A couple of years ago, we had a Ford CMAX as our family car. It wasn’t brand new when we bought it, but it was still a reasonably good car. Now, I am not mechanically minded, and I tend to take the attitude that if a car feels like it is running OK then that is good enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do all the routine stuff like regular servicing and MOTs, but I am not the kind of guy who is so finely tuned into the sound of an engine that I know when something is not quite right.
Well, we were travelling along the A55 in North Wales when suddenly the engine cut out completely. I had enough momentum to just guide the car into the hard shoulder but that was it. From that moment we were going nowhere fast. Later on, I would discover that the cam belt had snapped, and the engine was a complete write-off.
I remember turning to my wife and four-year old son, and thinking: ‘Jon you are such an idiot, how could you let this happen?’
The weird thing is that I was convinced that this was exactly what my wife was thinking!
There are moments when we can legitimately say ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, but there are other times we convince ourselves that everything is fine when we really should be looking under the bonnet.
Now, looking back there was no way that I could ever have known that the cam belt was going to snap, but being convinced that my wife thought I was an idiot for letting this happen exposed the need for me to be more intentional about the condition of my marriage.
The bonnet that I needed to look under was the relationship I had with my wife.
Over the following few days, as I talked with my wife, I would learn that she never thought I was an idiot. She was so thankful that I was decisive in that moment, that I had ensured we were properly covered by the AA and that I quickly came up with a plan to get us back on the road with a newer car. But here is the thing, we needed to do something that life had just seemed to squeeze out of our daily routine: we needed to make time to talk. We needed to re-learn how to hear what each other was saying. More importantly we needed to understand each other in those moments when it is not quite so easy to attach language to our feelings.
So, what about today, what about now? Well, just like you, we find ourselves in lockdown. Our lives have once again come to a bit of a shuddering halt. This time it is not our car that has stopped us in our tracks, this time it is a global pandemic.
This moment has given us, once again, more time to make use of. We are enjoying another opportunity to be even more attentive to each other and we both understand now that looking under the bonnet of our relationship is never a one-time activity. Communication like this requires us to become vulnerable, and that is hard for both men and women (even within marriage). If that is the case for you, why not spend some of this lockdown looking through the Communication Module on the Toucan app. You might just discover it is the most transformational thing you have done in a long time.
REFLECT & CONNECT
- In what ways can I relate to Jon’s experience on the A55, do I sometimes feel exposed in front of my spouse?
- When was the last time I shared how I am feeling with my spouse and asked them to help me?
- If you are a person who prays, maybe give yourself some time to relax and pray about your marriage (whether it is in a good place or not). There is always room for improvement in every relationship.
Talk about as a couple
- When was the last time we gave ourselves space to talk, as a couple, and to listen to each other’s fears, dreams, hopes etc?
- Ask each other; in what ways has life squeezed out the opportunities for you both to connect deeply, and what measures can you put in place to prevent this from happening in the future?
- Why not start having date night’s in during this lockdown (and carry on even as it eases)? Really go for it! Choose your favourite takeaway that still delivers or buy your favourite food from the supermarket. Light some candles, choose the right music, but most of all listen to each other and remember what first brought you together!
How easy, or difficult do you find it to understand each other? Good communication is more than ‘mars vs venus’ differences. Toucan’s Communication Module helps you navigate differences and develop good communication patterns for a deeper understanding of each other.