Listening to Sam-I-Am
By Ed Uszynski
With a 10-year gap between our oldest and youngest, Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham has been a mainstay on the Uszynski read-aloud playlist.
And it’s changed my marriage.
Remember how it goes?
The main guy, Sam-I-Am, wants the other unnamed guy to eat some green eggs and ham.
No idea why. Never clear why it’s so important to him. He just won’t let it go.
But we learn early and often the other guy has no interest, consistently rejecting the offer.
Maybe as a kid his mom wouldn’t let him leave the table until he finished them. Maybe he ate them at an elementary school breakfast and threw up later. Maybe he understands—as do most people—eating green meat is generally risky and frowned upon.
He never reveals the origin of his trauma. He’s just got a narrative he keeps repeating and he’s sticking to it.
Then he tries them.
And he likes them. Loves them, actually.
Has to completely flip the narrative he’s been telling himself. Could’ve saved us all mind-numbing pages of reading if he’d been open to a new self-narrative earlier.
But I get it.
I’m a city guy; I don’t do woods and lakes. I hate watching Survivor and anything on HGTV. I don’t eat Thai food. Despise kombucha. Wouldn’t be found dead travelling in an RV.
My wife, Amy, loves all of it.
I resisted for years, then at some point thought: Maybe for the sake of personal growth or relational health you could try “x” without telling everyone in the house how much you hate “x”?
Still hate Survivor, but have actually learned to love all the rest. Complete surprise.
Drives me a little crazy, but God’s plan for my marriage seems to include letting go of the narrative I’ve rehearsed to myself about myself.
Turns out I do like green eggs and ham.
So thank you, Sam-I-Am—and Amy.
Action points: In what ways have you allowed your spouse to change you for the better? What’s one area where you resist trying the “green eggs and ham” they suggest? Pray for a heart that’s receptive beyond your comfort zone in amoral areas.
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