Dealing with Differences

Dealing with Differences In general, the more similar couples are--with their attitudes, interests, politics, religious ideas, hobbies, and so on--the bigger the advantage they have. It becomes easier to get along, to bond, and to have agreeable and enjoyable time together. However, men and women will still be…different in many ways. We naturally think, act, and feel differently. We interpret the world differently. Such differences can potentially cause frustration, conflict, and misunderstanding. So, how do couples best understand and navigate these differences?

Suggestions to Deal with Differences:

*Communicate—the more openly, clearly, and effectively both sides communicate their thoughts, feelings, and requests, the better the other side can understand and work with where the other side is coming from. That doesn’t necessarily mean both sides will “agree” with each other, but understanding is very helpful to get where the other side is coming from—which is a good start. So, to support the other side opening up and communicating, the second person will help the effort greatly by listening with validation, empathy, and understanding.

For more ideas and suggestions on communication and listening skills, see:

*Compromise—sometimes when both sides want something quite opposite from the other, coming to a decision that will totally satisfy both sides is difficult if not impossible to accomplish. Therefore, sometimes the best a couple can hope for is to create a “workable compromise” that both sides can live with. The spirit of compromise may include one or more of the following approaches:

*My way when I do it, your way when you do it.
*My way this time, your way next time.
*Part of what I want with part of what you want.
*If you'll do this for me, I'll do this for you.
*We'll try it my way this time, and if you don't like it you can veto it.

For more ideas and information on compromising together, see:

*Try Something New—when you and your partner are very different and don’t have much in common (or you simply desire to have more in common), find and try some new things together. Sports, exercise, hobbies, travelling, food, it doesn’t matter the interest. Have it be something new and something that sounds fun and interesting to both sides. Experiment and engage in some trial and error. Become open to trying new things. Keep those activities that you both enjoy, drop the rest. The important thing is that you build what you do together. Logically, your differences will lessen as what you have in common grows.

*Learn About Gender Differences—study about the differences between men and women from a great wealth of information that exists today. One cultural fallacy that some promote today is that men and women are basically the same, except for a few socialized differences. Not true. So study. Observe. Discuss. Learn about how and why men and women are different: biologically, emotionally, psychologically, and relationally. Understand and appreciate these differences. Don’t fight against them or get mad about them. Work with these differences.

Here are a few articles to give you an introduction to gender differences:

In addition, here are some decent and useful books on gender differences:

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray
You Just Don’t Understand! by Deborah Tannen
That’s Not What I Meant! by Deborah Tannen

Final Thoughts

Men and women are different in certain ways. But these differences can be worked with. You can understand each other better. You can compromise with each other. You can develop new joint interests together. Be committed to work through differences, which don’t need to divide you. And finally, enjoy the differences. Differences between men and women in a relationship make life interesting and meaningful. Work with these differences, not against them. Hopefully, the ideas and resources shared in this article can help you navigate your differences. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11

Dr. G
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at

2019-05-13 Randy Gilchrist Dating, Healthy relationships, Communication, Conflict resolution

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to