The gender roles get reversed when Jenn and I get behind the wheel. Unlike most men, I need to know the exact route from Point A to Point B and will stop in a second to ask for directions if I am lost. On the other hand, Jenn is bound and determined to figure things out on her own even if that means getting to a dinner party a few minutes late. She is not fazed in the least bit when she notices people sitting on their front porch chuckling over the CRV that has driven back and forth past their house 5 times. Jenn takes the term “joy ride” to a whole other level and likes to go for a ride with no agenda.
Having witnessed firsthand the “direction discussions” on her trip out east, Jenn’s mother decided to give us a GPS for Christmas a few years ago. The device has solved the problem, but not in the way I was expecting. Jenn and I have joined forces and have built a healthy distrust of Lucy. This is the British tour guide for our Garmin Nuvi. Can you blame us for being a little reluctant to blindly follow her advice?
After all, those Brits drive on the wrong side of the road. This might explain why she always tell us that Starbucks is on the right side of the road when it is clearly in the strip mall on the left. Judging by the paths she takes us on, Jenn has concluded that Lucy loves to toss down a few too many pints before hitting the open road.
On numerous occasions, Lucy has sent us to restaurants that oddly look like dry cleaners as well as directing us to dead ends and one-way roads. This is probably payback for repeatedly ignoring her advice and calling her a drunk underneath our breath. The first time we went our own way when Lucy attempted to send us on a wild goose chase she snapped back and said “Recalculating!” Having grown tired of her repeated pleas falling on deaf ears, she now screams, “Bollocks! You bugger! I’m really cheesed off. You are so naff, nancy boy!”
Taking a joy ride to enjoy the scenery is one thing when it is a lazy Sunday afternoon and you are in the car, but having no direction in marriage can be dangerous. Yet, how many of us knew our destination before we got behind the wheel as husband and wife.
Jenn and I got married at a fairly young age, at 22 to be exact. I knew I was marrying my best friend, greatest supporter and a woman who made up for my many weaknesses. As a Christian man who thought something was worth waiting for, having a ring around my finger also held many fun benefits.
I remember sitting down after our honeymoon reading through a ‘Words of Wisdom’ book wedding guests contributed to and how every single person had a different take on marriage. It seems like if you asked 100 people what makes a great marriage you would receive 101 different answers. The discrepancy in numbers comes from the confused person like myself who can never make up their mind.
What is the purpose for marriage? Do you say I do simply so you can ‘do’’ it? Is it to make you happy? Do we get married so we will have someone there to meet all of our romantic and emotional needs? What about creating a family unit where kids are nurtured? Do we get hitched to have another body to get through the day-to-day routine? What about companionship? In this day and age, it might be for simply the benefits of a tax break.
Those responses were not meant to sound cynical or to offend. It was to show how everyone enters marriage with his or her own ideas of what this relationship should look like. From the moment we unpack our bags on our honeymoon, we take out a long list of needs we expect our spouse to meet. Our expectations are what drive our direction.
In a way, we program these expectations into our marriage GPS and head towards that destination. The problem arises when the husband thinks they’re headed this way while the wife is hoping to end up somewhere on the other side of town. There is just so many times you can hear “Recalculating! Recalculating! Recalculating!” till you find yourself way off course. From time to time, I handle my relationship with Jenn as if I was driving in the CRV with Lucy barking directions at me. I ignore the signals and keep on driving hoping that somehow I’ll end up where “I” want to go.
Over these past 30 days, I have tried to take an honest look at the expectations I have of marriage and how this direction has only got me lost behind the wheel. As a Christian, I know ultimately the purpose for my marriage is not to make me happy, but rather holy. My relationship with Jenn should serve as a testimony about God. I wish I could say this is my normal destination point, but I often find myself recalculating on the fly trying to find the location of that tiny city known as Selfishness Springs. Now, if I had a Mio Knight Rider GPS with the authoritative voice of Kit guiding me to holiness, I would get my act together and begin moving in the right direction.