Same-Sex/Hetero Gender Roles in Marriage

This is an interesting article in the NYT about the differences between gender roles in same-sex and heterosexual relationships. Money quote:

“The findings suggest that heterosexual couples need to work harder to seek perspective. The ability to see the other person’s point of view appears to be more automatic in same-sex couples, but research shows that heterosexuals who can relate to their partner’s concerns and who are skilled at defusing arguments also have stronger relationships.”

I think this premise is hard to argue. It does seem to make sense that when a couple doesn’t contend with the differences in gender, they have less of an obstacle in relating to one another but I would also add that it’s far from “automatic” for any couple. This rings true to my own experience. I find that when I’m being a more supportive and loving husband, it’s usually because I’ve consciously avoided the inherent emotional obstacles that come standard in my man-ness.

Thoughts?

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11 thoughts on “Same-Sex/Hetero Gender Roles in Marriage

  1. true dat!
    i think it’s a no brainer that same sex relationships more easily see each other’s perspectives. why else do males seek other males for advice…women go to the bathroom in flocks, etc.

  2. Yeah, I mean we’ve over compensated in the biblical teaching that the husband is the head. I’ve contemplated and witnessed this for along time. Husbands generally speaking suppress their wives. Wifes are often treated as trophies and submit to that lifestyle often because they are “compensated” by being allowed to spend money/shop. Might seem ridiculous but its just an example I see often.
    Agreed.

  3. I have found most homosexual & heterosexual couples are similar in one way…each one is different.

    I also think we try to over complicate our relationships by sticking inherently male or female perspectives on things as opposed to perspectives that are individual to that particular person based on their life experiences.

    That isn’t to say I don’t get caught up in the occasional…do these jeans make me look fat trap 🙂

  4. i don’t think this article’s findings could be substantiated at all. this is one big assumption to argue the validity of same sex couples.
    every relationship suffers from some sort of conflict of whose role is being fulfilled. from my own experience when i am worrying about my wife’s possible lack of respect for me as a man it makes things complicated and we argue because i am operating in fear. but i am blessed because i can share those irrational fears and it frees me up. i see that someone mentioned the ‘head of the house’ argument. i have heard too many pastors preach on that famous passage from the bible. what usually happens is the pastor is only talking about the woman being submissive and the man being allowed to rule. but if you look that passage up the instructions for the man are much longer and more detailed. the man is supposed to make the sacrifice and go the extra mile for the love of his wife. this is the Christ/Church model. Jesus loves the church, paid the price for us and that’s the way the marriage should be.
    i don’t agree with the quote from the article and i don’t see how anything could be automatic in a relationship except for imperfection.

  5. i think the research the article was based on could be considered a substantiation to a degree. i don’t think article suggested that relationships are inherently easy or “automatic” and it’s fairly logical premise that the gender differences between hetero relationships could cause more of a division between the couple compared to a same sex couple. this isn’t to say that same-sex couples can’t have trouble relating to one another, it’s simply one less hurdle for them to jump over, so to speak.

    but you’re right in that all relationships bring with them an imperfection and that’s truly the only constant. and it’s incredibly hard work to navigate through any kind of division. thanks for the comments everyone!

  6. oh, and I think the article was written not to argue the validity of same sex couples. i think it was written with the assumption that same-sex relationships ARE already valid.

  7. Zach –

    interesting article, although i think it is missing in one crucial point. perhaps i am reading a bit too much into the quote, but the author seems to be saying that same-sex relationships will be less likely to argue or have divisions than hetero couples. Or at least that hetero couples need to worked harder to find perspective, which will lead to less arguing. is that fair?

    i have to disagree with this because i don’t agree with the assumption that having perspective makes me less likely to argue. as a married dude, i have to say the real problem is not perspective but value. when my wife does not give me the value i think i need i get defensive, and argue for my rightful status. like today, she is going to have breakfast with her friends while i hang out with my family. she made those plans with her friend a long time ago, and i know that. i don’t cancel plan with my friends if something with her family comes up, and i know that. i have perspective. but her not hanging out with my family to hang out with her friend makes me feel like she is rejecting me. so i fought with her. i had perspective. i knew what was right. but as a fallen sinner i want my status with her, to be most important, for her to bow down to me so i can feel justified. i think this is why most people fight, not because they want value and status, not because they lack perspective.

    i guess i would encourage you to think a little harder about the article. plus, as a Christian dude, i think the Bible has the best prescription for relationships. and the Bible (i believe it does not legitimize homosexual relationships…so i’m sure we disagree there) says that the dude is the head of the house. now i know this will get people ticked because a lot of preachers today hold that word in the American CEO, not the Biblical sense. but the biblical sense is quite amazing because it expects the dude to absorb all sorts of pains and aches because it reminds us of our status. as forgiven sinners we have already been given all the worth we could want in Jesus, and so i don’t need to look for that from my wife. sure she can love me and improve my self-worth, but ultimately, i seek Jesus out to feel complete, not my wife. this is where i disagree with you that my ‘man-ness’ must be avoided in order to come obstacles. i find that my man-ness helps me avoid obstacles. it calls me to absorb the punch. it calls me not to fight back. it calls me to not be prideful and to be loving, finding that in losing my desire to have my way i actually find something better. that is the Biblical man, a strong dude who can lead his family through anything because he has his status before God and that is His ultimate judge. the biblical dude lifts his wife and kids and family up above him because he’s already been lifted by Christ. i think the real issue and problem in relationships is that everyone is jockeying for position and status (to use the Seinfeld term…we want ‘hand’)

    but when you feel valued and wanted, you do not have the need to defend yourself, fight, or be upset at little things, because you have far too much joy to worry about any of that. maybe that makes sense, maybe not. i would encourage you to greatly think through the assumption that having perspective leads to healthier relationships. humans still have huge amounts of sin and feelings of self-worth that have to be worked through, and perspective does not overcome that.

  8. yeah, i think some of you are completely missing the point of the article. it’s not saying that while same-sex couples might have an easier time relating to one another that they don’t also have their disagreements and rough patches. i’m sure there are elements of same-sex relationships that can bring up divisions that hetero couples don’t contend with so I think we all need to step back and actually read what the article is saying.

    tim, I have a hard time buying your point here. you’re making the distinction between “perspective” and “value” but in the end they will have the same result. if we can more successfully relate to our partners and can work towards seeking the perspective of the other, the relationship will be stronger and disagreements would be resolved more harmoniously. if we can allow the elements of our relationship that divide us to be lessened, than the things we seek in a relationship like trust, “value”, respect will be more easily accessed. all this kind of goes without being said but for some reason I feel compelled to bring us back to what the article is saying.

    in your example, tim, if you truly had “perspective” than you wouldn’t have needed to fight your wife on her being able to spend time with her friends and to honor her prior engagement. being able to share your wife’s perspective and relate to her needs would mean that a fight wouldn’t have taken place.

    and while the bible may not legitimize same-sex monogamous relationships, it doesn’t de-legitimize them either. maybe it’s too difficult for those who see same-sex relationships and inherently deviant to accept the premise of the article. if so, that’s a shame.

  9. zach…what do you feel is the premise of the article? i’m not sure what i’m missing.

    and why do you think the bible doesn’t de-legitimize same sex relationships?

    just wondering.

  10. I feel like I’ve stated pretty clearly what I feel the premise of the article is. By doing so again might be a bit redundant.

    and as to why I think the Bible doesn’t de-legitimize same-sex, monogamous relationships is because, in my view, it doesn’t. i’ve written about this before on the blog. you can check it out here:

    http://www.findingrhythm.com/blog/?p=506

  11. Coming from a guy in a heterosexual marriage (coming up on 3 years!) I’d take good advise on how to be a better husband from anyone. If studying homosexual relationships can speak to how I can better support my wife, then sign me up.

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