My daughter has been learning to drive. A couple months ago, I was sitting in the passenger seat, watching her move her eyes between the road in front of her, the rear view mirror, and the side mirrors. Her hands were gripped on the steering wheel. She was reciting something about where her hands should be on the steering wheel. And she blew right through a stop sign. Fortunately, it was a quiet time of day in a low-traffic area, so we stayed safe. I had her pull over to the side of the road so I could calm myself down to a slow talk rather than screeching we could talk through what had just happened.
It’s a stop sign one block from our house. She’s known it’s been there for years. I asked her how she could have missed a stop sign. (“They’re made into big red signs that you can’t miss for a reason!” I pointed out.) She was quite distraught herself and said, “I was so busy trying to hang on to the steering wheel just right, and I was concentrating on all the places I needed to be looking. I was concentrating on the other things and I didn’t realize we were at the intersection already. I didn’t see the sign.”
She was so busy trying to hang on and look at other things that she didn’t even realize we were at an intersection.
Sadly, that happens in many marriages as well.
One of my friends has been struggling today. He and his wife have struggled with both emotional and physical intimacy for years. After a difficult incident last night, he feels deflated and ready to give up. He said he’s never been as close to leaving as he is right now. I asked if his wife is aware that their relationship is at a crossroads. He said she’s been so busy simply hanging on and trying to do just enough to keep their marriage out of the ditch that she probably hasn’t bothered looking at the road ahead of them in some time.
If your marriage has been unhappy for some time, I would encourage you to take a good look at the road in front of you. Yes, you need to steer. You need to keep out of the ditch. You need to be keeping an eye on all those mirrors so you don’t get hit. But you also need to look where you’re going.
Are there any big red signs you need to pay attention to? Is there something your husband has mentioned to you many times with no change? Have you been withholding basic physical contact, even preferring not to hold hands or give basic kisses for fear he’ll turn it into sex? Are you so busy trying to hold on tight to something that you are approaching a crossroads without even knowing it? Are you going to blow right through a stop sign before you even know it’s there?
Are you paying enough attention to keep your marriage on the road?