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Brain Science: How DOES a man’s mind really work?

February 9, 2011

So, if men are not women, and we should not expect our relationship with our man to be like our friendships with other women… how does his mind really work, and how can I effectively communicate my love to him?

Let me start with this quote from Sacred Influence:

You’ll be trying to live a science-fiction novel if you ever expect to fully understand your husband. He probably can’t even understand himself! Men seem better able to accept this, while wives often feel as though they have to understand their husbands. Sometimes, you simply have to accept that this is the way a guy is – and love him accordingly.

That said, there are some things about men that we can begin to understand in a little more detail (phew!). Many conflicts in marriage crop up not between two individuals but between two sexes. In his book, Gary Thomas stresses the importance of understanding how to approach your husband:

If you accept every other strategy in this book and still approach your husband like you would a close friend or a daughter, expect to fail.

Today’s Tip:  Give Him Time

Neurological studies indicate that men may take up to seven hours longer than women to process complex emotional data. Why? Is this because they simply are too lazy to be bothered with sorting through their feelings? That’s certainly what I used to think. Well, aside from the fact that men have 15% less blood flow to their brains, they also have a smaller hippocampus (the part of the limbic system that processes emotional experiences). Women have more neural pathways to and from the emotive centers of the brain, and the connecting bundle of nerves between the right and left side of the brain (which allows for the processing of thoughts and talk with emotions) is 25% smaller in men than in women.

So, when I inadvertently hurt Yeadon’s feelings with a careless comment at breakfast and he snaps at me, I immediately want to talk through our conflict, but he is probably not going to be ready to do that until he gets home from work in the evening!  That I can deal with.  The worst (for me) is when we get into an argument in the evening, and I want to resolve everything before bedtime… but he’s not ready, and he just gets more and more upset the more I try to talk about it, and eventually he just completely checks out and falls asleep while I lie there crying!  He needs more time to process. Even though I am ready to process, he feels unfairly put on the spot, and he is, because his brain is just in the beginning stages of processing the situation.

Here’s a suggestion… let’s both compromise a little. I need to learn to be patient and not demand that Yeadon work through emotional conflict with me immediately. I should try to give him a heads-up that I would like to talk about it in a few hours…and then I need to shut up about it until later.  He, in turn, could be diligent in thinking about it over the course of the day and discussing it with me after a few hours, even though it still might be uncomfortable for him.

Wow… marriage is so complex!  I love what Ann Voskamp wrote today:  Love is not passion. It is the pulse of sacrifice.

Tomorrow’s post is on why men stonewall and why women want to verbally work through everything…

Disclaimer:  I am not attempting to give men a free pass to be jerks. My goal is to help women understand what’s going on in our men’s minds so that we can have reasonable expectations, and move forward from there. In a marriage, both the man and the woman are going to have to realize that we work differently and learn to be compassionate toward one another, step out of our comfort zone a bit, and make a conscious effort to bless the other in a way that is felt by the other to be a blessing.

Daily Links:

Ann Voskamp has a phenomenal post today titled How to {make} Love


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7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2011 9:21 PM

    I love how scientifically this was explained to me and it makes perfect sense. My only other reason was that men just were jerks by nature.
    Giving someone time seems like a wise choice.
    thanks for the useful info.

    • February 9, 2011 11:24 PM

      HAHAHA! Yeah, the men are just jerks by nature was the explanation that seemed to be the mainstream thing, and I figured there had to be more to it! Keep your eyes peeled for more posts with more tips… or better yet read one or both of those books I mentioned. Absolutely fascinating. Who knew a non-fiction book could be such a page-turner?!

  2. Esther Burke permalink
    February 10, 2011 10:30 AM

    How true that quote seems! (“Love…the pulse of sacrifice”) for any difficult, family R: i.e., children, parents. May sacrifice for a husband some day.

    • February 17, 2011 9:08 PM

      praying for a great one for you!

  3. February 11, 2011 9:34 AM

    Again—fascinating stuff!

  4. February 13, 2011 12:38 PM

    How can men understand women and women understand men when the basic chemistry is different? Testosterone. We can only relate with human feelings common to us. The mystery has to remain. There can never be honey in our voices and beards on your faces. That’s the way the design is. Interesting.

    • February 17, 2011 9:00 PM

      good thoughts. I think that men and women experience a lot of the same emotions, but they are triggered by different situations.

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