We all know what’s it’s like to be at a crossroad–that’s where two roads intersect and you have to decide which way to go. If you’ve set your course ahead of time, then the decision is easy–hardly noticeable. If you’re simply enjoying the ride, a crossroad can be an unexpected adventure. If there’s an accident causing a delay, a crossroad can provide a needed detour. If you’re in a hurry, a crossroad can offer a shortcut. But if you are on an unfamiliar road and not sure where you’re going, a crossroad can cause stress. What if you choose the wrong way and end up lost? What if the road isn’t safe, or leads no where? These are all valid concerns for the responsible driver.
I remember when Tom and I first used a GPS years ago on a trip to California. We were going to be driving a rental car on the LA Freeway and thought “Joyce, The Voice” would help us know which road to take and thus avoid getting lost. What we didn’t realize is that even GPS systems can have inaccurate data. Case in point, on our trip, we managed to navigate 12 lanes of heavy traffic, at rush hour no less! We were doing everything that Joyce in her monotoned voice told us to do. Imagine our dismay when we heard her proclaim confidently, “You have arrived at your destination,” only to be smack in the middle of….nowhere. We felt the most lost we have ever felt before. We were in an unfamiliar state, going to a place we had never been, and our guide had led us astray. Now what?! We had to stop and ask directions the old fashioned way, that’s what.
We eventually made it to where we wanted to go–in fact we weren’t far at all–as the crow flies. But there were no direct roads between where we were and where we wanted to be. Joyce didn’t know that. She thought she had led us exactly where we wanted to go.
Every marriage experiences crossroads from time to time. How you handle the decision is key as to where you end up at the end of the conflict.
- If you are a lover of adventure then each crossroad will provide you with an adrenaline rush that will propel you into the future with elation.
- If you like to be in control, the crossroad will be fine if you’re the one calling the shots.
- If you like to know what to expect, the crossroad will most likely cause you anxiety and maybe even fear.
- If the turn didn’t lead you to where you hoped to go, the crossroad can make you angry.
- If you like to be on-time, the crossroad can bring a much needed escape or provide an undesirable delay.
However you process these crossroads, it’s important to realize your spouse most likely doesn’t see them the same way you do.
Imagine a couple in the same car going to the same destination but with completely different expectations as to how they’ll get there. What if one was punctual and wants to get there as fast as possible and the other is hoping for adventure? What if one was expecting the road to lead one way, only to discover the other had chosen a completely different stopping point? Or what if you both like to be in control, calling each turn as you see fit?
All these are set-ups for what can be huge conflicts in a marriage. And if you aren’t expecting the struggle, it can be devastating.
But what if we took a different look at the crossroads of life. What if we let go of our bent to do things “my way”, and embraced the ways of Another? What if we trusted God to be our navigator? What if we allowed Him to give us direction on the unexpected turns in our life?
After 36 years of marriage, we have learned to value of doing life this way. It takes the pressure off of both of us to perform, and allows us to enjoy the ride. It also has taken us to places we would have never chosen to go on our own. Some roads were bumpy and dark, but led to a beautiful view we didn’t know was there. Some roads were dangerous where we learned the value of having each other and God to cling to for hope and help. Some roads didn’t lead where we had hoped they would, but allowed us to see important things from a different vantage point. And only eternity will reveal the times God helped us avoid a fatal collision.
As we navigate the paths of life together as husband and wife, we must remember Who is leading the way. God knows the plans He has for us, and it’s to give us a future and a hope. And the hope He provides never disappoints, but accomplishes exactly what He desires.
(photo credit: You’re History blog)