Appreciate the different

th-1I found out why Marti and I are so right, I mean so wrong, I mean so left of, or right for each other.

Don’t you like those psychological systems that come along ever so often and lump people into never any more than four groups? How we run to them and find one of the four that perfectly explains us? First there was the temperaments (I’m a melancholy married to a phlegmatic), then the colors (remember: What’s your color?), then the right brain/left brain people came along and simplified it all into two groups, and here’s the real deal: I bet every marriage has a right and left brain married to each other. It’s the way we work. Opposites attract; or you could also say that we are all trying to complete ourselves. Who wants to live with another version of you?

I suppose some do. At least I find most people are married to someone enough like themselves to at least have a few things they enjoy doing together. Marti and I, however, are off the charts different. We don’t take psychological matching tests anymore because we did once and found out we should never have been married. We are so different that when we fire together we are a powerful force, but when we are not, there is a question as to whether one of us might not live through another day.

Take the right brain/left brain phenomenon. Of course none of us is entirely one or the other, but a combination of strengths and weaknesses. The playful part of you in the right side might decide to roller-blade to work. The left side will make sure you get there safely and by a good route. The right side is where you find such things as music, art, poetry, and magic. It’s where an actor might find the motivation for a certain reading of his lines, but the left is where he finds the means to memorize them.

I say no one is completely one or the other, but my wife is the closest thing to all right brain as anyone could ever get. In fact, we think we may have found her left brain cell the other day which may mean she has used it all up on that moment, looking for it.

Being right brained means you can often take leaps in lateral thinking that other people cannot follow. Edward de Bono wrote several books on how to integrate lateral thinking into education. As a right-brain activity, he says lateral thinking involves humor, insight, and creativity. Left-brained, vertical thinking (what I have more of than Marti ever dreamed of)) involves reason and logic. He says, “Vertical thinking moves forward by sequential steps, each of which has to be justified . . . In lateral thinking one may have to be wrong at some stage in order to achieve a right solution; in vertical thinking (logic or math, for example) this would be impossible.”

Aha! There it is: the source of our problem. Marti is asking me to follow the impossible. No wonder. And no wonder she’s always talking about conflict as being good. You can’t know her without conflict, but she’s right about this: Conflict is good.

Here’s the point: we all have to figure out how to live together when we are so different. That means we have to learn to appreciate the different. Resist the same, because that turns us into like groups and factions with the wrong idea about what peace is. Peace is not what happens when everyone is the same; it’s what happens when different people appreciate each other for who they are and what they are missing.

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6 Responses to Appreciate the different

  1. TimC says:

    … and then throw in a layer of ADD and your well-ordered theory may be valid for a few minutes at best. But don’t worry, that will change too.

  2. Kathy says:

    one addition to go with this John: Respect!

  3. Susan D says:

    One of the best personality books I’ve read is “Please Understand Me II”. It has the typical 4 major breakdowns and it also has 4 subcategories underneath those major breakdowns.
    While I understand what you are getting at in your write up, this book does point out a lot of important things, i.e Our personality types are given to us by God, we do match best with certain other personalities (it’s all in how you think and how you express that…are you a concrete thinker or an abstract thinker? etc.) which would make our marriage work a little easier. But the book does point out that no matter who you’ve chosen for a mate and whether you “match” with them well or not, you married who you married and all the marriages can and will work depending on how much you want to make it work. He also says, that if you are together you are meant to be together, so make it work. (He does take into consideration abusive marriages).
    So the point that I’d like to make here is that, YES we are to make our marriages work and work hard at it, and these personality tests and books have their place and are meant to be “tools” to help you understand yourself AND your mate AND your kids! These books (especially this one) shouldn’t be cast away as being invaluable. They are helpful and once you understand why someone acts thinks and expresses themselves in a certain way, it helps with being patient with them. As I understood why I did things a certain way, I could also explain to my mate in a more communicable way.
    God’s word says, “What God has joined together, Let not man put asunder.” That always should be our goal and commitment, to our God and to each other. Don’t, however, throw the baby out with the bath water.

  4. David Reis says:

    I recall a pastor commenting that if we marry an identical match then one of us is superfluous. God does seem to revel in what we might consider redundancy (blades of grass, mosquitoes) – got that from Chesterton in Orthodoxy. Yet that seldom seems the case in marriage. My wife and I are both left handed, same generation and Christ followers. She does color and I do proportion/scale. I accelerate, she provides the brake just before I go over the cliff. Enough to enjoy many things together and different enough to keep each other on our toes. Both committed to each other as long as this life lasts.

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