Carecell Topic February 10, 2007 Understanding the Opposite Sex.


Understanding the Opposite Sex
By Patrick Tan

misunderstanding. Note that each relationship in case study does not necessarily imply a romantic relationship. )

ICEBREAKER 1. Have the group divide themselves between men and women and list 3 things they do not understand (or have a hard time accepting) about the opposite sex's general personality, ways and perspective. Reconvene and each group will take turn in stating each point and allow the other group to explain or react. 2. Ask: Did it come to a point that differences between men and women created conflict and misunderstanding between the two sides? Share.

1. Problem solving. Eli wants to "solve" problems. Bianca wants to solve them eventually, but also just to talk about them. For Bianca, talking about problems establishes relationship with Eli, by sharing thoughts, opinions and values. Suppose Bianca mentions a problem she is having with her peers. She knows there is no easy solution. She just wants to talk about it, to explore the options. Eli, not realizing this, proposes a solution. Now Eli is done with the subject, and he thinks Bianca should be done as well. But Bianca wants to keep talking. The result? Bianca feels insulted, because she thinks he was rejecting her bid for a closer relationship. Eli also feels insulted, because Bianca did not accept his solution, thus implying that he did not have mastery over the situation. Neither intended to insult the other. They just needed to understand their different approaches to problem solving.

DISCUSSION A major source of misunderstanding between men and women is the way they are wired differently, whether genetic (how God created us) or learned.

2. Dealing with stress. Travis deals with stress by being alone. This is consistent with his desire for mastery. He needs to be alone, to master the situation on his own. Jasmine deals with stress by getting together with other people. This is consistent with her desire for community. Jasmine can't understand why Travis wants to be alone when he is upset. She takes it as a rejection of her. (It's not.) Travis can't understand why Jasmine goes on and on about the stress she's under, instead of working out what she's going to do about it. He takes it as incompetence, but really she's looking for emotional support, not solutions.

Here's the bottom line: Men strive for mastery. Women strive for intimacy. (Webster defines mastery as the authority of a master, dominance or possession of great skill or technique.) Men are natural-born competitors striving for the upper hand. Women desire relationship (not necessarily romantic). Thus, men focus on accomplishment, success and possessions. And women focus on relationships and community. These points are gross generalizations, but there does appear to be a great deal of insight in them.

The effect of these differences is that men and women misread each other in areas such as: (Read each case study and discuss what could have been done to avoid

3. What Men and Women Want? Gian wants to feel needed. His desire to be needed corresponds with his desire for mastery: he is needed because he has mastered things – providing, fixing things etc. Janelle mainly wants to feel cherished. It is not the case that Janelle's primary desire is to feel (materially) provided for. Gian tends to feel that as long as he is providing, that Janelle should feel appreciative and content. It is true that Janelle does not want lack, she nonetheless primarily wants something different. That is, she wants to feel cherished and loved. Janelle's desire for community corresponds with Janelle's desire to be cherished: feeling cherished gives her a feeling of belonging, a feeling of community.

Carecell Topic February 10, 2007 Understanding the Opposite Sex.patricktan

By looking our relationships this way, men and women can learn to understand each other's basic needs. This understanding can strengthen our relationship with the opposite sex.

References 1. http://www.familyla wsoftware. com/splitgen/ sp/gn/understand ingtheoppositese x.htm 2. http://www.m- /mastery

What does the Bible say about this issue? 1. Galatians 3:26-29. More than friends, lovers, siblings, as believers we are part of God's family through Christ. Therefore "there is neither … male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This means through Christ we are all equal in the eyes of God because we are His children. The more we are to respect each other's feelings and perspectives as brothers and sisters in Christ. 2. Philippians 2:3-4. And more than respecting each other, let us exercise a spirit of humility by "[looking] not only to [our] own interests" or harboring selfish motives. Let us be the bigger man/woman (be mature). 3. Read Titus 2:1-7. Divide group according to gender and let them define each attribute/character that Paul urges each gender groups (older/younger men, older/younger women) in the church to acquire: a. Older men: temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love and in endurance, be an example to younger men. b. Older women: reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers, teach what is good, be example to younger women. c. Younger women: Love their (friends), self-controlled and purity (sexually), kind, submissive d. Younger men: Self-controlled (sexually), do what is good, integrity, seriousness, soundness of speech