63 – The Difference Between Men and Women
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought you might enjoy this humorous parable we recently ran across by columnist Dave Barry. Although it is a caricature, you might see enough of yourself to hit home.
Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.
And then one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”
And then there is silence in the car.
To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself, Gee, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.
And Roger is thinking: Gosh, six months.
And Elaine is thinking: Buy, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want s to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward…I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy?
Are we headed toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?
And Roger is thinking: So, that means it was…let’s see…February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means…let me check the odometer…Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.
And Elaine is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed, even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.
And Roger is thinking: And I’m going to have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.00.
And Elaine is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.
And Roger is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90 day warranty…scumballs.
And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.
And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it in their ear.
“Roger” Elaine says aloud.
“What?” says Roger, startled.
“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have…Oh I feel so…”
(she breaks down sobbing)
“What?” says Roger.
“I’m such a fool.” Elaine sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”
“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Elaine says.
” NO!” says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.
“It’s just that…it’s that I…I need some time.” Elaine says.
“Yes” he says.
Elaine, deeply moved, touches, his hand. “Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?” she says.
“What way?” says Roger.
“That way about time,” says Elaine.
“Oh,” says Roger. “Yes.”
Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At least she speaks.
“Thank you Roger,” she says.
“Thank you,” says Roger.
Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted tortured soul, and weeps until dawn.
When Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.
The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.
They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.
Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say, “Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?”
And that’s the difference between men and women.
(1 Peter 3:7, NIV). For men, being considerate often requires that we make an extra effort to communicate with our wives. Take the following steps:
1. Read this story aloud with your wife. Reminisce about time in your relationship when there has been a lack of communication. What problems were caused? How did you handle them?
2. Ask your wife if she is pleased with the level of communication and intimacy in your marriage. Follow up by developing a plan with a few simple steps (such as sending her an “I love you” email from work, taking a late night walk, buy flowers once a month, pray with her every morning, etc.) to increase your intimacy.
My next steps. . .
Place this newsletter in a place where you will see it again in a month or two so you can check your progress.
Business leader, author, and speaker, Patrick Morley helps men to think more deeply about their lives, to be reconciled with Christ, and to be equipped for a larger impact on the world.
© 1998. Patrick M. Morley. All rights reserved.