Not Just a Car Crash. Also a Relationship Lesson.

Pixabay: Pixel-mixer. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

Bubba and I were having a tiff. It was a Sunday night around 10 pm. We were in the house, face-to-face, quibbling about something.

Suddenly, from outside, the crunching sound of metal crashing into metal screamed at us.  Whatever Bubba and I were talking about, it stopped. We turned, in unison, and headed down the hall.  As we neared the front door, we heard a second crash.

Our neighborhood is filled with cars parked on the street; mine was one of them.

That doesn’t sound good, one of us said.

And how the ‘eff can there be two crashes?

My 5-year-old Nissan was in front of our house, shoved a couple of feet forward from where I had parked it. Slightly behind was a black sports car, askew and partially jutting out into the road. I walked over to my car. The rear, left corner was smashed, the tire and rim damaged; clearly not drivable.

Bubba walked over to the window of the black car and confirmed the driver was okay; dazed, but okay. License and insurance information was obtained. The driver, distraught over a fight he’d had with his wife, could barely hold back tears.

We asked questions: Had he hit my car twice? Yes. How had he managed that? He’d turned his steering wheel to drive his car around mine. Unbeknownst to him, his steering column had broken with the first crash, so his tires hadn’t turned. When he accelerated, his car ran into mine a second time.

Neighbors who had come outside upon hearing the crash drifted back in. Their cars were fine; it was a hiccup to their normal Sunday nights. I called my insurance company; this was more than a hiccup for me.

I drove a rental car while the insurance process proceeded. Someone advised me my insurance company would stop paying for the rental once my vehicle was either fixed or deemed totaled. The insurance adjuster hinted that totaled was likely; I felt an urgency to decide on a replacement car. Two weeks after my Nissan was totaled, I came home with a Honda CR-V.

I was initially ticked-off that my low-mileage, great condition Nissan was destroyed.  But it turns out I like my replacement car better. Plus, no one was injured, and I’ve since received multiple attorney letters claiming my old Nissan is currently on a lemon list.  Not my problem! I don’t own it anymore!

The best lesson for me was I got to see how quickly Bubba and I switched gears; how we went from being at odds with each other to uniting, joining together to take on whatever was out there. My car may have been totaled, but my relationship with Bubba was strengthened.

 

Photo source: Pixel-mixer on Pixabay


 

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Meditation Quote: Freedom of Mind

Headspace Quote Graphic

I recently wrote a two-part piece about navigating relationship when things aren’t going smoothly.  My kernel of understanding is reflected in this Headspace quote. Being okay with my mind—accepting it, even when it’s anxious—feels kinder than disapproving of it.   There’s freedom in that.

Here are my posts:

 

Photo source: Headspace


 

Part 2: Finding a Different Way

Pixabay: 947051. Free for commercial use; No attribution required

I want to prepare meals with Bubba without getting defensive and having a tiff. But what if defensive is ok?

Bubba and I have relationship patterns that sometimes scuff up against each other. It can result in momentary relationship glitches. Or derail a day.

Some are random and rare; others, predictable and more frequent.

In A Wretched Mess, I wrote about a common kitchen scuffle we experience: Bubba offers to help me cook, and I resist it, experiencing his help not as help, but as a statement I’m doing it wrong.

Bubba wants to enjoy making meals with me. My getting snippy takes away the fun, so he leaves the kitchen, usually with disapproval.  His leaving means we’re not doing it together, plus we’re both upset. It all feels crappy.

Continue reading “Part 2: Finding a Different Way”

Part 1: A Wretched Mess

147_Part1_Wretched Mess

Do you ever respond to something—or someone—in a way you wish you didn’t? Yet you respond that same way repeatedly, butting heads in a familiar dance pattern?

When Bubba and I started living together, one place we ran into relationship speed bumps was the kitchen, usually when I was preparing food. I rarely work off a recipe, so my style is free-form. I don’t actually know if what I’m making will work, but based on having watched mom cook—and enough personal success of my own—I’ve been content with my approach.

Then Bubba moved in. He’s comfortable in the kitchen. Sometimes he cooks; sometimes I do. When I’m cooking, he often offers to help. But instead of welcoming his offers, I’ve often resisted them; gotten defensive.

Continue reading “Part 1: A Wretched Mess”

Relationship Tip: Don’t Be an Ass

f_ZenCommand-Marriage-edit

The Golden Rule is short and to the point: Treat others as you want them to treat you.  It’s pretty simple, yet we often complicate it.

In his book The Zen Commandments, Dean Sluyter says “our personal relationships can be simpler than we usually make them.” He summarizes the principles he thinks make relationships work.

“Whether in a romance or a marriage or a family, the principles are the same: you take care of one another, you be as kind as you can, you do your share of finding new sources of fun, you quietly pass up opportunities to score points or be a wise guy, you give the benefit of the doubt, and you try to make things less insane rather than more.  If you think the other person is off the program you address the situation gently and with respect. But since the problem is often your own perception, you can save everyone a lot of grief by waiting a little while first to see if your perception changes.”

The Zen Commandments: Ten Suggestions for a Life of Inner Freedom, Dean Sluyter, from Lesson #5: Keep it Simple

Here’s my summary of his Principles

  1. Take care of each other
  2. Be kind
  3. Do your share
  4. Avoid being an ass
  5. Assume the best (not the worst)
  6. Make things better (rather than worse)
  7. Before jumping to a conclusion, wait
  8. If, after waiting, there’s still an issue, address it

Sluyter’s advice resonates for me, both the words and the simplicity of it. If both people in a relationship apply it, a lot of perceived relationship problems disappear.  Did the thing go away or did our thoughts about it change?

I know thoughts in my mind impact my perception of things, and that can affect how I experience stuff. I’ve received new information in situations and been shocked at how quickly my perception has pivoted.

I want to keep #7 in mind. Life promises change; guarantees it. I’ve been amazed at how something that had a hold of me can lose its power simply with the passage of time.

What relationship principles guide you in life?

 

Photo source: RJA1988 on Pixabay


 

Whiny Words

35_Song_4-15-18A song came on Pandora, a recent country hit. Two verses played before she stomped across the room and hit the “thumbs down” button.  Her ex-boyfriend had previously “liked” it.

“Stupid song,” she whined to her roommate. “Too damn bad we can’t “unlike” some of our stupid, whiny friends this way.”

Her roommate looked away and silently agreed.

Daily Post-Inspired: Song