"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:18, 24). A strong case is made from the beginning that we, as men and women, need companionship with each other. Men are women compliment and complete each other. Masculine/feminine, male/female, man/woman, the two genders were meant to be together. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
Without a doubt, traditional gender differences exist as an interplay between biological/instinctive influences, in combination with societal conditioning and individual personality traits. A number of gender traits are discussed below:
In the classic 1974 Bem Sex Role Inventory, the following 20 traits were identified as "masculine":
self-reliant, defends own beliefs, independent, athletic, assertive, strong personality, forceful, analytical, leadership ability, willing to take risks, makes decisions easily, self-sufficient, dominant, masculine, willing to take a stand, aggressive, competitive, ambitious
And the following 20 traits were identified as "feminine":
yielding, cheerful, shy, affectionate, flatterable, loyal, feminine, sympathetic, sensitive to other's needs, understanding, compassionate, eager to soothe hurt feelings, soft-spoken, warm, tender, gullible, childlike, does not use harsh language, loves children, gentle
Now, we know today that not all men strongly exhibit those kind of masculine traits and not all women strongly exhibit those kind of feminine traits. There are definitely exceptions both directions. However, in most marriages, one spouse (usually the man) tends to exhibit more of those masculine traits more of the time, while the other spouse (usually the woman) tends to exhibit more feminine traits more of the time. Opposites often attract in many of these ways. And when demonstrated with mutual love, consideration, sensitivity, and respect, the blending together of such complimentary traits offers stability, security, and strength to families and society as a whole.
Our LDS General Authorities have clearly reinforced the idea that gender and gender differences are important traits that can serve to strengthen couples, families, and communities. From The Family: A Proclamation to the World, it states:
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
Implications for Relationships
As a clinical psychologist, a marriage & family therapist, and a fellow LDS member, I encourage everyone to learn about gender differences and relationships. And with this knowledge, work to demonstrate understanding, sensitivity, and consideration of such differences. Such understanding will give you a great tool to strengthen and preserve your relationship. Conflict, contention, and misunderstanding lessen. Harmony, peace, and unity increase, and general relationship satisfaction follows.
Some decent books for understanding of gender differences are as follows:
Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray
You Just Don't Understand! and That's Not What I Meant! by Deborah Tannen
Knowledge is power. I encourage you to learn about this important topic. Your learning will be invaluable to your future marriage, as well as parenting, dealing with coworkers, and the opposite sex in general. Good luck in your journey. As they say in France, "enjoy the difference".
**To readers: to submit a question to Dr. G for a future Q and A column, please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please register for a free account at www.ldsdimension.com for access to previous and future Dr. G articles.
|2017-06-29||Randy Gilchrist||Understanding men, Understanding women, Healthy relationships|
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 (www.dr-rg.com), 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 email@example.com. 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 www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).