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Saturday, July 17, 2010
I recently read the book “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent.

It’s a touching and inspiring story of “A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together,” as the subtitle puts it. It’s fascinating to read how each of these two men from very different worlds, with the help of an extraordinary woman, slowly work through their stereotypes and presumptions about the other to become best friends.

The book has a few interesting and valuable lessons for marriage.

Lesson 1: Stereotypes Aren’t Very Useful

In my recent post “What if My Personality Doesn’t Fit My Role,” . I discussed the fact that stereotypes aren’t really very helpful other than for the convenience of making some generalizations about groups of people. The fact is that we are all individuals, uniquely crafted by our creator with differing talents and shortcomings, strengths, and weaknesses. Before they could form a bond, Ron and Denver, the stories two main protagonists, had to be willing to examine each other for who they really were instead of who they assumed each other to be.
  • Don’t be too quick to make stereotypical assumptions about your spouse. Rather take the time to discover who they really are deep down. Chances are they don’t exactly fit the many preconceived notions you may have.
Lesson 2: There Are (at least) Two Sides to Every Story

I love the way the book was told in the voices of the two opposite-world protagonists. It brings into stark reality the way two people can look at the same set of events, the same statements and circumstances and see a completely different picture of reality.
  • Remind yourself that your reality might be quite different from your spouse’s, especially if your family backgrounds, personalities and life experiences differ greatly.
Lesson 3: Change Often Comes Slowly

The story paints the slow, years-long progression of the men’s understanding of one another. The doubt and suspicion dissolves over time into a solid, lasting friendship, but it is a step-by-step progression. Denver (the homeless man) was so uncomfortable sleeping in a bed after years sleeping on the streets, that even when offered a comfortable bed in Ron’s home, he chose to sleep on the floor. Over time Denver learns to appreciate the comforts offered him by his friend, but it takes him a long time, and he often takes refuge back in his comfort zone on the streets.
  • It takes a great deal of grace and patience to love each other through our evolution toward maturity, because some habits and behaviors, hard though they may be to understand, simply die hard.
Lesson 4: God Unites and Redeems

Ultimately this is a story of God’s redemptive nature and of the uniting power of faith. In this story God redeems some tragic circumstances and uses them to draw these two men into an unlikely bond of unity. You’ve no doubt seen the marriage triangle (pictured right). It is used to explain that as the couple grows closer to God they also grow toward one another. It’s a bit trite and over-simplified, but it does portray the simple truth:
  • As God redeems us and grows us up from what we were, transforming us into his image in the process, we will quite naturally grow into the reality of being one flesh, because God’s nature is one that values unity and intimacy.

How about you? Did you read the book? Do you have any thoughts on the lessons I divined from the story? Do you see other marriage lessons in the book?


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