While gender differences are usually beneficial to a relationship, Rabbi Shmuley says they sometimes can undermine it. "Differences should not be encouraged, but rather reversed; men and women should actually try to be more like one another to avoid these pitfalls," he says. Rabbi Shmuley offers the following list of differences that should be maintained or changed in order to make the best of your relationship:
- For men, attraction is physiological; for women, it's psychological. It's said that men fall in love with their eyes and women fall in love with their ears. Men will always feel initial attraction to a woman's appearance, Rabbi Shmuley says, while women are attracted to men on a deeper, psychological level. "While man is drawn directly to a woman, like a straight line, a woman feels her attraction growing and evolving, like a circle," he says.
- Women are in control; men would like to be. Although men are control freaks and like to feel that they are in the driver's seat, women are the ones who are in control in both the private and public realms of the relationship, Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Men are "freelance;" women are "salaried." Rabbi Shmuley says that a man never gets caught up in a single deal, but feels he must always move on, improving on his last accomplishment. On the other hand, women want someone to be drawn to them, find them beautiful and be a person to whom they can commit for life.
- Women want confident men, but men aren't always self-confident. Women are attracted to men who are ambitious and have a vision; however, it doesn't come easily to men, Rabbi Shmuley says. Women are different in that they do not have the same insecurities about their self-worth as men do. If women can confer confidence in men, it gives the relationship a solid foundation, he says.
- Women enjoy the moment; men think of its outcome. While men think about accomplishments and always anticipate the outcome, women are better at living in the moment. "Like a circle that returns to itself, women enjoy the present," Rabbi Shmuley says. "That is why patience comes much more easily to women."
- Women expect men to be competent. Men want women to be independent. Women want competence in their male partners, who learn to balance their professional and personal lives and not get overwhelmed by romance, Rabbi Shmuley says. Meanwhile, women are expected to be independent, and balance both aggressiveness and femininity.
"Men and women are equal, but different, which is why they need each other. Too often, however, we seek to blight gender difference and become doppelgangers. But neither should we allow the gender divide to grow into a chasm that cannot be bridged. In this sense, men and women should retain their differences, so as to retain their polarity and attraction, but should also seek to be positively influenced by those differences in order to draw closer."