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Marriage Monsters: Driving/Navigation
Ah, vacation! It sounds so relaxing and fun. Images of lying on the beach or screaming on roller coasters dance in our minds. Packing is no fun, but we do it with joy because of the adventures that lie ahead. We fill bags with clothes, coolers with ice and our head with unrealistic expectations.
If you are like most couples you have one partner that prefers to do most of the driving. This is normal and healthy, so don’t let it bother you when you meet those odd couples who share the duties evenly.
For the sake of your marriage I highly recommend that the driving partner review all maps and directions thoroughly prior to departure. Even with the best planning, however, the time will come where the non-driving partner will be called upon to read the map and navigate. This is a true marriage monster.
Even if the past hour of the trip has been filled with loving chatter and bonding, an evil mist fills the vehicle once the map is unfolded or the GPS settings are adjusted. Somehow my wife transforms from someone who loves me into an evil alien whose sole aim in life is to confuse me and get me lost. Consider this example of a road trip transfomation:
Conversation before the navigation duties:
“I’m really tired. I guess I should have gotten more sleep last night.”
“I’m sorry, honey. Do you want me to get you a drink out of the cooler? Some caffeine might help.”
“Thanks, Dear. That would be great. By the way, those sandwiches you made for lunch were fantastic.”
“Awe. I’m glad you liked them. I cut the edges off just like your grandma used to do.”
Navigation crisis arises. Map/GPS is consulted:
“What road was that we just passed?”
“I don’t know. The map says…”
“I didn’t ask what the map said. I asked what road we just passed.”
“I wasn’t looking.”
“You weren’t looking? How can you tell me where to turn if you don’t look at the road names.”
“Well, I saw that it started with a ‘p’ and the map shows a Partridge Drive. Maybe that was it?”
“Oh wait. We just passed a Wal-Mart. This map doesn’t show a Wal-Mart anywhere around here.”
[Muttered swears have been removed to keep this site clean.]
“Ok. That is Piedmont that we just passed. Do you see that on the map?”
“Piedmont? That starts with ‘p’….”
“Yes. Yes, it does.”
At this point it is easy to assume that aliens have taken over my wife and that she is, in fact, the monster. Conversely, she probably assumes the same of me. Some marriage books recommend playing a quick game of “rock, paper, scissors” (also known as “Ro-Sham-Bo”) to determine who gets to be the monster.
The key, however, is to remember that there was a reason the two of you started this trip together. At some point in your relationship this alien sitting next to you was the person with whom you most wanted to travel. A few wrong turns and a long pause to read the map for yourself is not the end of the world. Most importantly, it need not be the end of your relationship. A deep breath and an apology for losing your temper might be the best weapon in this case.