When Matt and I talk about some of the differences between men and women, we often refer to the computer screen as a perfect metaphor. Of course, we are not trying to label people or say that everyone is the same, but it does seem pretty consistent that men and women have different ways of thinking.
Matt and I work from two separate computers. I think he is extremely thankful that, other than the satisfaction that I have finally joined the Apple community. When I go to his computer and log in, I see his nicely organized desktop, with perhaps one window open that he failed to closeout before he hurriedly ran out the door. But when he opens mine, I generally hear something like “Have mercy, what in the world could you possibly be working on with all of this happening!” I usually have about four internet windows running, three projects minimized, and several things saved to my desktop waiting in line. It usually looks something like this- this is my current screen shot:
My current window is this article I am writing, while another internet window is searching for business plan templates and Facebook is available for quick reference. Nevermind focusing on one thing, I have my Wunderlist behind my internet window waiting for more tasks to add to my to-do list and another article off to the right. Don’t forget the budget at the bottom of the screen that may need updating at any moment. I can see why this drives Matt literally mad…
Thus, our saying that men and women think like two different computer screens. Women have this amazing ability to multitask. We can be working on one project, only to have it remind us of something else we wanted to do, which reminds us of the room we meant to decorate (open Pinterest) which reminds us of the budget that we open up, reminding us to book the event that is coming up in the Calendar, and then the coupons that need to be saved and printed out. I mean, why close anything when I can load something else while I wait? Matt often jokes with me that I probably contribute to the internet slowing down at night more than the online gamers do. Very funny… all those open windows are serious Mister….
Women can have multiple “windows” going on and still function in the here and now. Of course our super power diminishes the more windows we have open. We become more and more consumed by what is happening in our brain. For example, I can be thinking of the kids playing outside while I am following directions on a recipe for dinner thinking that I will check on them in 2 minutes. In the meantime, I may minimize that “screen” while I remember to water the plants on the patio, then remind myself about the kids in 1.5 minutes, then turn to think about what we will have for dessert while I am writing down what we need from the store, which reminds me to call my mom, leaving me 1 minute to say hello before I go outside to check on the kids, right when it is time for me to add the next ingredient.
Of course, that also leaves plenty of room for us to forget something important, like the kids, an ingredient, or worse- dinner burning. We may think everyone can think that way- but I assure you, men do not. Most men’s minds compartmentalize topics, similar to a command prompt screen or train car. One thought may lead to another and then to another- drawing a final conclusion. It also gives them the ability to “put a thought away” (especially if it is a troubling thought they don’t want to affect them now) and come back to it later… or not. How this plays out in the man’s mind is another topic, but for today we need to focus on what this “multi-tasking superpower” can mean in our relationships. Although it is incredibly useful- it can also damage our relationships if we are not careful to manage it.
One is that we become forgetful and consumed. Men often say they feel like their wife can think of everyone else, but they feel forgotten by the end of the night. Ladies, it is important to have a “window” open for our marriage. We need to be thinking about how they fit into our crazy thought life. What happens when it is not the dinner that is burning, but we have set aside improving our relationship. Marriages often suffer when the tasks of life and children take our energy and we save the marriage for later. The 30’s are a prime time for this (believe me I know!)
Another is the annoying pop up. I hate the ones that you have to chase around to close out. We get those too. You know those feelings that we thought we resolved 5 yrs ago? Our husband may do the smallest thing that causes that feeling to re-surface. Sometimes it is another layer to look at and process, but a lot of times its an annoying feeling that we closed out long ago. Hear me on this one, friends. It is our responsbiity to close out those windows. Just because old feelings that have been resolved “pop up” does not mean we have to “click” on them and open the “window”. Old wounds that have scarred over through forgiveness are often resolved, but we must have the self-control to “close it out” before it becomes destructive- or worse- is used as a weapon when we said we forgave.
Lastly, if you feel overwhelmed by too many responsibilities and “windows”- communicate to your husband about ways he can help close out some of those windows- doing the grocery shopping, the laundry, or the dishes, etc. Let go of the control that only you can do it and let him help you. Let him know that by doing this, you are able to make more room for him in your thought life. *Hint* Tell him it’s a turn on, leaving you more time during your day to think about him coming home. Most men want to be thought of and needed more, they just need to know what they can do to make it possible. Believe me, you both will thank me for it later!