Studies show that in about 85% of marriages that it is the man who engages in what is known as stonewalling. Stonewalling is a defense mechanism in which the spouse shuts off all incoming and outgoing communication. It’s usually a response to when the wife is flooding him with a lot of negativity, complaints and criticism. It’s not so much of a lack on the man’s part as it is in our evolutionary heritage.
Anthropologists tell us that when we were running around as primitive humans, running from saber-toothed tigers and such, that our lives became determined by advantageous and rigid gender roles designed to help survive in a harsh environment. The women specialized in nurturing children while the men specialized in cooperative hunting. It helped increase the chances of getting through the day – intact as a family or group, and maybe getting some food for the day.
Most women who have breastfed will tell you the more she is stressed, the less milk she produces. The more relaxed she is, the more milk that comes forth. This is related to release of the hormone oxytocin. Stress-->reduced oxytocin-->little milk. Relaxed-->more oxytocin-->more milk. So it’s come to be
(natural selection) that because of improved survival needs, women are better and more efficient at relaxing in the face of stress, since this provides more nourishment for the child, promoting the chance the species/clan will live. Interestingly it’s also been found that kissing, even a single kiss, and even touching, causes oxytocin to be released thereby promoting some relaxation.
Primitive men on the other hand had to maintain constant vigilance in this harsh environment as a key to survival. Men whose adrenaline kicked in real fast and who did not calm down so easily were more likely to survive to produce offspring. This explains why a man’s blood pressure and pulse is more reactive,
remains higher and beats faster, to stress than a woman’s. This has been documented by researchers at University of California at Berkley. This is why when there’s a sudden, very loud noise, like a tire blowout, a man’s heart will beat faster and stay accelerated longer than a woman’s.
Interestingly, in studies in which couples are video taped arguing and later asked what they were thinking, men, generally, have negative thoughts about how righteous and indignant they feel. While on the other hand women’s responses reveal they more likely think soothing thoughts that help them calm down and be conciliatory.
So basically, and biologically, women are more constitutionally better equipped and able to handle the stress when sensitive issues are brought up, furthering conciliation. Whereas men, less biologically equipped, find difficulty coping and will attempt to avoid getting into the subject, often leading to defensiveness, especially if there is a barrage of criticism.
So the bottom line is: Whenever y’all argue -- hurry, kiss and make up!
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