“Where is the TV remote,” my wife said to me one day.
“I don’t know, I’ve been getting up and using the buttons on the TV,” I said, continuing to watch TV while she kept looking around and under everything.
“What are you doing?” I asked her.
“Looking for the damn remote!” she said, pointing to what was an obvious fact to her: “We need it to change the channels.”
“Well, what’s wrong with the buttons on the TV?” I responded, pointing to my own obvious fact: “We can use those until we come across it. It beats wasting time to look for it.”
She looked at me with a stern look and let her expression talk, as if to say, “We need the remote. Get up and help me look.”
So I got up and used 20 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back to look for the remote.
You see, my wife and I are different.
I tend to think short term and look for a temporary fix or solution. She thinks two weeks ahead for every situation and even factors in the all the possible outcomes and variables. Me, I live minute-by-minute and just kind of go with the flow of the day.
I once heard the comedian Mark Gungor say that if you could look inside a man’s brain there would be neatly stacked boxes labeled with the memories and facts on the box. When a man is presented with a question, he simply opens that box, pulls out the required information, and simply recalls it or relays the fact—and then puts the box back precisely where it was. (Precisely where it was—the boxes don’t touch!)
But if you could look into a woman’s brain, he said, it would be a big ball of different colored wires that are all connected. If you presented a woman with the same exact question the wires would begin to spark and surge with all the possible outcomes.
For example, I could say to my wife, “Have you seen the water bill? I can’t find it.”
She might say, “Last time I saw it, it was on the table—and speaking of water, did you clean the pool? It has leaves in it. And speaking of leaves, did you clean the gutters?”
And I’m just sitting there thinking, “Right…so back to the water bill.”
It’s precisely because of events like the above that, as a man, I’ve learned to choose my words carefully. Because I wouldn’t want to bring up that I need to cut the grass, and somehow it turn into about the time three years ago when I didn’t get her a Valentine’s Day gift. That’s just how Tonya thinks.
She thinks very deeply, and she’s a complicated person. Me, I’m pretty simple. For instance, if we both had a list of things we wanted to accomplish within a day, mine might read, “Wake up….Check. Okay, done.” Hers would unroll across the whole living room floor.
Nevertheless, Tonya and I need each other through the differences and chaos, and I think that’s true of men and women in general. We have a weird way of balancing each other out, and I like the differences. It spices everyday life up and makes it fun.
Our differences can also help us to grow: we can better understand the good and bad things about ourselves. The things I do to annoy her, I know to take away. And the things I do that she likes, I know to build on and do it even better. And when I embrace the good things about her (like planning ahead), and at the same time help her to notice the bad things about her personality (like worrying too much), we both become better people.
So, yes, men and women are different, but we need each other with all our differences. I just have to shut the gate to wanting to be right all the time and open the gate to love’s floodwaters. And when she does the same thing, we find ourselves swimming in something completely new: the joy of life together as man and woman. It’s a good place to be.
And if you’re wondering, yes, Tonya did find the TV remote. And I do have to admit, it is kind of nice not having to get up all the time to push the TV buttons. Thanks, Tonya!