I'm taking Sociology of Family this summer. We have lots of journals to read and then we discuss them in class. We recently have talked about gender roles in a relationship. Men are what they call instrumental leaders and they communicate and show love through actions. For example, they'll mow the lawn, fix the car, etc. Where women are usually expressive leaders and communicators and show love through words and discussion. For the most part, I believe this is true. The behavior is usually learned but some may actually be biological. Men want to fix the situation and women just want to talk about it.
We also watched a movie about Gottman, a sociologist who interviews newlywed couples and can predict if they'll stay together or get divorced. He's 90% correct in his predictions. There are positive and negative conflict resolution styles. There are 4 negative styles that he looks for in their communication, if they demonstrate these traits, he predicts that they will get a divorce. Women bring up 80% of all discussions and 96% of arguments are decided in the first 3 minutes depending on the tone the conversation was started.
The 4 types are:
1. Criticism - this tends to be more of a female style. They blame their spouse and tell them how they're wrong and attack their personality instead of the real issue.
2. Defensiveness - both genders use this technique equally. They don't accept responsibility nor validate the accusation. The complaint is answered with a complaint of the other person or complete denial.
3. Contempt/sarcasm - this is the most detrimental type. This tears down the other person in a extremely disrespectful way.
4. Withdraw - 85% of this type is men. The listener isn't there mentally or physically. The heart rate even remains low during the argument. This is seem as disrespectful to the initiator.
My parents do all of these things. Sometimes I'm surprised they're still married. But whatever works for them. I think they are flipped gender styles though. My mom does not like to talk and my dad nags. Either way, communication could be much better!