"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
August 24, 2011
I never realized how very different men and women were until after Jon and I had been married for a while. Sometimes it's more obvious than others. It's not that we're incompatible, but there are times when our perception and how we think about things are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. From what I understand, I think most couples are like this.
Recently I received this email forward, which explains it a bit better:
His And Her Diary For The Same Day:
Her Diary: "Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment about it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; he said, 'Nothing.' I asked if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior; I don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.' When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep -- I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster."
His Diary: "Boat wouldn't start; can't figure out why."
When I read that to Jon we both had a chuckle over it. We could both see ourselves in this scenario -- except Jon wouldn't be thinking about a boat, but a computer programming issue or strategy on a game he was playing. And I tend to obsess about things and think it surely must be my fault if Jon isn't "acting" like I think he should.
Women tend to over-think and over-analyze things; while men just take it at face value and let things go in one ear and out the other. Women tend to hold onto things and remember what happened and what was said for a long, long time; while men forget as soon as it happens, or so it seems. Women also tend to find details of great importance; while men are totally satisfied to only know the basics.
Jon can talk to one of his parents on the phone, and the minute he hangs up I'll ask, "So what did they have to say?" His response is typically, "I don't know." Really?!? Here is an intelligent man with a double major from TU in electrical engineering and software programming with a minor in math, who can remember difficult programming codes; yet he can't remember what someone told him on the phone 2 minutes ago!? I find that hard to comprehend. Yet I can repeat a whole conversation to Jon, pretty much verbatim, give details on where I was and what I was doing at the time, what someone was wearing and what their hair looked like; and Jon is amazed that I can do that.
Admittedly, there are times when something is bothering me and I want Jon to coax it out of me. I really want to tell him, but I feel petty or silly for feeling the way I do. It's hard for me to come right out and say what's on my mind, so I want him to "persuade" me to tell him. And sometimes I just want to know that he really does care and is willing to listen. If he asks me what's wrong while he's putting the daily online jigsaw puzzle together or playing a computer game or watching a sci-fi program on TV, then I don't feel like he's paying attention and doesn't really want to know what's going on. But that's not how Jon thinks! This is Jon's thinking: "If I ask you what's wrong or what's bothering you and you say nothing, then I'm going to go on and assume that you're telling me the truth and that it's really nothing." And my thinking is: "It's not that I'm lying to you. It's just that I want your full attention and want to know that you really do care and are willing to stop what you're doing and listen." I realize that a lot of things that are important to me or that upset me or frustrate me are things that Jon sees as being of no significance, and he can't understand why it's such a big deal for me. On the other hand, I don't understand how some things cannot be a big deal to him while other things that make no sense to me are. And honestly, there are times when Jon is trying to talk to me that I need to lay aside my book, even if I'm in a really exciting part, or close my laptop and listen to what he has to say. It's a two-way street and I need to make sure that I'm giving him my full attention when he's needing or wanting to discuss something important, or just wanting to talk with me.
The biggie that Jon and I definitely don't see eye to eye on is clothing; although Jon has come a long, long way since we first got married. Here is a man who still had t-shirts from his college days. Jon is 6 feet tall and has weighed more or less around 200 pounds since we got married; which is all muscle, of course! When he graduated high school he weighed in a whopping 120 pounds, so was quite a string-bean. He still had size medium shirts that hadn't fit him in several years and some were worn thin in spots. I think he had two pair of shoes; a newer pair of tennis shoes and a worn out pair for mowing or various projects. He had maybe 5-6 shirts and about 4-5 pair of black jeans. That was his wardrobe! And he saw no reason to expand it. And heaven forbid that I dare throw any old piece of clothing away without first showing him and getting his permission; even though it was worn out or hadn't fit him in years!! As I said, he's come a long, long way; probably due to the fact that I do all his shopping for him. I also think he finally figured out that if he'd let me buy new clothes and shoes for him throughout the year, then he wouldn't end up getting them for his birthday and Christmas every year and could get fun gifts instead!
But knowing how Jon felt about clothing and that he only wanted the basic necessities, it was a shaky area for the first few years. I would buy something, and Jon would look at me without saying anything, and I would start to feel guilty and start apologizing. Then he'd laugh and say, "I didn't say anything!", which would make me really irritated. Now I just assume he's joking, and it doesn't bother me to shop for the two of us. Jon used to say he couldn't understand why I'd need more than a couple pair of shoes. I thought he was joking!! I have asked Jon, "Surely, you don't think it would look good for me to wear a pair of tennis shoes with a really nice dress, do you?" To which he'd reply, "Why not?" I still can't believe that he is actually serious and think that would look okay! Honestly, the man cannot think that would look good! That might look cute for a toddler to wear together, but not an adult woman. I have told Jon that we are not going to go around dressed like two frumpy old people who look like they could care less about their appearance. He doesn't get it, but he has come to accept it. And he even asks for new clothes occasionally, now!!
I have learned that if I want Jon to know something, I can't beat around the bush, hoping that he'll figure it out and know what I'm getting at. It seems that if I hint, that Jon would pick up on those hints and figure it out himself. But when I leave it up to him, I generally end up disappointed because I wanted something and he didn't come through for me. The direct approach of saying what's on my mind or asking for something seems to be what works best; although I sometimes still find myself giving out those very straight-forward hints, hoping Jon will catch on.
I was visiting with my brother-in-law's two brothers a while back and they were telling me that their wives get upset with them for forgetting birthdays and anniversaries and not buying them what they wanted, and asked if I did that, or if Jon has forgotten my birthday or anniversary yet. I told them no, because I didn't give him the chance to. I remind Jon well beforehand and keep reminding him, and even make him a list of gift ideas for my birthday or Christmas, then we buy something together for our anniversary. Their response was that they weren't sure who had it worse, them or Jon; at least their wives didn't make them list of gift ideas. I told them at least I got what I wanted and Jon knew what to buy me.
But I've had to learn that being straight-forward is the best approach with Jon, although sometimes it would be nice if I could be more subtle. For instance, I cook quite a bit, and Jon loves it when I cook. But occasionally, I'm just not in the mood to cook. A few years ago, I'd hate to ask Jon to take me out to eat on those days, so I'd say, "I really don't want to cook." Jon's response was generally along the lines of, "Just make something easy, like chicken tenders and mac 'n cheese." I'd get aggravated and think to myself, "What part of 'I don't want to cook' does he not get?! Even if it's something easy, I still have to cook it and clean up afterward!" Jon thought he was being considerate by suggesting an easy meal; I thought he was being inconsiderate by still wanting me to cook even though I didn't want to. There are days when I want a break where I don't have to be in the kitchen; I don't want to cook, and not have to empty or fill the dishwasher, nor do I want to clean up. I finally told Jon, "You know what? When I say I am not in the mood to cook, I really mean that I'm not in the mood to cook. That doesn't mean I want you to make suggestions on something to fix, or that I want to make something simple. I really am serious that I absolutely do not want to cook." Jon got the message, and now when I say that, he understands what I mean and he'll take me out to eat.
The ironic thing is, there have been times when Jon thought he was being amazingly, undeniably obvious about his thoughts or feelings, and I didn't seem to notice. He thought he was being so un-subtle there was no need to talk about it because surely I already knew. When he mentioned it later, he found out that I was completely clueless, which was hard for him to understand. So it really is important for couples to openly communicate and not hold things inside, assuming that the other person is being insensitive or ignoring you.
I know that men tend to think that women often over-communicate; and women think that men almost always under-communicate. And we women probably do need to say clearly what's on our mind, and not leave it up to our spouse to figure it out. That leaves the door open for hurt feelings, because we think our guys should know us well enough to know what's on our mind. After all, we can read our husbands' minds more often than not, and when we can't we ask. And since we are more prone to tell our husband what we're thinking, then we assume that they should do the same.
This is generally the conversation between me and Jon when he comes home from work. (Me) "How was your day?" (Jon) "Fine." (Me) "Did you get a lot work done on any of your projects?" (Jon) "I think so." (Me) "So what did you have for lunch?" (Jon) "I don't remember." The point is, I'm interested in his day and try to get him to tell me about it. To him, it was just another day at the office and there's nothing to tell. On the other hand, I'll volunteer all the information about my day, in great detail! I'll tell Jon what all I did from the time he left until he got home; where I may have gone that day and what I bought; who I saw and talked to; who called me on the phone; what I had for lunch, etc.
Jon has often accused me of being able to read his mind, while he generally has no idea what I'm thinking. He's also accused me of confusing him with my conversation by jumping from subject to subject, and he's unable to follow what I'm talking about. And then there's the idea that I blindside him by saying something out of the blue and he'll say, "Where did that come from??" But I have to say that there are times when Jon will come up with something that catches me off guard or by surprise; or I'll wonder what in the world he's thinking.
I know that I am much more emotional than Jon is. There are times when I'll cry for seemingly no reason; I'll laugh at something that's really not all that funny; I get more upset than Jon does if I think someone has said or done something to hurt him; and I tend to worry and fret about things much more than Jon.
The truth is, men and women are different. That's how it's been since the beginning of time. I'm sure there were times when Adam looked at Eve and thought much the same things that men have thought about their wives throughout history, "Lord, thank You for blessing me with this woman, but she sure can drive me nuts some days! I love her, but I don't understand her!" And there must have been times when Eve wished Adam was more understanding, more communicative, and would stop what he was doing and sit down and talk with her. Can't you just hear Adam, "Eve you already have one fig-leaf dress to wear! Why would you need more? After all, you can only wear one at a time."
There truly is a lot that we can learn from one another. Since we've been married, Jon has opened my eyes to see some things differently than I did before. He's encouraged me to experience new things and been my biggest supporter. We complement one another; meaning we enhance, improve and complete each other. I can honestly say that my life is much fuller and richer sharing my life with Jon, than it was when I was single. I thank God every day for bringing me and Jon together. So don't read this and think that I'm mad at my husband or criticizing him. I'm merely pointing out that we are two very different people. Just because you get married doesn't mean that you and your spouse automatically like the same things and have the exact same interest. It doesn't mean that you will always agree or see eye to eye on every issue. And it doesn't mean that you'll think the same and have the same point of view all the time. That could get really boring! We're still our own person with our individual personalities. But we become one through marriage. And we work together to make our marriage and relationship the best and strongest possible. Our differences doesn't have to be a thorn in our side; but can enrich and enhance our lives. I'm glad that Jon isn't exactly like me, and I'm sure he feels the same about me. We don't always have to understand someone to love them. And I do absolutely adore and love my husband!
Eve was created to become a helpmate for Adam. They were to support and encourage each other and work side by side to accomplish what God placed before them to do. They were to assist each other. And that's what spouses are to do today. It hasn't changed over the years.
Genesis 2:18 says, "And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him."
God didn't create Eve to be a clone or exact replica of Adam. He made them different, each with their own unique personalities and abilities. They were created to compliment one another. God didn't say that Adam shouldn't be alone so He'd make a servant for Adam to rule over. But God said it wasn't good for man to be alone, so He would create a help-mate suitable for Adam. Husbands and wives are designed to be partners. With all the differences between men and women, God created and designed all us uniquely and exactly as He wants us to be.
I SO need rebuttal time.
I don't really think it's that men have less emotions than women. They're usually simpler. And we don't usually let them overcome us. And we can almost always explain where they came from. That is, if we really want to.
I think 'Home Improvement' explained it best with one simple scene. Tim and Al had a lot of heartfelt emotions to get off their chests. I think Tim was apologizing to Al for years of insults, and Al was accepting the apology. In the whole scene, they never said a single word. It was just expressions, sighs, and grunts. They gave subtitles for the women in the audience. But it was perfectly clear to men.
When men know each other well, we can share all we need to with a look, a sigh, maybe even a grunt, or punch to a shoulder. When we know women well, we just expect to get away with the same thing. But I don't recommend ever punching your wife in the shoulder!
And I do remember most of my conversations, but only a detail at a time. I remember things in the right context, but have a hard time repeating back two minutes of conversation verbatim on short notice.
And finally, I do share quite a bit about my work day. But honestly, my line of work can be amazingly boring, even to other people in the same field. Spending the day tracking down several bugs, finally tracking down a pressure sensor with the right size pipe fitting and LCD display, and working out a good way to show the position of a set of valves, doesn't sound like a good story to share. And when I have tried talking about the most exciting parts of my most exciting days, even Loretta gets that familiar glazed-eyed look and tries to change the subject.
Oh, and I've tried turning off the TV, turning away from the computer, and asking, "How are you, is anything wrong?", and got the usual, "Oh, nothing."
I hope we don't sound like we're having an argument to share with anyone willing to read it. We've joked and talked about our differences a lot. And it isn't something we are angry about (at least usually). But it has really helped us to recognized those differences and to try to understand each other.
Life would be pretty boring if we were all the same. We might understand each other better, but then we wouldn't get to enjoy getting to learn from and about each other. We wouldn't have anything to talk about. Hmm... on second thought... No, that wouldn't be a good thing.
Oreo Cookie Dessert
1 pkg. Oreo cookies
1 pkg. Chocolate Chips
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 can evaporated milk
2 sticks butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Mash Oreo cookies in a ziplock bag. Melt 1 stick butter and mix with the crushed cookies and pat into a 9x13 cake pan. Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. In a small saucepan put chocolate chips, 1 stick butter and evaporated milk; cook until chips are melted. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Scoop ice cream 1/2-1 inch thick and spread over Oreo crust. Pour the fudge sauce you made over the top; sprinkle with nuts, if desired. Put in freezer until ready to serve.
My niece, Janee', is a school teacher and had to go back to work last week. She had meetings on Monday and Tuesday, then classes started on Wednesday. On Monday, she took Jax (her 2 year old son) to the in-home daycare where he went all last school year. After a couple hours, Ms. Kim called Janee' and told her that she needed to come pick Jax up because he was sick and had thrown up four times. Janee' called to see if I could meet her at her school and watch Jax for the day, so while she went to pick him up I headed to the school. As soon as Janee' got to Ms. Kim's home and picked Jax up he sniffed a couple times then said, "Hi mommy!" in a cheerful voice. He was an absolute perfect angel for me all day long; not crying or whining or getting into things. In fact, after lunch Jax was playing with toys so I went into the utility room to take clothes out of my dryer. He followed me in there to see what I was doing, then I heard him rattling around in the living room. A minute later I heard this little boy voice saying, "'retta, where are you?" I went into the living room and no Jax. I asked where he was and again I hear, "'retta where are you?" and knew it was coming from upstairs. Jax had climbed the stairs, climbed into our bed, and was laying there underneath the sheet with his head propped up on a pillow. He said, "Turn cartoon on." I did, and he was asleep in 5 minutes. This is a little boy who has NEVER put himself down for a nap!! On the way home his mom told him that the next day he was going to Ms. Kim's. He told her, "Jax will cry.... go to 'retta's house?!" His 2-year old little mind had been plotting all day: "I'll show Aunt 'retta how good I can be; tell mommy that I will cry; then I can go back to 'retta's house!" I'm his backup babysitter and don't mind keeping him occasionally, but have too much going on to take him on full-time. Plus his other babysitter is really good, he has other kids to play with, and it's right by his mommy's work which is convenient. The next morning on the way to Ms. Kim's house he told his mama that he was going to cry! Thankfully, he did fine and only cried once. What a little stinker!! I thought perhaps I was being paid back for my kindergarten year, when I cried every single school day, all year long!
"Before you criticize your spouse's taste, remember, they chose you."
We love you!
Loretta & Jon