Andrée Sue Peterson: Depth perception and marriage


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Monday, July 8th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Commentator Andrée Seu Peterson now with a few thoughts on marriage…and three-legged cats?

ANDREE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: There is a three-legged cat in my neighborhood. As far as I know, his only sin was to be born too close to the railroad tracks.

Moses (his name) lives two houses down from me, so every now and then, if we’re both setting out for the day at the same time, our eyes meet and there is a moment of recognition—the feline with a hind leg missing, and that other amputee, sans spouse. Then the fat, gray tabby lumbers off to do whatever a three-legged cat can still do when his bird-catching days are over, and I do the same.

A straight shot through the core of the earth, a one-eyed mongrel named Pangouri lies tethered to a corrugated tin-roofed cottage in the rice paddy village of Puan, victim of an untoward impulse to veer too close to a mother and her pups. The odd thing is that his master (my father-in-law) also lost the sight in one eye not long after his son (my husband) died.

Some people think there was a connection. In any case, I heard he had a little fender-bender soon after that, which did not surprise me one bit since, whatever Korean driving laws allow, I know that you really need two good eyes on the road for depth perception.

Depth perception is the single biggest thing I miss in marriage. I can live well enough without the other perks—Saturday movie date, someone to lift the sofa with me. But what causes me to lumber about and walk into walls these days is the forfeiture of a perspective other than my own.

If personalities are colors, I see indigo and my husband always saw sunny yellow—which is the reason I married him in the first place. Together we could be a good start toward a rainbow. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Iron sharpening iron. Who-needs-a-father parenting is not for me.

Think of it: even the Trinity has multi-perspectivalism built into it: Father, Son, Spirit. That means that at the very fountainhead of all there is, one finds, not a person, but three persons. Reality is profoundly relational.

The Father spoke words of encouragement to the Son at his baptism, the Son would rise early to get alone with his Father on the hills. Even Moses (that other Moses) had to be rebuked by his father-in-law for the hubris of thinking he could judge every legal case in his desert nation; with 70 extra pairs of eyes things went much better.

In my experience the best questions and worst crises come at 2 a.m. Hey, Young, I would say to the man in the dark by my side, “Do you think Solomon was saved?” And he always had a point of view I hadn’t thought of. Marriage is a pattern made in heaven. All you young ones, shirk it at your peril. God’s way is the best if you would spare yourself the fate of one-eyed dogs and limping cats.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.


Creative Commons/Michael Buck

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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