While attending services at First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City, NY this past Sunday, I listened to Pastor Robert Peak talk about relationships—especially the difference between men and women. He had a great analogy: the differences were not, according to him, the obvious gender-related physical attributes, but rather the brain processing styles of each. Thanks to marriage counselor, Mark Gungor, this explains a great deal.
Men’s brains are like shoe stores: both are filled with many “boxes,” or compartments, of products and information. When a man needs to go to work, for example, he opens up his “going to work” box (part of the brain), and he goes to work until the work is done. At the day’s end he closes the box and puts it away. His next action might be located in the “cut the lawn” area of his brain, where he accesses the necessary info to cut the lawn. All of these “boxes” become a succession of thoughts and actions neatly stored and routinely resourced by men.
Women’s brains are like spaghetti. Each individual thought has a beginning and end; but most thoughts encounter other things along the way, becoming enmeshed in other experiences and probable outcomes. Some people call it multi-tasking; others are hard-pressed to figure out the pattern. Yet women access multiple areas of the brain simultaneously, blending thoughts and emotions more readily than men.
The thought processes shared by both men and women involve relationship building. Let’s refer to them here as the three “Cs:” Call, Cost, and Calm.
The call occurs when there is an allure to someone or something, a signal that we recognize as desire. The call is what we notice in our everyday lives. We agree to acknowledge it and accept it. The cost arrives much later when we begin to realize that we may need to adapt to the new thing or being. We measure, either actively or passively, how much adaptation we are willing to forgo. Lastly, the calm becomes the resolve of our relationship with that thing or being. We get used to it, allowing our brain to become engrained with the new presence.
Let’s not forget that men, women and circumstances change. We will always question the ways of our own lives and those we love. We may have to revisit the call, the cost, and the calm over and over again. That’s mostly because of our nature and our human brains.