It’s really true: opposites do attract.
If you’re married, then you’ve likely experienced it in countless ways. Your spouse sees the world through entirely different eyes. You fall asleep to noise, but your spouse needs quiet. You’re a night owl, but your spouse enjoys mornings. For the most part, with a little communication, these differences can be navigated.
But sometimes it’s differences in communication itself that are the problem.
That dilemma is captured imaginatively in the title of a book written by today’s guests, Bill and Pam Farrel: “Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.”
It’s a simple word picture to illustrate the inherent differences between men and women. For a lot of women, conversation is like a plate of spaghetti. The noodles run in random directions, and they’re all touching each other. That’s an analogy for how, at least from a guy’s perspective, conversation seems to jump from one subject to the next and can run in what appear to be random directions.
In contrast, waffles are an image for how guys typically process information and engage in conversation. The top of a waffle looks like a series of boxes, and those boxes are separated from one another by walls.
Generally speaking, a man’s focus is limited to one box at a time and one box only. When a man is at work, his attention is on his work. When he’s watching a game on television, he’s concentrating on what’s happening in the game. In practical terms, that means it’s difficult for a man engaged in another activity to switch gears suddenly and enter into meaningful conversation with his wife.
Admittedly, the imagery oversimplifies the complexities of what happens between a husband and wife, but it’s a good visual that can help couples understand the dynamics of their relationship. And that’s something that’s desperately needed in a lot of homes. We hear from couples on a regular basis who have been married for 20 years, 30 years, or even longer, who still haven’t figured out why they can’t get on the same page with one another.
In many cases, they interpret their spouse’s behavior as stubborn refusal to change instead of unique characteristics wired into them by God. Our challenge as couples isn’t to demand that our spouse act and think just like us but to accept his or her God-given design and learn to respect and accommodate each other. Romans 15:7 says, “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God” (NASB). When it comes to inherent gender differences, acceptance is key.
That’s why today’s program is so important. A couple’s differences don’t need to be obstacles to building a healthy relationship. In fact, our spouse’s strengths are meant to complement our weaknesses. With patience, we can learn to embrace our spouse’s unique view of life, and as we do, we’ll find our marriages strengthened and enriched.
I hope you’ll join us for our conversation with the Farrels. Bill and Pam are the cofounders of Love-Wise, an organization that helps couples build lasting relationships through books and seminars. I think you’ll find our discussion insightful and will walk away feeling better equipped to break through to more meaningful communication with your spouse.