My husband told me about an article he read recently (I think in the New Yorker) about Cesar Milan. If you don't know who Cesar Milan is, he is referred to as the "Dog Whisperer". I've learned a lot from him about dog body language, and how dogs think. He really is tuned in to the dog mind. But my husband said that this article talked about how for a time, he and his wife had marital problems. They decided to go to a therapist for help. After some time in therapy, the therapist told Cesar that women think differently than men. Cesar said that when he learned this, his whole life changed. He realized that all he needed to do to get along with his wife was to learn the way she thinks. Just like with knowing how dogs think, once he understood his wife's thinking, they began to get along nicely.
I think the biggest difference between men and women is that women are more relationship oriented. We tune in to subtle nuances of conversation and body language. We look for the meaning behind what people actually say. We act more on intuition than men do, by and large. Let me give you an example from my life.
Yesterday my son went to play at a friend's house. This little boy is home schooled and doesn't have any friends except my son. This was the first time they had actually spent time together outside of church. My husband dropped him off about 1:30 in the afternoon, then spent the rest of the day shopping for motorcycles. About 5:00, I decided I better call the family and find out about the arrangement for when I should pick up my son. The grandmother said she wouldn't mind if I left him there all day. I said, "Well, at some point I should probably pick him up." ;) She invited him to stay for dinner. I talked to my son and told him to call me after dinner. But by 7:30, I still hadn't heard from him. I suggested to my husband that maybe he should go pick him up. (I didn't know where they lived.) He said, "I told her when I dropped him off to call me when it was time to pick him up." I said, "Yes, but I don't want him to stay there past what would be appropriate." My husband said, "They will call us when they are ready."
Time ticked by, and it was 8:00 and I was getting nervous. He has never been to that friend's house before, so I didn't know how they felt about a friend staying there ALL DAY! I tried to get my husband to go pick him up, but he resisted. 8:30 came and went, and I again suggested he pick him up. I didn't know when their kids go to bed, and I didn't want to impose on them. But he resisted again. Finally at 9:00 I said, "Okay, it's 9:00 at night, and he should be home!" So my husband relented and went and picked him up. I was very concerned about the relationship aspect, and what was appropriate. He was very pragmatic and felt they would figure it out.
I'm not saying either way is the right way, I'm just saying we look at things through different eyes. I do believe that understanding our differences helps us to get along better. And I don't think it should be one way. While Cesar felt it important to become a "woman whisperer", I think it would serve his wife well to become a "man whisperer" too. I do think the picture below sums it up pretty well. ;)