The Significant Differences Between Men and Women

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There are significant differences between men and women, and those differences are often funny if you do not take it personally. For instance, in one cartoon, a man and woman are shown separately looking at themselves in a mirror. The woman is shapely and thin but sees a reflection of a much larger woman. Of course, she is frowning and unhappy. On the other side of the cartoon, the man confidently admires the muscled, lean, and handsome figure he sees in the mirror, clueless that his real body is substantially overweight and rather unsightly.

But are men and women really different? Perhaps you are convinced of this fact and want to know more. Or, you may think the differences are minor and that our modern age is helping move us past the artificially constructed differences assigned in the past.

Whatever you think about the topic, this video provides simple, straightforward information to help you decide which is most likely.

God’s Design Differences

Methods, Timing, and Reasons

Before moving forward, let me remind you of some essential items about how God created man and woman. First, the methods were different. The man was created from the dust of the ground, while the woman was created from the man's rib. Second, the timing was different. The man was created after the entire universe or physical environment was in place, including the garden. The woman was created after the man was in place. Finally, the reasons were different.

Man was created to fulfill a need in the garden:

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it – Genesis 2:15

Woman was created to fulfill a need in man:

…it is not good that man be alone… – Genesis 2:18

Those items are even more important when you remember that God is PERFECT. His design of woman and man is exactly like He wanted. If you do not accept that simple point, you entertain the corrupt thinking of Satan and the world. And the lousy thinking shows up in funny statements like, “God miscalculated and saw He could create a better human being, so He created Eve.” Of course, that is not true, but it is funny!

God created man and woman perfectly to fulfill their designed roles, which complement each other.

If you remember, God created woman because He stated that Adam was alone. Without woman, man’s design is underutilized. Man needed a suitable helper. And for woman, it is imperative to remember that Helper is a word used primarily about God, which further elevates rather than demeans women. Her design is underutilized without the association with man.

If a man’s design is not fully utilized without a woman, the same is true for a woman – her design is not fully utilized without a man. She was designed to fulfill a relational role, while man was designed to fulfill a work role – the differences are complementary, not conflicting.

The following provides this information in a couple of tables for easy access.

Purpose for Man and Woman


Created for the garden

  • Created to tend the garden
  • Created in response to the garden’s need

Created to WORK

  • Created to provide management and development
  • Designed to provide, protect, and preserve

Created for a good role

  • Was in his pre-fallen state, therefore, work was fulfilling


Created for man

  • Created because man was alone
  • Created in response to man’s need

Created to RELATE

  • Created to provide relationship and companionship
  • Designed to help, nurture, and support

Created for a good role

  • Was in her pre-fallen state, therefore, helper was fulfilling

Summary of Designs

Man is Designed to –

  • Protect, provide, and preserve (the seed)
  • Work, cultivate, keep, caretake
  • Need compatible help, suitable companionship
  • Be powerful, protect, guard, and develop
  • Be joined to, and one with woman, separate from mother & father

Woman is Designed to –

  • Bear, birth, and nurture (the seed)
  • Assist, support, aid, share, nurture, and give relief
  • Need protection and be provided for
  • Belong, relate, meet the need of man’s aloneness
  • Be joined to and one with man, separate from mother & father

Hormones Display Differences

Obviously, I am not a medical expert. Fortunately, I do not need to be one to describe the fundamental design differences between men and women. You only need to look at the hormones. Men have more testosterone, and women have more estrogen/progesterone. In rare cases, that is not true.

Instead of accepting God’s design of men and women, research continues a quest to identify what creates sex identity in males and females. There are at least these three views:

  • Biology – it is just the way we are made
  • Biology and Culture – we are made a certain way, and development can change that
  • Choice – a variety of influences allow the adoption of identity

For fun, consider the following lists of words. Be as objective as possible. Mark one word or phrase in the column pairs below that you believe describes you best. Choose only one from each pair, the one that would be most true about you. In other words, “If best describing me, I would say that I am…”

  • Aggressive
  • Risk averse
  • Assertive
  • Soft
  • Powerful
  • Doing
  • Helper
  • Interest inside home
  • Home oriented
  • Hard touch
  • Separate
  • Gentle & Merciful
  • Independent
  • Intimidating
  • Cautious
  • Risk-taking
  • Responsive
  • Rough
  • Relational
  • Being
  • Leader
  • Interest outside the home
  • Career oriented
  • Soft touch
  • Belonging
  • Impersonal & Logical
  • Dependent
  • Approachable

The Effect of Hormones

Research is rather consistent on the role and effect of hormones. Below are some of the words you can use to describe how different the hormones are.

  • TESTOSTERONE: Aggressive, Risk Taking, Assertive, Rough, Powerful, Doing, Leader, Interest outside the home, Career Oriented, Hard Touch, Separate, Impersonal and Logical, Independent, Intimidating
  • ESTROGEN / PROGESTERONE: Cautious, Risk Averse, Responsive, Soft, Relational, Being, Helper, Interest Inside home, Home-oriented, Soft Touch, Belonging, Gentle and Merciful, Dependent, Approachable

Most likely, if you are a man, you did not choose all testosterone words, right? The same would be true for women – you did not select all estrogen/progesterone words. Why not?

First, it is easy to choose words based on how you want others to see you or words you like. Consider the difference between Independent and Dependent. More often in societies like the United States, Dependent would not be considered desirable and, therefore, selected less often.

Second, men can do some things associated with women, and women can do some things related to men. That creates additional uncertainty on which word to choose.

Finally, and most importantly, despite God’s perfect design for men and women, development (and sin) influences everyone. Therefore, your view of yourself is less objective due to your development and environment. For example, suppose you were raised in an environment that rewarded dependence and punished independence. That structure would create a path of least resistance to dependence, even if your design is independent. Development can mask design, but the design is still there.

Freedom In Your Design

If you find you have chosen more words that correspond with the opposite hormone, you will likely see more freedom to be yourself when you move back toward your design. Acting more in line with your design may feel strange at first, but please do not let that deter you from the reality of how God designed you. Ultimately, when you operate in your design, it will be easier and more natural for you. After all, it is easier to walk standing up with good posture than to walk bent over. Even if you were taught to walk while bent over when you started walking as your body is designed, it would require some initial adjustment, but after some time, it would prove to be superior to walking bent over.

Categorizing Differences

Most of the following came from Dr. Marlin Howe’s “Hope for The Family” workshops, which are no longer available. This information provides simple ways to see how different men and women are.


  • Men: physical – Women: relational: This fits the hormones and how God designed men and women. Men are designed for work and activity, while women are designed for relating.
  • Men: compartmentalized – Women: hemispheric: Research continually shows how different men's and women's brains are. Men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers. Men's brains tend to perform tasks predominantly with the left side, which is considered the logical/rational side of the brain. On the other hand, women use both sides of their brains because a woman's brain has more connections (a larger corpus callosum) between the two sides, allowing data to transfer faster between the two hemispheres.
  • Men: physical oneness, sex is a high priority – Women: emotional oneness, relationships are a high priority: This does not imply that sex is not important to women or relationships are not important to men. There is more enjoyment for men from the activity of sex, while for women, it is the relationship and bonding that sex can provide. Research shows that women’s oxytocin (bonding hormone) is involved in the act of sex, which makes it more difficult for women when the relationship is broken.


  • Men: sight and touch – Women: talk and time: The rather apparent epidemic of pornography for men illustrates how men are stimulated by sight. Not only sight, but the woman’s touch, not just sexual, is pleasing to a man. For women, talk is tied to their relational design. In his article “Funnel of Arousal,” Mark Kastleman observes how differently men and women are stimulated and what he says fits God's designs. “Women are becoming addicted to internet cybersex chat rooms and relationships as surely as men are addicted to internet porn images.” Beyond talk, women need time, generally in a relationship, specifically in the bedroom.
  • Men: action, task-centered – Women: attitude, person-centered: Men are more likely to get together around some activity or task, while women are fine simply getting together. What a great illustration of the design that God has placed in each. Most of the differences, however they are stated, come back to the fundamental design of men and women.
  • Men: body naked, soul modest – Women: body modest, soul naked: This does not mean men want to run around naked; it is the comparison of the body to being naked versus allowing others to see into their soul, life, and problems. Men are much less prone to share their problems and concerns but will more easily share a common dressing room like a typical men’s locker room. Women are generally more reserved and modest about their bodies (women’s locker rooms) but much less reserved when sharing their souls.


  • Men: respect and admiration – Women: care and understanding: Since a man is designed to work, his sense of worth can easily be tied to what he does and, therefore, pursue respect and admiration from his work and activities. Whether a man’s identity is tied to work or not, he has a built-in need for respect. The idea of a wife respecting and submitting to her husband (Ephesians 5:22, 31) is God’s instruction to a wife on meeting a man’s design needs. On the other hand, women need care and understanding. Therefore, God has instructed men in Ephesians about loving and cherishing their wives. And, women can be understood, whether men believe it or not, because God implies that in 1 Peter 3:7. Since men's and women’s brains are wired differently, it can take time to understand, but it is something that can happen.
  • Men: achievement and challenge – Women: safety and security: Achievement and challenges are part of testosterone, which tends to manifest in a competitive spirit. Competition includes winning and losing. Women, while not uncompetitive, will often be in sports for relationships. Winning and competing are not normal descriptions of estrogen/progesterone, but again, society ignores the design and focuses on distorting the designs of both men and women. A critical element for any man is to provide a safe and secure environment and relationship for his wife or any woman. Taking advantage of women is how men participate in women’s judgment (see “Divine Judgments” chapter).
  • Men: touch, physically needed – Women: time, emotionally needed: While it is true that men experience emotions and women enjoy appropriate touches, overall, men are more physically driven and women more time and emotionally driven. Husbands can impact their marriage positively by deciding to spend time with their wives and talking to them. Since that is not a need of the husband, it can be a way that he is “sacrificing” for her (Eph. 5:25). And, when women accept the physical touch needs of a man, she can “submit” (Eph. 5:22) to his needs.

For more, review this course - 03A - Men and Women Are Different - REALLY!


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