Do Gender Differences Really Cause Marital Problems?

I read the other day that men and women have only a 5% difference in their genetic makeup. However, men and monkeys on the other hand only have a 2% difference. This would mean that men have more in common with monkeys than with women. I don’t know whether that’s true or not but one thing all my books and all my experience as a marriage counselor has taught me is that men and women really are fundamentally different.  
My experience isn’t the only thing that says men and women are different. Research shows it, too. For example, when men and women are startled, men take longer to calm back down than women do. Plus, men’s physiological response elevates higher and quicker than women’s when startled. The folks who did this research believe that these differences are inheritances from our cavemen ancestors – the hunting men had to be ready to fight or attack a predator in an instant while the women generally had to remain calmer to nurture the children.

Gender Differences Can Cause Trouble in Marriage

Because of these differences (and others) men and women are just naturally going to havedifficulties relating to each other. Women will just naturally have difficulties understanding why their husbands spend so much time and money on sports. Men will just naturally have difficulties understanding why their wives have to go places in packs with other women. So you can stop wondering because you’ll probably never understand it (unless you’re the same gender). Right?
If men and women are programmed differently that means they’ll never understand each other, right? Wrong. Despite all the many differences between men and women, there’s something that both genders can learn from each other. And nothing forces you to learn these things better than marriage.

Marriage Can Be a Healing Ground

There’s a cynical saying that goes something like this: ‘when you pick a spouse, you pick a set of problems’. Nobody’s perfect, so when you pick a spouse you pick them with all their imperfections and baggage in tow. But marriage, when done right, is a healing ground. It creates a safe place for both partners to take an honest look at themselves – baggage and all – and grow.  It challenges you to look at yourself in ways that you’re not comfortable with and provides a safe place for you to become better. And your patient and loving partner is there for you, helping you every step along the way.
So while women and men may be hardwired different, this can be a good thing for your relationship. Because they possess traits that you don’t, it gives you an opportunity to learn from and grow together with your spouse. Things you find annoying about them are really just growing grounds for you both. And when you and your partner grow together it creates an intimacy and passion that can’t be broken. And it’s all because of your gender.

5 Responses to Do Gender Differences Really Cause Marital Problems?

  1. Resolving gender differences is a challenge, but yet this is not a new phenomenon. Probably since before psychology or sociology these gender differences are already there.

    My question is, how is it that they resolve those issues in the past, and how come those solutions do not necessarily apply to today's culture

  2. Hey MFT-Kid,

    Thanks for your comment. It's insightful.

    I don't think those problems actually have been solved in the past. And I don't think there's anything to solve about them. In other words, I don't think there's anything wrong with them that require them to be solved.

    These gender differences described in the article are complementary. i.e. it's a natural way that couples complement each other and give strength to the other one's weakness.

    Again, thank you for your comment. I hope mine helped a little.

  3. There are no concrete explanations about this concern. Problems in marriage can be caused with different reasons and only the couple can fix this issue.

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