5 Incorrect Expectations of Men and Women
By Umm Zahra – Freelance writer
1. My partner should be just like me.
People in relationships often have strong expectations that their partner should be just like they are. He/she must exhibit the same attitudes, perceptions and behaviours. However, know that even twins are different in their own ways. Diversity is part of Allah’s (swt) grand plan. You cannot change your partner’s attitudes and behaviours, unless they themselves are motivated to do so. But you can make Dua and support them with loving kindness and patience.
2. Gender differences are not so huge.
Whether you like it or not, men are from Mars and women are from Venus. This is a very famous analogy Professor John Gray used in his book and other work in the field of gender communication and relationship building, long time back in 1992. Men and women both need to learn and understand genuinely these primary gender differences about themselves and their partners to explain their choices. Also, respect that you are even less likely to change each other’s natural gender characteristics. Hence, it is wise not to build your own emotions around it; otherwise, you will be guaranteed unhappy.
3. What makes me happy is what makes my partner happy, too.
You should know that you both will perceive happiness differently. Also, that your partner’s need of happiness is not the same as yours. Actually, men and women are opposite in many ways. That is how the attraction builds. Men have great needs for status and independence. Women have needs for intimacy and connection. Men avoid housework, try to get others to do it at all costs and feel demeaned by doing it. For women, cleanliness of house is a manifestation of a warm, homey nest. Men and women also have different thresholds for cleanliness and dirt. Men need to receive trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement. While women need to receive care, understanding, respect, devotion, validation, and reassurance.
4. Not able to consider the other’s point of view.
The most frequent complain men have about women: “Women are always trying to change them.” The most frequent complaint women have about men: “Men don’t listen.” The basic reason for that is because women show care by offering unsolicited advice, which damages a man more than helps him. He wants to feel loved most, when he has been wrong. Whereas men offer care by offering solutions to women, who just want to be heard with empathy and do not need a rescue plan. When we do not know each other’s behavioral differences, we end up hurting each other even with the best of intentions.
5. Differences mean weakness.
Not at all – in realty, differences mean strength. It is very important to educate ourself, as to the basic gender differences, which exist between men and women, and accept the fact that the differences are there, they are real, and they are not going away. They are like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that fit perfectly together, if we do not resist each other’s preferences. It is commonly known that when Ali (rtam) and Fatimah (rtaf), one of the most loving married couples, had a conflict between them, the Prophet (sa) did not take sides; rather, he assigned specific roles to both according to their innate nature. Inside the house it was Fatimah’s (rtaf) responsibility to manage tasks, whereas outside, Ali (rtam) was to take care of things. In this way they learnt to use the differences as a way to enrich their relationship, rather than to damage it.
There are significant differences between men and women. Not better or worse. Do not judge the differences. Do not try to change the differences. Be sure to consciously remember them when building expectations, when communicating about anything important, when expressing care and concern, and when solving conflicts. Happy sharing…