Men and women are different. Duh! But how different are they? The popular book, Men Are from Mars and Women Are from Venus attempted to explain how men and women are different. Men are usually visually stimulated or activated, while women respond to words and presence. These are often expressed as men respond to affection, while women appreciate thinking and expressiveness. I have come to explain the differences between men and women using the phrase, “Head and Bed.”
A Woman’s Place is in a Man’s Thoughts (Head)
Where in a man’s life does a woman find a place, safety, security, and belonging? As a man shares his past, present, and future thoughts and feelings, aspirations, hopes, and dreams he opens his mind and heart with her. Being playful, using humor seeking her thoughts and opinions and having meaningful conversations with her, gives her belonging, place, and significance in his life. Equally, when he only has eyes for her and tells her how beautiful, intelligent, and loved she is, she feels connected and cared for by him. A man’s humor, playfulness, and wittiness are another way she finds belonging and meaning in his thoughts or head.
Pornography, gazing, staring, or gawking at other women and sharing more of their views, perspectives or thoughts with another woman, she may feel threatened, hurt, and often betrayed. Comparing a man’s head to a beautifully appointed room, it’s a man’s responsibility to appoint that room with her colors, and furnishings and maintain the room so that she feels comfortable and can rest there. This is expressing yourself in kind and gentle ways so she knows you treasure and cherish her. Allowing other women into your “head space” shares her place with other women when she may not have invited them into her place in your life.
A Man’s Place is in a Woman’s Affection (Bed)
At the same time, wherein a woman’s life does a man find meaning, security, and belonging? In a completely different way, men find belonging, significance, place, and meaning in a woman’s life when she opens herself to him sexually. Intercourse, in the context of a committed and exclusive relationship (marriage), both establishes and reveals the sacred bond a man wants with his partner. Assuming the physical position necessary for intercourse expresses vulnerability and susceptibility to her partner. Historically, men have been known to kill other men for being in their place. Obviously, this does not justify murder, but it does indicate the significance of this place for men.
Clearly, intercourse has been cheapened in a variety of ways so that from a societal perspective, it has far less significance as a place of belonging and meaning when women are objectified and dehumanized for the sake of sex. Both men and women are responsible for this just in different ways. Men, mistakenly think that jokes, groping, and making casual references to sex are attractive to women, when in fact, most women feel objectified. These behaviors are incredibly unattractive, immature, and repugnant to women because they are self-serving to the man.
As men assume responsibility for providing an uncontaminated, loving, caring, nurturing place for a woman thinking of her, only having eyes for her and preserving her place in his life, trust begins to build between the sexes. Equally, receiving this effort on a man’s part, believing the best about him, allows a woman to open herself to him sexually trusting they are mutually invested in the relationship, just in different ways.
Your Ultimate Place of Belonging
Your ultimate place of belonging and meaning in life is a spiritual place. Your marriage relationship is a picture of what it means to find meaning and belonging untethered to this world or another person. The commitment God makes with you is based on who God is and unbreakable. Equally, the commitment you make “before God and these witnesses” is the outgrowth of God’s commitment to each of you. Therefore, the ultimate place of belonging and commitment is based on God’s acceptance and love for you. Your ability to receive is the limiting factor, not God’s ability to give. Just look around. God is giving all the time. How you receive the place God provides is about you. Receive God’s place in your life freely, niether owing nor deserving anything and this sets the frame for your place of belonging and meaning not only with your partner, but with God.