Just When I Think I Get the Hang of this Marriage Thing . . .

“You can do it AJ.”  (pronounced as one word, coined by my nephew).

This was Nathan’s response to me when I called him a few weeks ago while researching rental cars.  He had driven a hybrid for years. I wanted to know if I could make the adjustment. With him boosting my confidence I reserved the car.

Dragging my luggage through rows of shiny, clean, and polished cars in the airport garage I found mine.

Stowing my suitcase, I sat down to get the keys.  I checked the ignition; it’s push button so no keys there.  Glovebox?  Not there.  Console between the two front seats?  Nope.

Ok, so maybe because it’s a hybrid it does not need a key?  Well, that can’t be, I say to myself.  How would I lock and secure it when I get out?

Having difficulty finding help nearby I pushed the button, put the car in reverse and drove to a kiosk across the garage.  I told the attendant my problem.  He asked where the key was?  I repeated my dilemma – I can’t find the key.  He told me to put it in park so he could get in and check around.

That presented my next conundrum – how do I get the car into park?  I saw the diagram hybridon the screen but could not get the gear shift to move in that direction.  The man pointed out that there was a button labeled “park.”  With a quick push, I was set.

As soon as he opened the driver’s door he reached into the pocket on the door and pulled out the key.  Oops, I forgot that little pocket even existed.  With my confidence and self-esteem waning I began the circular descent out of the parking garage.

“Ok Joan, you can do this,” I told myself. And I did, even becoming very comfortable and familiar with the car in just a couple days.

Until going out for dinner one evening. Parking the car, I clicked the lock on the key fob.  Not hearing the familiar click, i tried it again.  I decided I was too tired and hungry to hear it, and went in the restaurant.

After a satisfying meal, I got back in the car.  “It’s cold in here,  almost feels like the AC is running,” I thought.

I looked over at my console screen.  The AC was running.  “How can that be?” I wondered, and at the same moment it hit me – I never pushed the power button.  I only pushed park.  No wonder the lock didn’t work.

That recognition morphed into alarm as I looked around.  Alarm gave way to thanks as I realized no one stole the running car, and my two computers, briefcase and clothes were still in the car. Feeling embarrassed and grateful I drove to my temporary home.  The remainder of the trip I was hyper aware every time I parked to push the power off button.

That experience reminded me of my marriage.  When we first got married I was nervous, anxious and everything was so new. Could I really be the wife he needed?  Over time we developed our rhythm; a comfortable pattern of how we interact, communicate, make decisions, work and relax together. I start to feel “I’ve got this marriage thing down.”

When I think that, my guard drops a bit, just like it did after a few days with the car.  And then it happens – we have one of those conversations. My confidence and understanding vanish.  I wonder how could we be married 22 years and I still made that same mistake, or am just now figuring something out?

When that happens it’s a reminder to step back, thank God for my husband and our marriage and tune up my attention to the little details in our relationship that carry such big results or consequences.

arrow-1773931_1920What about you?  How do you keep from falling into the “I’ve got this” mentality in marriage?  Where is God asking you to step back and fine tune your relationship?

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