Stronger Marriage

The Top 8 Ways Men & Women are Alike

The Top 8 Ways Men & Women Are Alike

Compiled by Victor W. Harris, MS

Ask yourself the following five questions composed by marriage and family therapist Scot Allgood and family educator Victor W. Harris and then list your responses on a piece of paper.  Then scroll down for more information:

  1. What are the advantages of being the gender you are?
  2. How would your life have been different had you been born the opposite gender?
  3. What are the things that need to change so that men and women are equally valued?
  4. What do you think are the TOP 8 ways men and women are alike?
  5. What do you think are the TOP 11 ways men and women are different?



The Top 8 Ways Men & Women Are Alike 
  1. Both men and women need to feel safe and secure. Safety and security are two of the basic elements of trust, and trust is at the heart of every healthy and happy relationship. Safety and security are sometimes used synonymously by family experts with the word "attachment" which begins as far back in the life cycle as infancy. Abraham Maslow established his famous hierarchy of needs that leads toward self-actualization with this basic level of safety and security.
  2. Both men and women need to develop a positive picture of themselves. We need to view ourselves in a positive light. If we can't, then we tend to drain ourselves and those around us of love. Our perceptions of ourselves greatly influence our ability to interact in a healthy way with others in our environment.
  3. Both men and women need to value themselves and to feel valued by others. Self-esteem (i.e., valuing ourselves) and being valued by others are two important keys that unlock the door to life satisfaction. To value is to prize, to rate highly, to perceive as important, and to judge as being of great worth.
  4. Both men and women need to be involved in close, loving relationships. People need to feel connected to others socially, mentally, and emotionally. However, those who are skilled look for healthy and unhealthy signs of love and closeness in their relationships and will not settle for relationships that are unhealthy (see The TOP 25 Signs to Watch Out For).
  5. Both men and women need to feel like they belong. This need underlies many of the choices that we make. Psychologists have found that we are motivated to act or behave in accordance with whom we perceive we belong to the most. For example, if we perceive that we belong to our friends the most, then they will have the most influence over our behavior. If we perceive that we belong to a parent or a partner the most, then this individual will have the most influence over our behavior. This innate desire men and women have to belong is so powerful that it can even transcend value and belief systems (e.g., succumbing to peer pressure, cheating on a partner, etc).
  6. Both men and women need to feel self-respect and to feel like they are respected by others. We achieve self-respect when we are trying to live according to what we value and believe. Any discrepancy between our actual behaviors and what we value and believe causes us to experience what psychologists call "cognitive dissonance." When we respect ourselves by living according to what we value and believe, it is more likely that we will be respected by others.
  7. Both men and women need to be growing and developing in mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual ways. Famous researcher Sandra Scarr believes that if individuals are given an "average expectable environment" in which to live and to operate that they will generally develop healthy characteristics. Part of this "average expectable environment" means that we must be given ample opportunities to grow and develop mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Therefore, for most of us, if we are bored, or if we feel like we are stagnating, the way forward is to choose to learn, develop, and grow in one or more of these areas.
  8. Both men and women need to feel competent or like they are good at doing or achieving certain things. We all need to feel like we are competent and talented in certain areas. Calvin W. Taylor, a professor at the University of Utah, proposed the following six general competency or talent categories:
    • Academic
    • Communication
    • Creative
    • Decision-Making
    • Forecasting
    • Planning
    After years of research, he explained that, generally, in one of these areas we are excellent; in two we are above average; in two we are below average; and, in one we are absolutely pathetic. So while in truth we are all excellent and above average at certain competencies, there is the corresponding truth that we are all below average and pathetic in other talent areas.

Adapted from Coplen, R. & and MacArthur, J.D. (1982). Developing a Healthy Self-Image.
        Provo, UT: Brigham Young University.

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