A marriage in need of direction


My husband and I are struggling to find direction.

I don’t mean direction like agreeing on common values for our family, how we raise our kids, or where we will retire.

No, this struggle is far more immediate and somehow more challenging than that.

When I say we’re struggling to find direction, I mean just that, or rather, find directions.

I know I’m only about a year into this marriage thing, so maybe you, Dear Reader, can help me here.

Is it just how the male and female brains are wired differently that we cannot agree on how to read directions? How to get from here to there?

This should seem so easy in this new wonderful age of GPS. You simply plug where you want to go into your phone, it does that spinny thing where it figures out where you are, and Presto! You have directions!

Oh, were it only that simple.

This is exactly the point where the divide happens. A philosophical difference greater than any religious conflict.

My husband’s brain needs to look at a map. I need to look at written words.

“The directions say, ‘Turn right at the next signal,’” I tell my husband as I navigate from the front passenger seat.

“Are you looking at the map?” he wants to know.

“No, I clicked on the icon that spells the direction out in words,” I say.

“You have to look at the map,” he insists, as if the typed directions will lead us only to Timbuktu.

“What do you care if I look at the map or the words?” I wonder. I don’t get a sense of direction from a map. For him, words might as well be written in Portuguese.

“It has to be a map,” he insists. “You need to follow the blue dot.

Ah, the dreaded Blue Dot, that flashing orb of misguided evil that promises it knows exactly where you are standing on the globe. Only it doesn’t always get it right.

We’re just back from a Thanksgiving trip where we cashed in a bunch of frequent flyer miles and took our teenage girls to Paris and London. We relied on my husband, his smartphone and the dastardly Blue Dot to get us from place to place.

“It says it’s only a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame,” he promised. “C’mon let’s walk and follow the Blue Dot.

I can’t tell you how many alleged 10-minute walks turned into 45-minute marathons, all because the Blue Dot was off by more than just a few blocks.

I honestly thought we were going to have a second French Revolution on the streets of Paris as our kids protested another Blue Dot adventure gone wrong.

“I can turn on my phone and ask for written directions,” I offered.

That went over as well as a fallen chocolate souffle. It’s the oddest thing. My otherwise loving and reasonable husband would move the moon and stars for me, but asking him to give into written directions? I might as well have, well, asked a live human being for directions.

Somewhere out there, I’m sure there has to be a compromise, a way we can incorporate both maps and words. If you know where that is, maybe you can tell us how to get there, you know, send directions?


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