Are You (Still) Waiting for Him to Grow Up?

A common complaint from wives is that their husband is immature. It turns out there is a brain difference reason for this.

Men and women’s brains mature at different rates. If we look at maturity in terms of full brain development women get there at about 21 years of age. Men reach the same full development at age 30.

His and Her brains © njaj|


One of the areas that is slower to develop in men is the prefrontal cortex – the decision-making “CEO of the brain”. Besides developing later in men, women have a larger prefrontal cortex. Considering the fact women have smaller brains, some part being larger is significant.

Does this mean at age 30 he is caught up? I think we need time to learn to use what we gain, so I would expect men to lag women even past age 30 in terms of maturity.

What does all this mean for you, especially if your husband is under the age of forty? It means he is not thinking the way you are thinking, and to some degree, he is not able to think the way you do. It means his fascination with body noises is just part of who he is, and it means there is hope it will fade. As he ages, he will continue to mature and in time, he will think more like you.

That said, please do not think there is only a down side to his later brain maturity. He does not see or chooses to ignore obstacles and this allows him to do and succeed at things he would not otherwise try. He is more about fun and adventure and that can be good for both of you. He is more open to risk, which can be both good and bad. God made him different for a reason, and it was not to drive you crazy!

Speaking of maturing, if you want to read about becoming emotionally mature, I highly recommend Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ. Lori and I have both read the book, and we are now working through it with a group of friends. We have all seen many places where we need to mature, and we are challenging each other to grow. I mentioned the book on The Generous Husband today, so if your husband is reading that blog he has also had the book recommended. 

Reference: The prefrontal cortex is the decision-making executive center of the brain 

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4 Comments on “Are You (Still) Waiting for Him to Grow Up?

  1. I laughed over the body sounds comment. Do men ever really stop finding that funny? Even grandfathers play the “pull my finger” game. B-)

    • I would say your grandfather gives us the answer.

      I suspect it become more of a habit than anything, and as long as it plays well with soe of the guys, why change?

  2. Maybe we should consider an entirely different idea: There are really two standards of maturity–one male and the other female. When I was a boy of about ten, we were expected to get hurt and not cry. Crying was for sissies and girls. Women are allowed to cry all of their lives for any any reason that suits them. One day at a Christian camp I saw a teen girl’s stuffed animal. “Do you sleep with that?” I asked. “Sure,” was the reply. I learned later that girls even took them to college. Any boy sleeping with a stuffed animal above the age of six would be considered to be suffering arrested development. Society’s standard for maturity is essential feminine. Men are required to meet the female idea of what is considered adult behavior. We are mature enough to let them have their say in this regard, and then ignore it. Try applying the male standard of maturity to women and watch their immature (by our measure) reaction. I don’t believe that women are immature if they cry or sleep with a stuffed animal or act in ways that would be considered frivolous if they were men, because I recognize that there are different measures of maturity for the different genders. Being irresponsible or grossly selfish, etc. is immature for either gender.

    • @Charlie O – Given the inherent differences in men and women, different standards seems sane, and expecting either gender to “live up to” what’s right for the other is going to be a problem. I certainly see places where men are held to a feminine standard, and I also see places where women are held to a masculine standard. Both seem wrong and unwise to me.
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