As research accumulates, it is becoming increasingly obvious that God made men and women different in many ways. They think differently, they process emotions differently, they make decisions differently and they learn differently. And yet men and women complement one another so beautifully that a healthy relationship makes both partners more complete. Consider the following ways that modern research has highlighted our uniqueness.

The differences start in the physical structure of the brain. "Now research is confirming that the brains of men and women are subtly different. … For example, studies show that human male brains are, on average, approximately 10 percent larger than female brains. Certain brain areas in women, however, contain more nerve cells." Leah Ariniello, Gender and the Brain (Washington, D.C.: Society for Neuroscience, 1998, via ProQuest, an information service by Bell & Howell).

The differences then extend to the operation of the brain. "One study shows that men and women perform equally well in a test that asks subjects to read a list of nonsense words and determine if they rhyme. Yet, imaging results found that women use areas on the right and left sides of the brain, while men only use areas on the left side to complete the test."Ibid. We find it amusing that even when it comes to the use of the brain, women connect both sides while men keep it as simple as possible by using only one side.

It then follows that men and women excel at different tasks. "Tests show that women generally can recall lists of words or paragraphs of text better than men. On the other hand, men usually perform better on tests that require the ability to mentally rotate an image in order to solve a problem."Ibid. As a result, men use different strategies and different parts of their brains to navigate, and they really are better at finding their way when they are lost than women.

Another interesting development in our understanding of male and female brains is that, "on average, that women synthesise the chemical serotonin at a lower level than men. Currently serotonin is a popular drug target because it has been implicated in a number of diseases, including depression. Ariniello.

We find these differences fascinating. It is sometimes difficult having to adjust to your partner’s ways, but it is also humorous and enjoyable. We have included below a list of ways that men and women approach life differently. Read through the list and see how many of them apply to your relationship:

  • Men are more aggressive than women when they drive sports cars and light trucks. Women are more aggressive than men when they drive 4WD’s and luxury cars. "Aggressive Driving Analyzed: The Effect of Age, Gender, and Type of Car Driven Across the States” ©1999 by Dr. Leon James (DrDriving). Found at

  • Women are less likely to be caught and convicted of speeding than men. Nancy Ammon Jianakoplos and Alexandra Bernasek, Are Women More Risk Averse? Economic Inquiry, Huntington Beach, Oct 1998, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp. 620-630. Obtained via ProQuest, a Bell & Howell information service.

  • When men perform as well as they expected at a particular task, they tend to attribute their success to their own skill or intelligence. If they perform below their expectations, they tend to blame bad luck or some factor that is out of their control. Sheila Brownlow, Rebecca Whitener, and Janet M. Rupert, “‘I’ll Take Gender Differences for $1000!’ Domain-Specific Intellectual: Success on Jeopardy,” Sex Roles (New. York, Feb. 1998). Obtained via ProQuest, a Bell & Howell information service.

  • When women meet their low expectations, they tend to attribute it to their lack of ability or intelligence. When women exceed their low prediction for achievement, they tend to attribute it to good luck or some other factor beyond their control. Ibid.

  • Men are willing to take greater financial risks than women. Jianakoplos, pp. 620-630.

  • Within relationships, women resolve the day-to-day issues while men settle the life-changing disputes. Bernice Kanner, Are You a Normal Guy? American Demographics, Ithaca, March 1999, Volume 21, Issue 3, p. 19. Obtained via ProQuest, a Bell & Howell information service.

  • Women ask more questions. Lillian Glass, Ph.D., He Says, She Says (New York, NY: Berkley Publishing Group, Perigree Books, 1993) p. 33.

  • More than three-fourths of interruptions in conversations are made by men. Ibid p. 34.

This article is adapted from Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti. Pam Farrel is the author of 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. Bill Farrel is the author of 7 Simple Skills for Every Man. Together, they’ve written several other books.

From Focus on the Family website at © 2001 by Bill and Pam Farrel. Used by permission of Harvest House Publishers.

Bill and Pam Farrel

Bill and Pam Farrel are international speakers and relationship specialists, dedicating themselves to building up marriages and families.

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