Men are just as emotional as women

MEN are just as emotional as women. At least that's what a recent study (Little evidence for sex or ovarian hormone influences on affective variability) by researchers Alexander Weigard et al, found.

The study evaluated 142 men, naturally cycling women, and women using three different oral contraceptive formulations that "stabilise" hormone fluctuations. According to the researchers, "results provided more evidence for similarities between men and women—and between naturally cycling women and oral contraceptive users—than for differences. Even if differences exist, effects are likely small. Thus, there is little indication that ovarian hormones influence affective variability in women to a greater extent than the biopsychosocial factors that influence daily emotion in men."

In other words, men are just as emotional as women; they may just express emotion differently, something some of us with brothers or sons knew all along. But no 'aha', 'seet deh' or 'told you so' responses are required. What we have instead is an opportunity to holistically look at how understanding and processing our emotions can help both men and women to navigate life, our choices, our relationships and our faith.

Recently I attended a workshop and sermon by Pastor Bennie Phillips at Grace Family Church in which I heard the thoughts that "God cares about how you feel about things. God cares about how you experience things". We kind of intuitively know this to be true because a God who loves you would care about how you feel. But it does go against another firmly held perspective that how you feel doesn't matter: Obey God's laws! Do what's right! Suck it up! I believe that we are indeed called to obey God's laws, even in the most difficult circumstances, but even in the midst of required obedience, God cares about how we feel. Here are only a few nuggets of evidence in scripture:

•"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (I Peter 4:7, NLT).

•"The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18)

•"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another." (Romans 12:15).

God calls us to rejoice with each other and to weep with each other because he cares about how we feel and what we go through, endure or experience. He also wants us to care for each other's feelings.

•"The LORD said to Samuel, 'How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king'." (1 Samuel 16:1). In this verse, we see that God is aware of Samuel's sadness for Saul but doesn't want him to stay in a place of grief and sadness too long.

Phillips also asserted that "God is emotional". Can you imagine that? The creator of heaven and earth, who ensures the sun rises every morning, in whom there is no variability, no changing or turning (James 1:17) is emotional? Well, I have to agree with Phillips. Let's reflect on the following scriptures:

•As we gear up for Christmas it is good to remember that God loves us… a lot — "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16).

•God gets angry — "Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you." Deuteronomy 9:8. "And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff. Exodus 15:7.

•God gets sad — "Jesus wept." (John 11:35)

So men, women, and God are emotional. Phillips asserts that we are made in the image of an emotional God, and we are to bear His image.

Passionate about faith and women empowerment, Shelly-Ann Mair-Harris has served on the board of women's rights organisations and is the author of several publications including God's Woman and The Goodies on Her Tray. A woman of faith for several years, Shelly-Ann is the creator of Family and Faith Magazine and Women & Faith. She is also a podcaster, an award-winning playwright and poet as well as a trained and experienced media, marketing, change management and strategic communications professional.

Shelly-Ann MAIR-HARRIS

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