What Driving Taught Me About Love

Photo by Jakub Gorajek on Unsplash

You know that feeling when you are in the flow and headed to your destination and someone pulls right in front of you?

They’re cruising along at half the speed limit with the indicator blinking and riding the brakes at each curve in the road. They perform a classic blocking manoeuvre, driving side by side with the slow car in the next lane. And you know its no big deal, and you know that it doesn’t really make a difference, you’re still going to get there, but IT DOES YOUR HEAD IN! Ever experienced that?

This is how I feel when I’m with my man and we need to make a decision. It could be buying door handles from Bunnings, deciding on what time to have dinner, or planning our retirement…

I am a big picture person. I am a fast decision maker. He is an engineer. Sweet Lord, give me strength. Somehow I must reconcile this. My relationship road rage is taking me nowhere fast. The more I beep my horn and gesture wildly, the less certain he becomes until suddenly we are parked on the side of the metaphorical road. Waiting for our engines to cool.

We spent our weekend talking future, and finance, and dreaming of our life together. There were moments of inspiration and bliss, and there were moments where I wanted to stab him. I learned so much from him. And I still suck at this. But I am in this 100% and I’m going to learn how to do this better. I must. So I have been pondering and processing and wonder if the way I *actually* drive might help me stop metaphorically tailgate him!

  1. Plan the Journey
    I have always been a calm traveler, and the reason is that I WAY overestimate how long it will take to get somewhere. I have always said I would rather be early and have a coffee and read my book than be rushing and worrying about making it on time.Love: Planning the journey requires preframing the destination for myself and for him. “Honey, I’d really like to work out (issue or result). How long would you like to plan before we sit down? I’d really like to have it resolved by (date) Is there any information or detail you need from me to be able to do that ?”. I can give him lots of information and time. And be graceful in the waiting.
  1. Practice Compassion
    This isn’t always easy. When I am driving at 40km/hr in a 60 zone it makes me CRAZY. But it tells me that the person in front isn’t feeling safe. They are uncertain. Things are moving too fast for them. So I remind myself to be patient, and I give them plenty of space. And I breathe.Love: There are no decisions being made from a place of fear or uncertainty. He needs more space. I need to breathe. I will choose to express love not frustration. The brakes are a message to me.
  1. Back Off
    I have been known to sit a little too close to the car in front in the vain hope they would notice and respond. The truth is this is aggressive behaviour and on the balance of probability will only fluster them further and cause them to make a mistake. Like, you know, crash or drive even more erratically. I accept that the trip is going to be a slow one, and I slow down.Love: I’m pretty hit & miss on this one. I reckon 50% of the time I slow down, and the other 50% I bring Demolition Derby to the table. The incredible thing about love is that it teaches you the lesson you most need to learn in order to be the best version of yourself. This is mine for sure. I am ever a work in progress.
  1. Smell The Roses
    I used to hate slow car trips, until I discovered audio books! These days I don’t listen to music or the radio in the car, it is an opportunity for me to learn about things that excite me – I listen to books on love, relationships, business, success. I hire books from the library’s borrow box. I buy books from Audible. I often sit in the car for an extra 15 minutes in the carpark to hear the end of a chapter! I drink coffee & relax.Love: Until I wrote this piece this never occurred to me. Driving behind his Volkswagen has been so frustrating that I bubble & boil & fume. I feel inspired now to find pleasure in the process. I’m thinking maybe a great playlist, or an opportunity to stretch, or perhaps a mini-meditation where I simply clear my mental slate. These moments are an opportunity for me to appreciate him, and for us to connect.
  1. Get Over Myself
    Many studies have shown that a majority (up to 80% depending on the study) of drivers rate themselves as “above average”. Now I’m no statistician but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t add up! Most drivers also rate themselves as “Very Good”. I know that I am only an average driver. Really, if you think about all the TALENTED drivers in the world, are you close to their skill level? Different cars, different environments, different contexts?Love: I can be hasty, ill considered, impetuous. I can also be decisive, intuitive, and inspired. Sadly I am often not sure which way I am headed until it’s too late. It is arrogant and egotistic of me to think that the way I do things is better. We complement each other beautifully, and his attention to detail and wisdom and genius provide a much needed balance to my abstract planning and quick fire choices.

In the end he and I will always drive differently. We both have strengths & weaknesses. It doesn’t matter that we conflict and clash, only that we always return to love and learn to navigate our journeys together.

An Aside: It makes me laugh to use this metaphor as he is quite literally the best technical driver I have ever known, drives a V8 fast & furious and I feel safe and thrilled all at the same time. Maybe one day our literal & metaphorical worlds will collide!