Brush Up on Your Endocrinology (Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby, Part Twenty-Six)

My Relationship Journal: August

Lesson: Brush Up on Your Endocrinology

Book Notes and Quotes:

Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance–The Key to Life, Love and Energy, John Gray:

  • Many of the differences between men and women are due to differences in hormones—both in their levels and in the ways they behave in their bodies.
  • When feeling stressed, men seek testosterone-raising and testosterone-releasing activities, such as problem-solving and quiet, talk-free rest. When feeling stressed, women seek oxytocin-raising and oxytocin-releasing activities, such as talking, bonding and care-giving.
  • Testosterone increases cortisol (the stress hormone) in women and oxytocin increases it in men.
  • Women aren’t cranky—their serotonin is depleted due to stress and fluctuating blood sugar levels.
  • Men aren’t lazy—they are chemically built to need more time off.
  • Women don’t prioritize chores over self-care—they choose to release oxytocin by taking care of the home environment.
  • Men aren’t insensitive—they don’t crave the bonding women do.
  • Women don’t overreact—they experience a larger response in the brain when under stress than men do.
  • Women don’t complain endlessly—they talk about their feelings at length in order to rebuild their relaxing oxytocin.
  • Men don’t procrastinate—they choose to rebuild their testosterone levels through rest. They put off doing chores until an emergency, at which point their testosterone kicks in and tells them to act.
  • Women don’t worry an unreasonable amount—they simply enjoy nurturing others and thinking about their needs.

Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstanding, Aaron T. Beck M.D.

  • Male and female communication styles are instinctively different.
  • Men don’t ask as many personal questions, feeling that doing so is intrusive. Women ask lots of questions to show they care.
  • Men are less responsive and “. . . more likely to challenge or dispute statements made by their partners, which explains why a husband may seem to be eternally argumentative.”

My Relationship Resolutions:

  • I will make Matthew’s alone time a priority.
  • I will give myself time-outs when I need them, too.
  • I will communicate clearly. I won’t wait for Matthew to offer breaks, compliments, words of appreciation or anything else; instead, I will ask him for them.
  • I will focus on solutions, not emotions. This is an easier kind of conversation for men to have.
  • I will talk about my feelings with my female friends more often than I do with my husband.
  • I will avoid the temptation to compare lives. Sure, the number of hours I work is higher than the number Matthew works. But I get to play with Poppy and spend time with friends. He has to go to an office. With a boss.

For the Fridge:

  • “I promise to focus on solutions, not emotions.”
  • “I promise to understand that your needs are real.”

Read the rest of the series at Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Novel.


Being in love is harder than it sounds. Really, it’s a challenge on every level. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby on Amazon now.


Buy stuff on Amazon and support this blog. Easy enough, right? Just click here. Anything you buy counts.