Simply put, women (with some exceptions) cry more–much more–than the average man. As I reference in Chapter Three of “Real Women Cry (and real men let them),” we seem to welcome movies like Steel Magnolias and Beaches during which we cry. The actresses in the films cry, and with tissues in hand, we cry with them. But why is this?:
We cry because we know what it is like to have a sick child. We cry because our own friend may be hurting. We cry because we are women and when other women cry, we cry, too.[i]
And science proves it! A study by Dr. William Frey compiled data from approximately 1,500 crying episodes and “conclusively confirmed the widely-held belief that females do indeed shed more tears, more often than males.”[ii] Why is this so important?
Contrary to what we may have heard (or told ourselves!) it really is ok to cry! In fact God Himself wired women this way so that we would have a healthy outlet through which to process our emotions. Seriously: what woman at the end of an exceptionally hard day doesn’t know how good it can feel to let the cork out of her emotional bottle with a “good old-fashioned melt-down?” Want more evidence? Dr. Frey’s study was the first to confirm scientifically that women feel better after crying as a whopping 85 percent who recorded personal episodes of crying reported feeling better afterward. [iii]
In addition to the mountain of data compiled in my book (I wanted there to be no doubt!), succinctly put, women cry because God made us special! We are living creatures who care. We are nurturers. We are relational. Even when isolated through the heartbreak of depression, a piece of us longs to reach out and be connected, to know real intimacy and with that desire often comes pain that ultimately may warrant some tears. Importantly, there is hope in these moments for herein lies an open invitation from a God Who longingly awaits to embrace us through the message of love poured out by Jesus through Calvary’s cross.
With this truth in sight, let us as women run with confidence (runny nose and all!) toward the still small voice of God knowing our tears are but a pathway to understanding ever more deeply the One Who Himself suffered (and cried). In doing so we will no doubt discover a “hope that cannot disappoint.” (Romans 5:3-5).
[i] “Real Women Cry (and real men let them),” p. 39
[ii] Frey II, William H., “Crying: The Mystery of Tears,” p.71. as quoted in “Real Women Cry,” p. 48
[iii] Ibid. p.119-120 as quoted in “Real Women Cry,” p.48. Notably 73 percent of men who recorded episodes of crying during Dr. Frey’s study also reported feeling better.