will never be happy.
4. How are men’s brains different from women’s? What do those differences mean for relationships?
One recent study showed that men may actually be “wired” to coordinate perception and action, while women may be better equipped at social analysis and intuitive processing. Women may simply be more naturally skilled at emotional and relational processing.
In our society, men are often discouraged from exploring matters of emotion. That means that men often feel outwitted and outmatched when talking with women about matters of emotion and intimate connection. A huge number of men have told me just that. As one man put it, “... when we have an argument it’s like I’m playing one-on-one against LeBron James. Why do [women] have to win every argument?”
5. Is it true that men are simply not built for commitment?
Absolutely not. Men are built for commitment, though we tend to approach it slightly differently. I think one of the things that women find confusing about men is our ability to move in and out of the relationship.
In general, men seem to have more of an ability to set our intimate relationships aside while we pursue other endeavors, often in teams with other men. Many women have expressed to me that they don’t quite understand how men can “turn the relationship off” and forget all about it for a while. Women sometimes fail to recognize that when men step away from the relationship, we are all the more excited to “come back home” when the work or play is done.
To see more of this helpful glimpse into the minds of men, take a look at Shawn Smith's book, The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think. Click on the link below to see it on Amazon.
The Woman's Guide to How Men Think: Love, Commitment, and the Male Mind