Now that you have been married awhile, does it bother you to find out that you and your spouse are different? In fact, quite different?
Many of us have enjoyed Dr. M. Scott Peck's book "The Road Less Traveled." Now he has written another one titled "The Different Drum," which may also prove to be popular. The theme of his new book is that we all need each other despite our many differences, idiosyncrasies and interests.Peck shares something of himself and his wife, Lily, in just a few pages that capture the essence of what he calls "community" in marriage. He writes:
"Let me cite an experience that many of us have shared. Lily and I have struggled together for years to make our marriage something of a community of two. From the beginning of our marriage, Lily was mildly disorganized. Not infrequently she would become so engrossed in smelling the flowers that she would forget an appointment or neglect to write a promised letter.
"I, on the other hand, from the beginning was what has been called `goal oriented' - to put it mildly. I never had time to sniff a flower unless its bloom happened to coincide with my schedule, according to which every third Thursday afternoon from 2 to 2:30 was designated for flower sniffing, barring rain. I used to berate Lily for her inclination to speak in what I considered irrelevancies as well as to ignore civilization's most significant instrument: the clock. She was equally as harsh about my maddening punctuality and believed hers was the superior psychology. I upheld the excellence of mine.
"Then Lily began to raise our children and I began to write books. I do not mean to imply that I had nothing whatsoever to do with the children, but I can't pretend that I was a very good parent. I was particularly inadequate when it came to playing with them. Have you ever tried to play well with children on schedule? Or when you get off schedule and all you can think about is the chapter on religious ecstasy you had promised to write?
"Lily, however, played with our children with an unending grace that laid a foundation I could never have given them. But she could not have organized herself to write and rewrite sentences, paragraphs and chapters week after week, month after month."
M. Scott Peck concludes, "Gradually, therefore, Lily and I have come to accept what once looked like vices as virtues, curses as blessing, liabilities as gifts. Lily has the gift of flowing; I have the gift of organization. I have not yet learned to flow with the children the way a good parent should, nor will Lily ever be completely organized. But as we have come to appreciate each other's very different styles as gifts, we have slowly begun to incorporate the other's gifts into ourselves - with great moderation of course.
"As a consequence she and I, as individuals, are gradually becoming more whole. Yet this would not have been possible had we not first come to terms with our individual limitations and recognized our interdependence. In fact, it is unlikely that our marriage could have survived without this recognition."
You may enjoy reading M. Scott Peck's new book "The Different Drum" . . . if you can work it into your schedule. Perhaps you can read it next Thursday afternoon, from 2:30 until 3 p.m. . . . right after flower sniffing. Maybe you'd better go now and write it down in your daily planner.