Men and Women in Modern Times

A woman always worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets wife. This older adage rings true to me in several ways. What do you think? What is it in a woman’s DNA that encourages her to strive for marriage and the biological need to have a child or two? What is it in a man’s DNA that encourages him to be on the lookout for multiple sexual opportunities, to leave his towel and other dirty clothes laying all over the house, and to be right all the time? Understanding men and women will never be as easy as reading a book or a blog. And at the same time we seem to think we know everything about them.

But if we did understand men and women as well as we would like to think we do we would have no need for the hundreds of seminars, thousands of relationship counselors, and tens of thousands of books on this subject. It is no surprise that most of the counselors and authors writing about this subject are women. Not that men don’t care, but ‘right now there’s work to do’. Understanding the root causes of men and women’s behavior requires that we travel back hundreds of thousands of years to when these traits literally were being programmed into our DNA.

Understanding the very different roles that men and women evolved into, and why, is important to understanding modern men and women’s behavior. The roles that our distant ancestors played in their relationships and in their societies do not fit very well, if at all, women’s wellness blogs into our modern society. When a man’s survival, his very life, hinged on his ability to track down and kill some food, sometimes miles from his “home” and find his way back with it depended on his problem solving abilities, self-reliance and navigation skills. And with his fairly short lifespan spreading his seed (read ‘sex’ here) around was mandatory for the survival of our species.

But a woman’s survival depended on vastly different things than a man. Understanding that women evolved as a kind of nest protector. But this role did not always mean physically defending her home and children. What it meant was building bonds with the other women in her village or area. It meant knowing every possible piece of information that would allow her to be of help to others and to know which others could be of help to her. Being physically weaker than a man, individually, was compensated for by being part of a large bonded group. Gathering fruits and veggies was also a primary role for our prehistoric mothers. They would have always stayed in sight of home to do their gathering. In fact the closer they stayed to home the safer they and their children were. And they often went as a group, talking, bonding and exploring (shopping) all the while.

But having said that it is not a good enough excuse for a woman to say “Honey, you go out and make all the money and pay all the bills and I’ll just stay home and raise the kids and bond with the neighbors”. But it’s also not a good enough excuse for a man to say “I’m so sorry Honey, I couldn’t resist having that affair with her, and her, and her, it’s in my DNA”. Our larger, more evolved brains, allows us to override the instinct, urges and drives that each of us is constantly dealing with. Understanding that men and women have always had their separate and distinct roles to play made life less complicated and more secure. Men and women have lost that understanding of their distinct roles. Our modern society simply cannot accommodate that simple clear division of labor any longer. And yet that is exactly what we continue to strive for.

In our modern times a woman does not need a man to provide for her. She is perfectly capable of getting the education, the job, build the business, and/or be as independent as she wants. A man can worry about his future and plan, work, and secure that future for himself independent of the catalyst of a wife or children. Understanding men and women in our modern times, in our fast paced and often conflicting societal roles, leads to a lot of confusion and insecurity. The modern society we live in began to take shape less than 150 years ago. And the confusion and insecurity over what our roles are in that modern society began about 50 years ago. That’s an extremely short amount of time to overcome hundreds of thousands of years of evolutionary programming.



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