Who Drives a Marriage?

She sat fuming in the front seat of the old Volare Wagon. Her three girls watched the scene unfold from their vantage point in the backseat. It was a familiar scene. Every time the family made plans to go for a long drive, they would get in the car and their Daddy would drive to the parking lot next to their home. He would say, “I have to check the oil” and get out of the car.

And the mama wouldn’t say a word, but her body language spoke volumes. If looks could kill, the Daddy would not have survived.

I was the youngest of those three girls, the one who sat in the middle on the long road trips. My Daddy’s penchant for changing the oil right before we traveled anywhere became a joke for our family. But it was irritating for me too. I always wondered why my Mama didn’t say something or why she didn’t ask him to check the oil BEFORE we got in the car, all ready to go.

Fast forward to the night before my wedding. We had just finished the rehearsal dinner and I was still a little teary from the sweet time my fiance and I had shared with our dearest friends and our families who had come together to celebrate our union. My best friend and I got in my parent’s car to drive the 10 minutes to their home. We were talking and laughing as we had been doing for the past decade. It was slightly nervous laughter on my part. I was getting married the next day! This was my last night as a single girl!

And then something happened to take my mind off of the enormity of the moment. The car started sputtering and it felt like there was no power behind it. It took me longer than it should have to check the gas gauge, but when I did, the strange behavior of the car made sense. We were out of gas. Since I hadn’t driven the car to the restaurant, I had no idea how long the car had been out of gas. There was great relief and much rejoicing when we made it to a gas station.

The night before my wedding, I discovered one of the best lessons I have learned about marriage and it all happened because of an empty gas tank.

Growing up, my Daddy took care of everything car related. As irritating as it was for my mom, she never had to worry about oil levels. She never had to fill her own gas tank, because my Daddy always took care of it. I didn’t think to check the gas gauge that night, because I was driving my Daddy’s car. An empty gas tank was the farthest thing from my mind.

This scenario left me with questions about my impending marriage. In what ways would I trust my husband? In what areas would I depend on him? How would I handle irritating situations? Would my future children see me silently fuming?

I made a decision that night as I pumped gas. A decision about who would drive our marriage. I didn’t want a husband who would do everything for me. And I didn’t want to be a silent partner in regards to the things that were irritating.

I made a decision to yield to God’s will for our marriage, to allow Him to be the driving force behind it. While I knew my husband would be dependable and trustworthy, I also knew that he would fail me and that he wouldn’t be enough. And while I hoped to be equally dependable and trustworthy, I knew that I was bringing my own issues and failures to our marriage. I didn’t want to be in the driver’s seat either.

Best decision ever!

My husband compares marriage to a beautifully choreographed dance. We each have our own steps, our own giftings to bring to the dance. But it is God who is the master choreographer. He has written the music, he has laid out the steps and he invites us to dance.

There is a tendency as women to think that being submissive in marriage means that we have to keep quiet and just let our husbands be who they want to be. Or we are on the other end of the spectrum and we fight against any perceived loss of control in our lives.

But I have learned that when my husband leads our dance, I am free to be who God wants me to be. His leading does not limit my dance; rather it makes me better than who I could be on my own.

So, who drives our marriage? God does. And I wouldn’t want it any other way…

Mom and Dad

My parents have taught me so much about loving God and loving others. I am so thankful for their imperfect example and for the way God has used them in my life. 

Not So (Small) Stories: Sixth Edition

Linking with a community of writers writing on the prompt “Drive”. ¬†Join us? KirstenOliphant.com.

 

8 Comments

  1. Carol Bovee
    March 12, 2014

    This is just precious! You know, every time my family went on a road trip, we went through the exact same scenario you painted here. In fact, as my new husband and I loaded my transition from mom and dad’s house into our car, my dad busied himself checking the oil for our trip while my mom laughed and rolled her eyes. I too am blessed at the example my parents gave of love and working things out and am extremely thankful that God drives our marriage. Beautiful article!

    Reply
  2. Beth
    March 12, 2014

    This sounds so much like my family! My dad always took care of everything car-related. We were so totally spoiled by it. Last year, when my 25-year-old sister couldn’t get her car started, she called my dad, an hour away, to ask him to come help her!

    I have struggled a lot with letting my husband do things for me around the house. I’ve recently resolved, though, to learn to do more things for myself so I don’t have to be frustrated when things don’t get done. (Um, hello, if the hole left by a nail in the wall bugs me, I COULD learn to caulk it myself…is that what one does? Caulk?) I want to learn mostly as an example to my daughters. I don’t want them to feel as helpless as I do with home repairs!

    Thanks for the thoughtful post; I enjoyed it.

    Reply
  3. Anita Ojeda
    March 13, 2014

    My husband seems to always check the oil in the garage right as we’re getting into the car to leave for a long trip…and I’ve always wondered why he didn’t check it BEFORE (it’s not like the trips take us by surprise). I’ve subsequently learned to check the oil on my own so that when he gets in the car, then gets out to check the oil I can stop him and say, “I checked the oil, it’s fine.” He has done a wonderful job at teaching our daughters about cars! Of course, that’s not the point of your whole post (but it sure did bring up memories!). You are so right–God needs to drive our marriages and we need move out of the driver’s seat and let him.

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      March 14, 2014

      I love how so many of us are familiar with this “checking the oil” scenario! And it is good to be reminded to appreciate the diligence of our husbands when they faithfully take care of their families!

      Reply
  4. Laura Melchor
    March 13, 2014

    I love this post! It is humorous and poignant. Imperfect examples are the best ones, and I love the one I had.

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      March 14, 2014

      Imperfect examples are the best ones- YES! So thankful for the way my parents loved one another. It has been such a gift to be in marriage and not have expectations of perfection!
      Thanks for your comment, Laura!

      Reply
  5. Traci Michele
    March 14, 2014

    SO SO SO good friend. LOVED this. Great writing, love your beautiful heart. This is good truth!

    Love, Traci

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      March 14, 2014

      Thank you, dear friend!

      Reply

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