A dear friend of mine from my childhood church came to visit me last fall. As we talked over lunch, I asked him if he had any suggestions for an anniversary gift for my husband, Terry. He went nuts over this book called, Men Are Like Waffles Women Are Like Spaghetti, written by Bill and Pam Farrel.
He had watched the book work wonders for many couples in his church and suggested that it might be just the tool Terry and I use for kicking it up a notch and understanding and celebrating our differences... after all these years. After 16 years of marriage, what could I possibly not understand about my husband? OMG!!!!! PLENTY!!!! He still baffles me beyond belief, and so does my son, so I immediately bought the book in hopes of uncovering the jewels of knowledge that would help me unravel their deep mystery.
I can't help but share with you some juicy tidbits of this exceptional book because this husband/wife team really hit the nail on the head with their analogies of men and women. I'm amazed by what insight they give to understanding the sexes! So here are the nuts and bolts of it...
When a man is at work, he is at work. When he is paying bills, he is paying bills. When he is watching t.v., he is watching t.v.. Have you ever seen that trance-like look when he's watching t.v.? That's because he's literally ignoring everything else in his world and really watching t.v. He's in his one box, and that's it.
A man will organize his life in these boxes and then spend most of his time staying only in the boxes he can succeed in, because for him, success is a huge motivation... so much so that he will seek out his boxes where he feels successful and literally ignore his boxes that confuse him or cause him to feel like a failure.
For a women, every issue, experience, and thought in her life is connected to every other issue, experience, and thought in some way or another. Her life is much, much, much more of a process than a man's, which is why women are so much better at multi-tasking than men.
I still laugh when I watch my husband or my dad talk on the phone. They are totally in their one little waffle compartment when they are on the phone because they CANNOT... CANNOT do anything but walk and talk, walk and talk, walk and talk. If someone talks in the background, they get panicky, if you try to tell them something, they have to walk outside to concentrate. Me on the other hand, geez, what can't I do when I'm on the phone??? I can carry on an in-depth phone conversation while loading the dishwasher, tell the kids to go get dressed, pack a lunch, answer the door, and feed the dog all at the same time!
|Both my kids paint their nails (Ryan... black only!)|
Herein lies the age-old conflict for a man and woman... and we've all been there... While the woman is talking, talking, talking, and making all these connections in a conversation, the man is freaking out and jumping all his boxes trying like heck to keep up with her conversation. He is overwhelmed by the amount of information she is throwing at him. By the end of the conversation, she feels better for having talked it out, and he just feels overwhelmed, like "what in the WORLD was THAT?"
And here's another fantastic fact for us women. Most men have boxes in their waffles that don't have words. They may have thoughts in the boxes about their lives, but they don't have any words! And to take it one step further, some of men's boxes don't have words OR thoughts! Yes, blank, void, nil, zip, empty!
|Both my kids play with weapons and "gendered" toys.|
This is telling because I realize that times are changing...
If he tells the truth, I think he's lying because I can't fathom having an empty moment in my thoughts. And if he says, "I'm not thinking about anything," I think he's hiding something or that he's just kind of dumb. (No offense, honey, I know you think I'm whacked out and neurotic half the time, so it's fair play...) He doesn't want to disappoint me, so he immediately starts trying to find a close enough box to jump into that has words in it!
From that point, it can go either really well - if he finds a box with words - or it can go down hill fast. Either way, women could try opening up to the idea that a man sometimes just goes blank. Nothing is wrong with him, he isn't hiding something. This is just how he is wired.
I've only covered a few points in the first chapter of the book, and aren't they so true? The book continues with so much more valuable information. It is Christian-based and is actually meant to be a guided study that couples work through together and in a small group for weekly review. Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers and relationship specialists and have written over 26 books. I'm interested in checking out some of their other ones as well.
I am really pleased to have this book as reference, and I have learned so much about my husband and son from reading it. I like that the authors celebrate and appreciate all of our waffle and spaghetti differences. We were obviously created this way to balance each other perfectly, and it's certainly more fun to laugh and celebrate our differences than to try to change them and stress over them.
|Camouflage is cool for all genders.|
I'll leave you with a few more gems of advice before I go:
-Men, when your wife starts a conversation, just know that she wants to connect the issues of her life. Think of the conversation as a journey you are about to embark on... just go with her wherever her talking journey takes her!
-Men, when she brings up a conversation, don't assume she is bringing up a problem that you need to fix. Just listen patiently and try to stay with her. She's probably just venting or dreaming, or processing life, and she wants to connect you with every bit of it.
-Women, encourage your man to take time out in his easy boxes. Think of him like a battery that needs to be recharged. He CANNOT process life constantly like you can. He needs his favorite boxes to rest and recharge. What does it look like when he's charging? NOTHING!!!!
-Women, if you want him to open up to you, go with him into his favorite box and then just listen.... don't talk even if it kills you. Listen without reacting.
Hints for raising a Waffle
-raise his vocabulary, especially when it comes to expressing emotion.
-boys will open up if you go into their favorite boxes with them and just be quiet.
-feed him. Studies say that a man gets happier when he's fed. Give him food and ask away!
Hints for raising a Noodle
-patiently listen to her and touch her often.
-Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk with her, and listen.
-Touch, and love, and nurture her physically.
And so today, I celebrate the God-created differences in the sexes, knowing that we are perfectly designed just how we are. I will enjoy our differences and know that, together, male and female, we are perfectly balanced.... or at least evolving to be!!!!
Have any analogies you'd like to add about male and female? Or tidbits that you've learned along the way? I'd love to hear them!
Thanks for visiting!