Simple Idea: If you both are exactly the same, one of you is unnecessary.
There is nothing like it.
It’s a flavor combination dreamed up by culinary geniuses. It’s a combination more brilliant than salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, and apple pie and ice cream. Ready for it? It’s mozzarella and tomato.
(Yes, I will get back to the “simple idea.” Just wait for it.)
Back to mozzarella and tomato… together, on a sandwich. It can be delicately pressed in a Panini maker or simply slapped between two pieces of fresh bread (or artfully arranged and tastefully accented like the ones pictured above – served at Twigs Restaurant in Tunkhannock for all you locals… and if you’re not local, I still suggest you go there just to try this appetizer. It’s that good.) Any way you literally slice it… the combination is delicious. The best thing I’ve ever eaten.
Now, I’m not talking about a tomato ripened in transit on a 14-wheel truck that turns out to be a sad, pinkish, pallid food with a gritty and stiff texture. And I don’t mean the shrink-wrapped block of cheese that is compressed and dense and is sometimes packaged so school children eat it as a string.
No… instead of those imitators, picture a vine-ripe tomato straight from the garden, still warm in your hand from the summer sunshine. And imagine the mozzarella so fresh it needs to bathe in water because it is so moist and soft and tender.
They’re each pretty tasty on their own. But, put them together, and (*insert a bright light and the “ahh” cry of a choir here*).
The tomato is intense and passionate, flavor-packed and the center of attention. It’s juicy and messy and bold.
The mozzarella seemingly likes to stay in the background. It’s not overpowering or seeking attention, but after you take a bite, you realize it’s the foundation of this combination… steadfast and strong and calming and rich.
The flavors are perfect for each other. The mellowness of the mozzarella balances the zing of the tomato. The smooth texture of the cheese contrasts the pleasingly inconsistent juice and flesh of the fruit that sometimes masquerades as a vegetable.
Recently, it hit me. My marriage is like this sandwich.
No, don’t click out of this browser window faster than you can say, “wow, she’s a crazy lady!”
Hear me out….
I’m messy. I’m passionate. I’m optimistic, energetic and ambitious. And I frequently act when I should be still. I like to lead and talk and go. My extroverted tendencies thrive on interacting with people, and I don’t mind being the center of attention. “Relaxed,” “calm” and “mellow” have never, ever, ever been words used to describe my personality.
My husband is, well… take the exact opposite of the words in the previous paragraph. He’s orderly. He’s consistent. He is a realist and a thinker and a listener. He is extremely perceptive, and he observes instead of rushing through an activity or conversation. He is caring and compassionate, and he recognizes needs other people have, ones that I never would have noticed as I race forward at break-neck pace. He is content in the background, smooth and calm.
In our family car, I am the gas pedal. He is the brake.
In our family sandwich, I am a zesty tomato. He is the mellow mozzarella.
Honestly, sometimes I’ve asked myself how two very different people were designed to be together. But think about it… the best combinations are typically very different from each other. Sweet and soft raisins blend perfectly with the salty crunch of peanuts in a trail mix. People typically don’t layer strawberry jelly on top of grape jelly and call it the perfect sandwich… the classic PB & J was indeed based on the harmony of opposites.
I’ve heard it said before that, “If you both are exactly the same, one of you is unnecessary.”
It is important to note that even with our vastly different personalities and opinions, we knew before we were married that our core values were very similar. We both believe that God created the world, and in turn, us created ones should live for Him. We both acknowledged that we are sinful and put our faith in Christ as the savior of our lives. We both knew we wanted to have children in the future.
(I said we’re like tomato and mozzarella…. Not like onions and ice cream!)
If you’ve studied personality theory at all, you’ve learned that every temperament has positive and negative possibilities. The same person can either be bossy or can be a leader. Another person can be perceptive or hypersensitive. It all depends on how the person chooses to use the disposition God gave them.
The thing is, when my husband and I are both acting as we should, even when we disagree or behave differently, we complement each other. Let me take this crazy analogy one step further and say that if we’re nestled between the word of God and prayer as the cornerstones, er, well, as the “bread” in our marriage sandwich, we become a fantastic combination.
Other times, we’ve let the negative aspects of our temperament reign. In sin, we’re that hothouse tomato and string cheese. Ew.
Whether you’re a peanut butter married to a jelly… or a sour cream with an onion for a child… or a hot chocolate working for a marshmallow… don’t try to make the other person into what you are. Instead, keep learning about that person and how you can bring out the best in him or her.
I used to agree with the adage, “Treat every person how you would like to be treated.” However, after many mistakes in trying to treat my introverted husband how I would like to be treated as an extrovert, I’ve redefined that saying in my head. Now I have to figure out how to treat others like they would like to be treated! It’s harder to do, but the result is much better!
You can start by observing and appreciating that person as you’re eating dinner tonight. I suggest a nice sandwich… maybe even mozzarella and tomato.