The Myth of Mars and Venus
Remember that self-help book where the Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus? We believe has more to do with decision making and less to do with men and women. Objective versus subjective criteria when making decisions is a big difference and rife with conflict, regardless of gender.
In personality type theory this decision making preference is called Thinking (T – or logical decision making) vs. Feeling (F – or subjective, value decision making). In Pixie Type, the former are Smarts, Classic Structures and Fun Structures and the latter are Organics, Classic Freedoms and Fun Freedoms.
The myth comes from assuming that all men make decisions using logic, while all women use personal value judgments. Truth is, 40% of women make logical decisions versus 60% of men. But with society pressuring us gals to use our feelings to think about others when we do stuff, it’s no wonder that this myth is perpetuated. We also secretly suspect that the 10% differential is that female logical decision makers are pretending (and vice versa for guys) so that they can fit in better with their gender role.
Okay, so how does this play out in relationships? Take for instance my mother’s 35th birthday party. She had been down and so my dad, logically decided that he needed to do something new and cool for her. So he planned an elaborate surprise that involved a boat ride on Lake Erie with a couple they didn’t know very well, and one they did.
When I remember this birthday party of my mom’s, based on the photos, I thought it was glamourous and romantic (my own value judgments) but mom didn’t really enjoy it. Much of my mom’s enjoyment of the events of her life has to do with ANTICIPATION. It’s a valuable part of her experience. It’s not something my dad would think about because not only is it not his experience, but he often doesn’t take into account those kinds of subjective criteria like will she miss out on the anticipation if I surprise her, when he makes decisions for himself or others.
Free boat ride, good friends, what’s not to love? The problem was that they didn’t know the people whose boat it was and since mom was in a vulnerable place, being with a couple she didn’t know very well made it harder for her to be herself and talk openly about her fears of getting older (plus she’s prone to sea sickness.)
Come to think of it. I think my logic decision making husband did something similar for my 35th birthday … hmmm. So, regardless of gender … if you prefer making decisions using logic and your spouse doesn’t, remember to get her or his opinion before you commit to something. You’ll be sure to learn something in the process.
And subjective decision makers having trouble knowing what path to choose. often when too many subjective criteria are clouding our ability to make a decision. In this instance, remember to lean back and use your partner’s easy logic to your advantage. I bet my mom would have been physically and emotionally on board that boat if my dad had just asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. He now consults his value decision making (Organic Freedom and Classic Freedom) pixie daughters whenever he wants to surprise my mom.