Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Relationship Vehicle

A few observations I've made while driving (coincidentally, or not, with my husband) last week. When two people enter into a relationship, especially one of a romantic nature, there are things we can fail to consider until it's too late. I came to the conclusion that this is how I'm going to explain dating to my kids one day.

When you enter into a romantic relationship, you are entering a relationship vehicle.

You both have a steering wheel.
If you ignore yours, if you give it to the other person, or if you don't figure out where you want to go, you will get taken for a ride rather than journeying together, and you will very likely get taken to places you do not want to go.  Even if you think you want the same destination, there may be short-cuts or long winding roads you don't want to take.

You both have brake and gas pedal.
You have equal access to slow or stop the vehicle, braking does work even if the other person is on the gas.  Don't feel like you are stuck in a fast moving vehicle where your only option is to open the door and jump out, risking injury, or just as bad, staying trapped in that vehicle.

You both have a gas tank.
But, you don't fill your own tank, the other person does. You control what it is that qualifies as fuel (feeling loved) but the other person is the one who has to pour it in your tank.  You can only go so far when one tank is empty, it will have the same drag effect as their brakes being on. Two empty tanks is a huge problem, do you not want to fill each other's tanks?  Do you not know how and don't communicate?

The biggest trouble is when one person will forget they have, or pretend they don't have, or they hand over their control of the vehicle.  That is a sure way to find themselves stuck in a fast moving vehicle, driving down roads they never intended - placing themselves at risk/in danger - and all just to get to a destination they either never reach or a destination they were wrong about.  It doesn't have to be that way.

Just like a GPS unit, it is wise to start with communicating each travel plan, the intended route, speed, and destination. This way you can compare, negotiate, and/or change before too much ground is covered and assumptions are made. Maybe you'll figure out you are not meant to drive together. Maybe you'll figure out your travel plans are quite different, you might be willing to drive together but knowingly for a short distance. This can save you from making terribly wrong detours/short-cuts because you know this isn't the person you are meant to get to your destination with.

Don't even get me started on all the road signs they should pay attention to. CAUTION! I missed that one :)
But, truly, I wish I had this perspective when I was a young woman, I could have equal say, and I needed to verbally say things.  My speed and route were sometimes risky and dangerous, there was some harm and pain, scars and recovery. I really hope and pray some day my kids don't have to learn the hard way.

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