10 Basic Differences Between Men, Women

Published December 7, 1989.  A few weeks after Susan and I were married, we had an experience that was mildly distracting. We were riding along the freeway in our Corvair, and she nonchalantly reached over and turned on the car heater.

There was only one problem. I was sweating at the time, so I nonchalantly reached over a few seconds later and turned the car heater off. She gave me an icy look. Literally. She was cold, and I was hot. And neither of us believed the other.

At the time we were newlyweds we discovered a basic difference between us. Susan liked warm temperatures and I liked cooler ones. At the time of our discovery we each thought the other was playing games. Little did we realize that response to room or environmental temperature is a basic difference between males and females.

The late Paul Popenoe, founder of the American Institute for Family Relations in Los Angeles, wrote a brief article on the physiological differences between the sexes. Here are a few of his observations:
  1. Men and women differ in every cell of their bodies due to the basic difference in the chromosome combination that determines whether we are male or female. 
  2. Women have greater constitutional vitality because they normally outlive men their same age by at least three to four years in the United States. 
  3. The sexes differ in their basal metabolism – that of women being lower than that of men. 
  4. Men and women differ in skeletal structure. Women have a shorter head, broader face, less protruding chin, shorter legs and a longer trunk. And for what it is worth, the first finger of a women’s hand is usually longer than the third finger. With men the reverse is true. And boy’s teeth seem to last longer than do those of girls. 
  5. Women have larger stomachs, kidneys, and livers, but smaller lungs. 
  6. A woman’s thyroid is larger and more active. It enlarges during pregnancy and also during menstruation. It makes her more prone to goiter, provides resistance to cold, is associated with smooth skin and a relatively hairless body. There is also a thin layer of subcutaneous fat that is an important element in personal beauty. The active thyroid also, according to Popenoe, may be a contributing factor why most women laugh and cry more easily than do men. 
  7. Women’s blood contains more water and 20 percent fewer red cells. Since these supply oxygen to the blood cells, she is more prone to faint. 
  8. With a differing muscular structure, men and women differ in sheer strength. Men are 50 percent stronger than women. 
  9. A woman’s heart beats more rapidly than does a man’s. (Eighty beats per minute for women: 72 for men). And her blood pressure is 10 points lower than her male counterpart’s, and it varies from minute to minute. But she has much less tendency to high blood pressure – at least until after menopause. 
  10. And finally, (Are you reading this, Susan?) women tolerate higher temperatures better, and consequently lower temperatures worse, than do men because of metabolic differences.
Just think. It has taken me 25 years of marriage and earning a Ph.D. to finally figure out why Susan and I have the battle of the thermostat. And all this time I thought she was just being obstinate.

14 Minutes That Can Bring You Closer

Published December 27, 1979.  By now the Christmas presents have probably been put on the shelves or back into boxes for storage. As you sit there trying to recover from the seasonal celebration may I ask what you gave your spouse for Christmas? Was it the usual shirt, tie and socks or nightgown and perfume?

When it comes to gift giving, we frequently think of material things and such have their appropriate place during the Christmas season. But there is one gift we all desire but relatively few give or get. It is the gift of time.

It is unusual how a husband and wife can live in the same house, sleep in the same house, sleep in the same bed, share the same meals, travel in the same family car, and yet spend so little time together on a person to person basis. In fact, Dr. Stephen Glenn of the Family Development Institute in Washington, D.C. has reported that on the average, a husband and wife in the United States spend approximately 13 minutes a day talking to each other on a personal basis. You are probably thinking right now that you and your spouse spend more than 12 minutes a day talking to each other. But do you? According to Dr. Glenn, meal times do not count because “conversations” such as “please pass the butter” or “is there any more casserole?” are less than helpful to strengthen marital relationships. Most table-talk is nothing more than simultaneous monologues, and with children present it is also difficult to carry on an on-going conversation about where the marriage is or is not going.

Other types of time together might be classified as “duty time” or going places a couple are supposed to go. These may include PTA meetings, special engagements, and even church meetings, depending on one’s religious orientation. At such functions there is little time for personal interaction.

Watching movies and television doesn’t count either unless you have acquired the knack of intimate conversation over popcorn or conversing regularly every 13 minutes during commercials. And much of the so-called conversation that does occur between husband and wife often deals with the mechanics of day-to-day routines, of running the home and rearing children.

How much time do you and your spouse really spend each day talking together about your relationship, about personal concerns or how you feel about each other? Do you attain the national average of 13 minutes, or do you fall short? When the children were in bed, the television off, and all other distractions minimized, so you could simply talk about each other to each other?

If you start out with just a few minutes a day you could soon be average. Then if you want to be above average, you can add one more minute a day, for a total of 14 minutes.

15 Tips for a Better Marriage

Published October 4, 1990.  I came across an interesting book the other day titled, “The Book of Inside Information.” It is a compilation of tips and comments sent out in a biweekly newsletter called “Bottom Line.” The newsletter deals with such topics as money, health, success, retirement, cars, taxes, fitness, education, shopping, home, and marriage.

As I thumbed through the book, I was interested in an article titled, “Fifteen Tips for a Better Marriage.” I thought you might be interested, too. Here, supposedly, is the “Bottom Line” on how to have a good marriage. See if you agree.
  1. Keep marriage realistic. Honeymoons may recur, but marriage is a day-by-day relationship between changing humans. Sacrifices and heartache are challenges you must expect. 
  2. Don’t be afraid to say something nice. Compliment one another on appearance, considerations, and so on. 
  3. Show affection. Hold hands, touch, kiss – even in public. 
  4. Don’t let the children divide you. Keep your shared responsibility to the children separate from your responsibility and loyalty to your mate. 
  5. Don’t let in-laws make inroads. Good relations with relatives are an advantage, but don’t let them influence you against your spouse. Talk about the problems that in-laws create – and solutions to those problems. 
  6. Grow together intellectually. It won’t work 20 years later if one partner has progressed while the other has slipped backward. Openly discuss shared goals and the intellectual expectations of one another. 
  7. Fight when necessary, then forget. Bring things that disturb into the open – even if it means conflict. Seek solutions. Ultimately there are no winners or losers. Compromise as much as possible, and then downplay the conflict. The next, far better state is making up. 
  8. Don’t confuse honesty and cruelty. Honesty that has no purpose except to hurt the other is a false virtue. Protect your mate’s feelings. 
  9. Be forthright financially. Set realistic expectations about money and its problems. Work toward shared financial goals. 
  10. Don’t let careers diminish the marriage. Overachievers can let careers shut out the spouse. Ironically, bad marriages often diminish the career. Together work out the right balance. Point: It’s easier to get a decent job than a good spouse. 
  11. Do things together. Couples that work and play together also stay together. (Allow your spouse enough independence, too.) 
  12. Cooperate sexually. Everyone is vulnerable sexually. Talk, explore, experiment. Communicate with one another, and protect each other’s feelings. 
  13. Keep talking – even when it’s tough. Barriers of silence and non-meaningful communication only grow and become more impenetrable. The more difficult it seems, the more important it is to keep communicating – especially about communicating. 
  14. Don’t get self-righteous. Each of us has flaws and inhibitions. A good marriage takes these into consideration. Overlook the petty irritants. If your spouse forgets to screw on the toothpaste cap, just do it yourself and forget it. 
  15. Keep positive. Keep the relationship upbeat. Turn problems into opportunities for greater understanding, and work toward creative solutions and projects.