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In the Image of God

Created Male & Female

Our masculinity and femininity are completely integrated with our personhood. They are stamped into our spirituality, hard-wired into our brains, ingrained in our personality and manifested in and through every part of our bodies.

“So God created humankind in his image” Gen 1:27

To be human, is to be sexual. Our physiological sex influences our behaviour in relationship. Differences in our brain structure and development as well as hormone levels make certain ways of loving or being loved come more naturally for each of us while others require effort.

Men are testosterone-loaded, lateral-brained and often left-brain dominant. They are gifted with a desire to build, to spring into action, to provide, to protect, to conquer tasks, to win, solve problems, or plan for the future. They are very often the anchor in a relationship regardless of their personality. They may be constant in service or able to provide security. Masculine virtue is often willing to sacrifice for the greater good, offer the greater physical labour, or take the heroic risk.

Because a man generally sees virtue in terms of strength and sin in terms of weakness, they often express love through strength of character, honesty, competence, integrity or principled behaviour. Men tend to feel most loved when he is respected and his strength is needed or appreciated. Physical expressions of love, sexual communication, touch and spending time together are likely to be the most natural and powerful way men experience and express love.

Women are oestrogen-laden, have greater neural connections between the two halves of the brain, and are often right-brain dominant. They are gifted with a natural ability to nurture, are often warm and personal. They tend to build relationships by expressing feelings, sentiments, and affection, and by communicating verbally. Feminine virtue will be urgently drawn to respond to those in tears, in need or in pain and will endure long suffering for those they love. They are very often able to be flexible and creative, adjust to change and allow themselves to be vulnerable in a relationship.

Because women see virtue in terms of beauty and sin in terms of ugliness or shame, they will naturally express love through beautiful words, thoughtful gestures, compassionate deeds, and by making things beautiful, decorating everything with great care. Women typically want to be known on a personal level and are willing to trust others and share their interior selves. They will feel most loved when they are listened to, understood, and cherished.

Theology of the Body Insight

“Woman’s constitution differs from that of man; in fact we know today that it is different in the deepest bio-physiological determinants. [And] the difference is shown only in a limited measure on the outside, in the build and form of her body.” TOB, n 21:3. pg 211.

Stories of the Heart

Experiencing my wife’s respect for me as a person and as her lover is a powerful experience of being loved for me. Respect doesn’t mean she has to agree with me (far from it!), but rather, she doesn’t assume the worst of my intention, especially when things go wrong between us. While not a perfect husband, I do try my best to love and care for her. While I don’t always get it right, nothing hurts as much as her assumption that I didn’t care or was thoughtless. On the other hand, an expression of respect, such as assuming I meant well, even if it was the wrong action, is really affirming.


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