Jul 01

6/37 Conflict Solution Presents an overview of Male Female Difference

 So far in our series, we have begun to sort through some of the things our dad didn’t tell us about the 3 girls family conflictsopposite sex – mostly because he didn’t know the topic very well himself.  Sad to say, few people take the time to learn enough deep wisdom to pass onto the next generation.  Blame, guilt, unforgiveness, regret – and the list could go on – stop wisdom reaching the next generation.

The following are  few areas left open to discussion, and hopefully adding wisdom to replace ignorance, assumption or half-truths and blind judgement.

Cultural Differences

We don’t have time to begin to cover cultural differences.  Suffice it to say that if an only-child, black-skinned female from Africa, who is Muslim, marries the last-born Hindu male from a large family in Fiji, they will have lots of differences to overcome!  They will need lots of tolerance, forgiveness and good communication skills!

It is difficult to give general guidelines for this area without getting into counselling.  One major example of FOO is the different ways our families dealt with emotions, especially anger.  Did your family yell, slam doors or give each other the ‘silent treatment’?

Daniel and Susan used to have conflict when discussing distances.  Daniel would say:  “That shop you are after is only a ‘couple’ of blocks away”.  Susan would then expect it would be exactly two blocks away, because in her family ‘couple’ meant only two.  If the distance turned out to be three or four blocks, she would get angry.  In Daniel’s family ‘couple’ meant a few, mostly more than two.  Would Aussie drinkers of beer pick Susan’ s version or Daniel’s?

Male / female differences

One of the largest ‘cultural’ differences between people is gender.  God deliberately made male and female to be different (Gen. 1:27).  It can be hard for many people to understand the other gender, especially if they were not raised with a sibling of the opposite sex.  Beyond the obvious physical differences, there are many cultural, religious and psychological differences between the sexes.

How could we get cats and dogs to happily live together?

One of the first things we would need is for them not to judge each other.  Second, they need to cooperate and not compete.  Deep understanding is not always necessary, if they are tolerant of each other.  Good communication would be needed.  What other requirements would we need?

  1. Learn Good Communication Skills

In order for two people to interact, they need to communicate well.  For this to happen two major things need to happen:  understanding the other and reflective listening.

2. Understanding one another

We have already seen how judgement and lack of teaching by our parents have caused many misunderstandings and conflict.  The same things happen in the church.  We need to read the Bible through enough times, so that we start to understand God’s nature and character.  Then we need to read the Bible through some more, so that we read it the way the Master wrote it, instead of through our humanistic filters.

3. Use Reflective listening

True communication only takes place when the ‘message’ that is being sent is received by the other in the way that it was intended.  For this to happen, we need a ‘feedback’ mechanism, so the sender knows the receiver got it.  A good example of great communications is the feedback between air-traffic controllers and pilots.  They use plenty of reflecting back their information given to avoid disasters.

Reflective listening is when a person ‘feeds back’ to the sender what they think they heard.  Remember, we all work out of perception, so we cannot assume that just because we said it, the other person got it.

Some examples of reflective listening could be:  “So you would like me to go to the store right now?”

Repeating what you have heard – not like a parrot – but in words that reflect the message sent can stop many disasters between people.  Actually, the real message might have been “No, I wanted you to go an hour ago!”  Now we have real problems.

In this video, Andy McMullan and Denise Fruchter will act out using the skill and not using the skill. Carolyn Heil will break down each role-play to further explain Reflective Listening, published Oct. 16, 2012.

Sometimes, it does take  few tries to learn this skill but it is well worth the practice.  Actually hearing what the other Peron has said is important in any relationship.

In our busy world, many of us are too pressured to take the time to slow down and practice reflective listening, but we must do it if we want good relationships.

Susanne Fengler, Blog Author


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