A few weeks ago we drove north on I-5. Up to this time, we had always driven south and did it pretty much on auto-pilot. But this time, we went north. We were headed to Crater Lake National park, somewhere we had never been before. The drive was delightful! Long before we got to our destination, we were thrilled to see the beautiful snow-peaked Mt. Shasta, something we hadn’t expected. It seemed to rise in majesty as we drove and at times, its beauty and grandeur was almost breath-taking. The whole drive was spectacular. I reflected on how often I had driven on I-5 and never enjoyed such views because I had never gone north. I had always gone south.
Too often we live our lives on “auto-pilot” – doing the same things over and over, out of habit. Sometimes our marriages are like that too. In fact, our whole view of marriage is sometimes based on our own “auto-pilots” which too often include habits like reacting to criticism with defensiveness, being competitive instead of cooperative and assuming things will never get better. And sometimes we might even wonder if marriage is really worth it.
And yet, just by choosing to go another direction – to choose to listen for underlying feelings instead of becoming defensive, to choose to learn from each other instead of competing, to choose to hope for the best instead of assuming the worst – whole new vistas can open up, even feelings of love and joy we never expected.