Applying the Golden Rule in Marriage

Last week I did a post over on The Generous Husband in which I suggested the Golden Rule doesn’t always work well in marriage. I had someone correct me, saying it works if you apply it right: treating others the way you would like to be treated is about being kind, generous, and so on. I can agree with that, but the fact remains we tend to do for and to others the things we would like them to do for and to us.

Applying the Golden Rule in Marriage

Your husband is a man, and he came from the factory with a male body and a male mind. Despite what some want us to believe, men and women have significant differences, and many of those are rooted in different (God inspired) biology. Some of what you’re dying for is of little or no importance to him, and some things he finds very important are irrelevant to you. 

As Emerson Eggerichs says, different, not wrong. This means you shouldn’t expect him to want what you want and should be okay with him wanting things you don’t find exciting. The first step is learning to expect these differences. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wife is nothing like me.

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10 Comments on “Applying the Golden Rule in Marriage

  1. I think it’s a lot more likely that you and your wife are nothing alike (really? NOTHING alike, nothing in common? If true, then how are you two even married?) is more likely due to the fact that you are two separate individual human beings, rather than innate biological sex differences.

    I’m willing to bet that there exist plenty of men that you also have little to nothing in common with. Does that mean they aren’t really men, but cross dressing women in disguise? Or just different people than you, with different hearts, minds, personalities, and interests? If you think it’s more likely the latter (a far more logical conclusion), then isn’t it logical to apply that same reasoning to your wife, and women in general? Just something to think about.

    • @Amazing Ace – Yes there are plenty of differences that are not based on gender, but there are also plenty that are. I don’t see a reason to deny either.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Are You A Runaway?My Profile

      • Granted. Of course there are certain biological differences between the sexes, but they are only skin deep at best and even then there can be considerable variance within that framework.

        By their nature, blanket statements are always going to be incorrect because they are never going to be 100% accurate for everyone 100% of the time. You’re dealing with averages, but averages are not reality; they are only a statistical likelihood. Just because something is statistically likely does not make it a fact, a universal truth. On average, men are taller than women. Danny DiVito is five foot nothing, making him statistically more likely to be female than male, but he is male regardless.

        So, how do you decide which differences are gender based, and which are not? What is your criteria? I’m very curious. :)

        • @Amazing Ace – Actually they are way more than skin deep. The vastly different hormones in male and female bodies result in significant differences. This has been a problem for women since most medicine is geared for men, not women. In the past studies looked at men because there were no menstrual cycle variations to worry about. In some things what works for men is just fine for women, in other things it is not. This means women have received second-class medical care.
          Brain studies are finding massive differences in men and women. Even when men and women get the same answer they tend to go about it using different parts of the brain. And male and female brains are wired to be good at different things.
          Statistical averages are a tool we all use every day in every part of our lives. We get in the shorter check-out line because the odds are it will get us out faster. If two check out lines are the same length with a male and a female checker I take the line with the women because in my experience the odds are she will be faster. None of this is 100%, but it is often a helpful guess.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Are You A Runaway?My Profile

          • I agree that there needs to be more drug trials done with women. You are quite correct, there are often unexpected side effects with drugs that have been tested on men but not women. But this usually has to do with the dosages being off due to size difference just as often as anything else. Also, men’s hormones fluctuate just as much as women’s, sometimes more so, so it doesn’t even make sense to use women’s menstrual cycles as an excuse to exclude them from drug trials. Here is a link to helpful article on the subject of male hormonal cycles, if you are interested:


            Ah, do you mean studies like the one from Tel Aviv University that studied the images of more than 1400 MRI brain scans from men and women, and found only between 0 to 8% of them contained entirely male or female structures, and that most brains were a unique mixture of both?


            Yes, statistical averages can be a useful tool. But it’s not a tool that is useful for every task. Statistical averages are like a machete; some jobs require a scalpel. When you’re talking about gender differences and trying to help people with their marriages, I would think you’d need to use a tool that’s a little more precise and accurate that the one you use to decide which line to get in at the store. Any statement one makes about men or women that isn’t qualified with the phrase “in many, but not all, cases,” is not precise enough to be of any real use to everyone. What works for one person may not work for another, and that needs to be acknowledged in some way.

            I just realized, you haven’t answered my earlier question! How do you tell gender based differences from individual differences, and what is your criteria for determining that? Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, BTW, I’m finding it very interesting.

            • @Amazing Ace –
              1) It’s far more than body weight. For example, if a man and a woman are of the same weight, she is more affected by a set amount of alcohol than he is. This is due to differences in things like her body water content and liver function. (See: Are Women More Vulnerable to Alcohol’s Effects? –
              2) Yes, testosterone cycles. But it’s one hormone, not several. This makes the changes less significant and more predictable.
              3) The term andropause is an attempted to make men like women, but it misses by a mile. The changes in men are much more gradual and this means the effects are far less pronounced. There is also a huge variation from man to man, much more so than for women. (See: Male menopause: Myth or reality? | Mayo Clinic –
              4) Yes, Daphna Joel was a big hit with those who’s politics mandate men and women being almost identical. But he was less kindly received by most of his colleges. One such criticism is found at (Title: Yes, there is a female and a male brain: Morphology versus functionality). The complaint here was the type of images he used, “This conclusion cannot be drawn based on the methodology used. MRIs are ‘still images.’ Looking at these is more akin to examining a road map and drawing conclusions about traffic patterns. ”
              Beyond that, he looked at 10 areas of the brain and called the brain male only if it was male in all ten areas, and female only if it was female in all ten areas. So a brain that was 90% male was put in the same category as a brain that was 90% female. This is one of the reasons some have accused Joel of setting out to “prove” there is no difference in male and female brains. That’s not science, it’s political propaganda.
              To be fair, there are those who have done the reverse. Male and female brains are not as similar as some claim, and not as different as others claim. But they are different in many ways. When you graph male and female brains on bell curves you find the curves do overlap but are offset significantly. This means there is some similarity, but also distinct differences.
              5) When a difference falls strongly along gender lines, it seems safe to assume it is a gender-based difference.

              MY POINT in all of this is that men and women are different, and we tend to be somewhat blind to those differences. Plenty of marriage problems come down to expecting or wanting one’s spouse to be more like a man or a woman. I’m trying to get people to be aware of this.
              Yes, there are other differences that are not based on gender, but these are not reinforced by a person’s same-sex friends and thus are less commonly blind-spots.

              Final note: There are significant sex difference in the occurrence of many psychiatric conditions. Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, schizophrenia and Tourette’s are all more common or far more common in men than women. Given these are primarily a function (or malfunction) of the brain, it further shows male and female brains are different.
              Paul Byerly recently posted…Get Past Her Words and Into Her HeartMy Profile

              • This the last I’m going to say on the subject matter here at this time, but I would like to leave you with a few thoughts and questions for yourself. You do not have to answer them here at this time if you don’t wish to, but you will have to answer them to yourself if no one else.

                My first question: how, exactly, is anything you’re saying different from what the World thinks and says? The phrases, “men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” “boys will be boys,” “snips and snails and puppy dog tails,” and “sugar and spice and everything nice,” are not, in fact, part of Christian doctrine or of Christian origin, but rather of Worldly origin. All you’ve done differently is stick a label on these ideas that reads, “don’t blame me, God did it,” and even then that’s only a slight variation on the World’s label that reads, “don’t blame me, it’s just biology.”

                In Christ, we are told, there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female. So why don’t we Christians act like it? Instead, we behave as if we are still in bondage to the old Worldly ways that should have been left far behind us. In fact, Christian doctrine has expanded those ideas in ways the world never even thought of. Where the World merely makes masculinity into a fetish, Christianity has elevated it to godlike status, and worships it. Do you really think Eve would have been a helper suitable for Adam if God had made her so completely different from him that they couldn’t understand each other without the help of translator? Although, I do believe I have heard tell of a verse that was left out of Genesis. It goes something like this: “And on the eighth day, God realized he had forgotten to provide Eve

                • Accidentally hit submit before I was finished, my apologies. Continued:

                  . . . “with a translator, so the Lord spoke and said, ‘let there be a Paul Byerly, and let him translate Adam’s thoughts and feelings to Eve, for I have made them too different,’ and Behold! There came forth a Paul Byerly. And all was well in the Garden.” At least that’s how I think it goes. Is that how it goes in your bible translation?

                  I find it . . . a little . . . I don’t know, sad, I suppose, that you, who have helped and continue to help so many, could be helping still more people, but you will not. Refuse to, in no uncertain terms. And why? Because in order to do so, you would have to open you mind the tiniest fraction of an inch, just wide enough to allow in the (not even radical) idea that people are different from one another because they are individuals. There are men and women who are very different from one another, true; but there are also men who are very different from other men, and women who are very different from other women. There are even men and women who are very much alike. There’s an infinite variety of people with an infinite variety of personalities, and that’s as it should be. The infinitely creative God who made so many different kinds of plants and animals would not limit Themselves to only two kinds of people with only two kinds of personalities. It’s just out of character for Them.

                  You could be doing so much more, helping so many more people, instead of shoving them into little boxes that God never intended for them. Why won’t you? What are you so afraid of? There is so much freedom to be had outside your little box, room to move and breathe. Come out!

                • @Amazing Ace – If you are hearing me say differences make any allowance or excuse for sin or bad behaviour I have failed to communicate well!
                  “Boys will be boys” is something I would never say, and I would challenge anyone who did say it. Yes, such “boy” behaviour may well be because of how God made them, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay for them to do it. How we were made gives us each unique temptations, and some of those are very much gender based. Admitting those sexually defined difference is not saying it’s okay! On the contrary, pointing it out is the first step in taking responsibility for those things and doing better.
                  The other side of this is we sometimes assume something is wrong because it is not how we, or our same-sex friends, would do it. This too leads to problems. The whole idea of different not wrong starts with “different”.
                  The bottom line for me is that sex-based differences are real and I find it counter-productive to ignore or deny them.

                  As for Galatians 3:28, you have lifted it out of context, and it certainly is not God telling us to ignore differences that are real and clearly observable.

                  I will agree much of what the church taught in the past, and some still teach, was not biblical. Men were seen as too important and women as irrelevant except for procreation. But the solution to exaggerating sex-based differences is not to go to the other error and claim such differences do not exist. It’s human nature to go from one wrong extreme to the other, but two wrongs still don’t make a right.

                  Finally, I’ve never denied people are different because they are individuals. I’ve talked about it many times, including in our discussion here. But I ALSO acknowledge the fact that SOME differences are strongly sex-based. And I’ve shown a good deal of evidence this is a reality. As far as I can tell, you think I would be more help if I started to deny something that is clearly true. I realise you don’t think it’s true, but I do.
                  Paul Byerly recently posted…Is That A Marriage You Want to Emulate?My Profile

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