n the last blog, we looked at the differences between Men and Women Moral Operators. This blog will look at the similarities and differences between Men and Women Relational Operators.
To review, Relational Operators tend to think, perceive, and interpret relationally, typically placing an emphasis on emotions or feelings. This means that the feelings or emotions of oneself or others are considered to have a greater importance in decision making and interpretation. If something is considered right or wrong, it’s considered to be right or wrong in light of people’s emotions or feelings. When we consider the Scripture verse, “Speaking truth in love” (Eph 4:15), Relational Operators will emphasis the speaking “in love” while Moral Operators will emphasize “Speaking truth.” If you say things the right way and are considerate of another’s feelings, you did it right. Yet many who are Relational Operators are so concerned with people’s feelings that they tend to be people pleasers and may tend to water down truth to avoid hurting others or fearing rejection.
“…many who are Relational Operators are so concerned with people’s feelings that they tend to be people pleasers and may tend to water down truth to avoid hurting others or fearing rejection.”
Both Men and Women are created in the Image of God and stand before one another equal in importance and value. Created in His Image, both man and woman are necessary to create, or give birth, to a child who is created in the image of his or her parents. Yet even as we can tell the differences between our children because of sex, we also see differences in personality. Maybe a son is like his mother, and a daughter is like her father. These differences of personality are not necessarily because of sex, but because they image God (and to an extent their parents). Yet the sex of a person does play a role in both Moral Operators and Relational Operators alike.
Let’s Start with Men This Time
First, a disclaimer: I am a Relational Operator (RO) in almost every area of my life, but one. In my role as a father, I lean more towards being a Moral Operator (MO) in standards and expectations. Maybe I lean toward being an MO because my dad is a Moral Operator and he was my example of what a dad should be and do. But in every other aspect of life, I am an RO, and I’m afraid I may not be as thorough with Male Relational Operators than I’d like to be. Men who are Relational Operators tend to be more sensitive to the opinions of others, but depending on the person, may be less inclined to ask for what is desired, and therefore suffer in silence or become angry if they feel rejected. Let’s face it men, whether Relational or Moral, we don’t always talk about what we feel or desire. Often we are too afraid to speak up because we fear what others may say or do, making ourselves more vulnerable, and we don’t like people to think less of us. Culturally, men have the stereotype of being strong, so sharing feelings and “emotional needs” can be a sign of weakness. Male RO’s often make decisions based on feelings and struggle with self-discipline, often doing what they feel like doing instead of what they ought (this drives wives who are Moral Operators crazy). Though sensitive to what other’s go through, men are known to deal with things differently than women. Mark Gungor explains how men have boxes and can place certain events, conversations, etc. into these boxes while women generally cannot deal with events these ways. For male Relational Operators, we can place events, emotions, and conversations away in these boxes for later, but eventually unmet desires, unspoken thoughts, or undealt with feelings come out in passive-aggressive ways (withholding love, talking under breath, etc.). Passive male Relational Operators who marry Moral Operators are more likely to avoid conflicts and allow their spouses to make most decisions in the family. They will likely take a back seat and by default, allows or forces their spouse to lead the family. This can be very frustrating to spouses who wish their Relational Operating husbands would step up and lead. Many male Relational Operators will seek approval from their spouses and be hurt when they do not receive it. It is best for Relational Operators to express thoughts and feelings to overcome emotional hurt or pain, and to overcome fears and develop greater intimacy with others. We need to learn how not to be offended or take things personally. With the addition of self-centeredness and insecurity, a Relational Operator could idolize their spouse and expect them to love them as desired and may become upset and manipulative when they feel unloved and underappreciated.
Ladies, Your Next
As stated in a previous blog, woman was created for relationship. As such, women generally are more relational than men, even if they are Moral Operators. Women Relational Operators have the same strengths and weaknesses as men who are Relational Operators, yet the strengths and weaknesses seem to be slightly exaggerated. Women Relational Operators who are insecure in their sense of worth will often look to another person to feel this worth and identity. They are more likely to have another person (typically a spouse) as an idol in their lives who has the power to encourage or discourage, having a large impact into the person’s worth. Typically, women Relational Operators will be attracted to Moral Operators who seem confident and make decisions assuredly. Some who are insecure and conflict avoiders may even find themselves in abusive relationships where their Moral Operator spouse has the power to kill with their words or actions. Often, in abusive relationships, it is the Relational Operator who is being abused and who believe the “truths” stated by the other person. Relational Operators, whether male or female, truly need to explore their worth and value found in Christ and understand that Truth comes from God’s word and not from an abusive person’s interpretation of God’s Word. For example, an abusive person will use God’s Word in a way that meets their demands “The Bible says you need to submit to me and do what I say, so do it.” An insecure Relational Operator will know what God’s Word will state about a wife’s submission (Eph 5), but will not see how God’s Word is being used incorrectly to control and manipulate. Women Relational Operators are wonderful at reaching out to people, typically get along with many people, and are great friends. When their security is found in Christ, their sense of worth and identity fuels the love shared to other people. Yet when insecure, their love may be more shallow as they may be doing good and loving acts in order to seek approval from others. In other words, they need people to be loved, rather than needing people to love and fulfill Christ’s mandate to love others. This is true for men, too.
There are many strengths and weaknesses in Relational Operators. Most of these strengths and weaknesses are often revealed more in relationships and interactions with other people. Although men and women are different, the relational dynamics are slightly different based on sense of one’s worth (security), sex, and whether one is more passive or assertive. We become more secure when we understand our worth and identity through Christ, and not through the opinions of other people, often found in one’s closest relationships. What other Relational Operating observations have you made?
Written by : Fred Jacoby
Fred Jacoby is the Founder and Director of Foundations Christian Counseling Services, located in Northeast, PA., and currently serves as the Pastor of Counseling at Cornerstone Community Church in Kresgeville, PA
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