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Have you ever heard a sermon and thought the Pastor was talking just about you? How about when reading a book and thought that the author knew you personally? Well, when reading the book “Men Are Like Waffles and Women Are Like Spaghetti” by Bill and Pam Farrell, I had to laugh because it seemed like the authors knew us personally.
The Farrell’s compare men to waffles because men generally organize their life into boxes. The image of a waffle provides the picture of storage spaces divided by walls. Men tend to put their thoughts and actions into separate boxes with only one issue in each box. When a man is working, he is working. When he is playing golf, he only thinks about playing golf. Ever noticed a man watching a football game, does he look like he is in a trance? This behavior is referred to as compartmentalizing, that is, putting tasks and actions into separate boxes.
When faced with a problem men put the problem in one box, analyze the problem, and develop a solution for that problem. How many times has a man in your life said, “I am bottom line oriented”? Men tend to be very solution, success focused.
Women’s way of dealing with life is compared to a bowl of spaghetti with a web of noodles all intertwined in the bowl. A woman’s thoughts are like spaghetti in that they wind around, intersecting, and changing directions. For a woman, every thought is connected, and every thought brings up other issues to be handled. For this reason, generally women are better multitaskers. Can your wife do laundry, make dinner, help the kids with their homework and talk on the phone all the same time without missing a beat? Probably.
So what does this mean for us as couples?
First, understand that a man views communication as a situation looking for a solution. A man will communicate when there is a purpose or solution to be found. Again, a phrase heard frequently at our house: is there a point to be made soon? Or, my favorite, can I get the cliff notes version, not an epistle, please.
Second, understand that women connect everything together. When you ask your wife how did your day go, the answer might sound like this. Great. I finished the budget for Johnny’s football fundraiser. It really makes me feel connected to him when I work on his football issues. Billy’s Mom got a new van; it will seat eight of the kids. Janie needs a ride to choir practice tonight. I think that Fred and Martha will be there and I can give her that recipe she has been asking for. Their anniversary is coming up soon. For the men reading this paragraph, you probably cannot see any connection between these thoughts. For the women, the thoughts logically flow.
Third, understand the benefits of your differences. Steve Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, holds that strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
Fourth, build on your differences. Take a few minutes, think about a time when you had an exchange that matched the examples above. Now pull apart those moments with the idea of finding a way to understand and utilize your differences.
Moreover, feel free to laugh.
The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:20-24
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