Why men won't talk and women won't shut up

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Yeah.... it's a stereotype, but most stereotypes have at least some basis in fact, and this one is firmly rooted in fact.

The simple fact is that the average woman talks considerably more than the average man. Studies have shown that the average woman will speak roughly from 6,000 words a day to 20,000 words a day, while the average man only speaks only from 3,000 words a day to 6,000 words a day. Ever wonder why? And even more importantly, ever wonder what that does to our relationships and marriages? It's a BIG difference and it's important.

The differences, as is true with almost everything about human nature comes down to genetics, the difference in how we evolved and the difference between a woman's brain and a man's brain.

Sometimes I feel as if I am a broken record because I keep repeating the same facts over and over in my articles... More than 99% of our evolution occurred when we were living in caves, or even before that. Men evolved to be bigger and stronger than women and their primary role was protection and hunting. Women evolved to be the child bearers and gatherers who's primary role was to raise the children and keep them from starving. These simplified roles obviously required much different skills to be successful, so it is absolutely logical that nature and evolution would have us evolve differently. The good news for people who believe in marriage and family life is that even after our brains grew to the size it is now, these primitive traits are still imprinted on us, and will be for at least many more thousands of years.

Why did women evolve to be almost a non stop talking machine and men did not... Well.. I'm sure there are perhaps thousands of subtle reasons, but they pretty much all boil down to the difference in our role in primitive society.

A woman's role as the mother of her children required her to stay close to the cave and to cooperate with other women in minding the children. Tribes who's women could coordinate the daily duties of watching the children, while simultaneously gathering food (nuts and berries etc), and keep an eye out for danger were obviously going to be much more successful in keeping their children alive than tribe's who women didn't cooperate, and cooperation requires some form of communication. So, women evolved much better speech patterns than men did, and their brain is structured to multitask.

Studies actually confirm that when a woman speaks considerably less than the average amount of words for a female that she will feel the need to talk more. The act of speaking releases hormones in a woman's brain that causes them to feel more relaxed... almost the same thing as what a drug addict feels when they take their drugs :), although on a much smaller scale. If a woman doesn't speak enough during the day for long periods of time, she will become tense and irritable. She needs to speak!

Now, compare that to how men evolved. A man's primary role was to hunt and protect. Both of these roles are done more effectively in quiet mode. Ever noticed in the movies how cops and soldiers give hand signals, and communicate quite effectively without saying a word? Well.. that came from evolution. Men have been doing that for millions of years. Think about it... you're out hunting, walking through thick forest. Are you safer if you talk to the other people in your party (if you are even hunting with other men), or are you safer if you're quiet... It doesn't take much of an effort to realize that the less noise you make the safer you are because anything that might be out there that could harm you has less chance of even knowing you are there. Don't forget that for most of our evolution we were not in the dominant position we are today. Millions of years ago, we were lucky to be surviving at all. Of course, any hunter can tell you that the quieter you are when you're hunting the greater the odds of a successful hunt. That almost doesn't need to be said.

I'm sure you can connect the dots for yourself and realize that men who evolved with the ability NOT to speak for long periods of time, and who could communicate with each other using simple gestures would be more successful than men who didn't or couldn't keep quiet. Hah.. this is far from rocket science (millions of years from it in fact).

For men, it is uncomfortable to speak significantly more than the amount of words he is genetically programmed for. If a man has a job where he is talking to people all day, he may not want to talk at all when he gets home.

How does all this mean anything to how we live today? It's actually very significant and probably plays a major role in how successful or unsuccessful our marriages are. The number one complaint women have about their husband is that he doesn't want to talk, and the number one complaint men have about their wives is that she never wants to shut up. Our modern lives have placed us in a position where many men have to talk more than they want to talk just at work, and women are now at work instead of home raising the children and talking to the other women of their tribe all day long. Women come home needing to talk and men come home needing quiet time. Is it any wonder that the divorce rate is sky rocketing?

Men and women need to figure out a way that they can both have the amount of communication in a day that they need, no more and no less, because not getting it creates stress on all of us.

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