If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a hundred times, that spouses “backseat drive” when the other one is behind the wheel.  It’s so true, for both of us.  He drives most of the time, and I’m often commenting on how close he gets to the back of another car, or that he didn’t stop behind the stop sign, or something else that I note.  It’s annoying to him.  Yet, when I drive, he does the same thing. It’s SO HARD to sit in the other seat without control of the wheel…so hard!

Once in a while, I will be preoccupied with my phone or even work, and I don’t look up at all.  Therefore, I don’t see how he’s driving (unless he throws on the brake!)  It’s those rides that are much more peaceful for both of us.  He drives without hearing my comments, and I don’t make comments because I’m not even aware of what he’s doing.  I’m just riding!

I was thinking about this the other day and how riding with a spouse teaches us a valuable lesson about life in general.  When I’m looking at unanswered prayer, illness on the rise, lack of funds, or anything else scary along the “road,” I’m panicking and shouting out to the driver (you know, Jesus) and shaking my head at his carelessness…as I see it.  I mean, wouldn’t a good driver obey all the rules and grant me peace by doing so?

Driving is one of those activities where you just can’t make a mistake, or it could be deadly.  I remember telling my kids that when they were learning to drive.   So I think when my husband is driving, or when I’m driving, there’s this fear that a mistake will be made that will hurt us, or someone else!

Back to that analogy of life…I realize that when I’m busy or preoccupied with giving thanks, serving others, and working and praying and living…I’m less anxious about all the stop signs and red lights and storms slick roads that I think the DRIVER is missing.  I’m less afraid that I’m going to die or someone else near me is going to be hurt.

We’ve often gotten in arguments in the car, when I take note too much and try to take the wheel from the passenger side.  Sometimes, I’ve even thought I saved our life by my directive when I tell him to stop because it seems he’s not going to, in time!  And each time we take a road trip, I think about my mouth, my attitude and my words so that I can be quiet and just trust him and let him drive. 

Marriage is so much a picture of our relationship with HIM, isn’t it?  Our spouses are not perfect drivers, and I’m pretty sure that’s why we think we need to help them out while changing lanes or passing through lights.  But HE is a perfect driver, and yet we treat HIM the same say, with mistrust, fear, and directives that aren’t ours to make.

We just came back from a road trip and we managed pretty well this time, without any arguments over steering and braking.  We made it to and from every destination with no mishaps, even though we took a lot of winding roads.  And we arrived back home safe and sound, with no memories of arguments over managing the car!

I’m taking note of that, because I really want to be a good passenger in the trip of life that we’re on.  I really want to be able to close my eyes and rest my head, and become unaware of all the dangers that “could happen” because I’m so at peace with the Driver behind the wheel.

We’ve both got a ways to go, but as long as we’re married and still traveling, we’re both still learning and still growing…and we’re better off after each trip…as we grow and learn and trust…close our eyes and ride.

Better Off
by Marcy Lytle

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