As much as I was not looking forward to hauling my apartment contents down the three flights of stairs I just brought them up a few months ago, the trip back home to collect the rest of my things turned out to be a relationship strengthening event. While there’s nothing like carting cardboard boxes of belongings through the rain, the best part of the trip was driving across the country with nothing to do but talk and curse at the GPS. We learned new things about each other, and things about being in a relationship in general.
Getting off the beaten path, though not intentionally (cough, cough) ended up being a pleasant diversion. My guy just about fell apart with excitement when our detour back to the right highway sent us over a drawbridge. I mean, the 4-year-old in him came out in leaps and bounds. It made me pause and think about how I can carry this concept into our relationship, how to make sure we get off the metaphorical beaten path of life and periodically see our relationship with fresh eyes.
And speaking of getting off the path, it turns out that two sets of eyes read road signs better than one. I fell asleep at one point and woke up to discover that we were on the wrong road and had to use our map app to reroute. My take away? No one can check-out in a relationship. It takes two people who are dedicated and alert for things to work.
Something I often forget about road trips is that unsettling feeling when I realize I don’t know a single soul outside of my vehicle. In my hometown I can hardly walk through the grocery store or post office without seeing someone I know, but there isn’t friend or foe on the open road. All I had was the company and familiar face of my cherished boyfriend, and it was more than enough. I realize that in life we need all kinds of people, but in the everyday routine all I need is this one person to be comforted and at home.
In a small, enclosed space conflict was inevitable, and knowing that there was nowhere to stomp away to put me in the immediate frame of mind for resolution. It would’ve been simpler to shut down, pout, turn my back and face the window when my feelings were hurt, but it would not have made things any easier. We had to work it out, talk it through and come to the understanding that we were both a little stressed and needed to be more patient and forgiving.
The biggest realization I had was that we really have no idea where we are going. We put an awful lot of faith and trust into a frequently malfunctioning GPS system, but life has no such mapping device. We get up every morning, turn towards what we believe is the right direction and are off and running. There is no other way to do life together. I don’t know what this evening looks like, much less next month, or next year. But on we go, trusting that together we will arrive where we want to be.
The relationship lessons I learned on the road are valuable enough that it makes all the packing and lifting totally worth the effort. I hope we have the opportunity for many more road trips, but for now I’m happy to continue unpacking my things, combining our treasures and resources and setting up life together.