Only one person can be in the driver’s seat. In my marriage, more often than not, Pete’s in the driver’s seat. We discuss where we want to go, how much time we want to ride, but ultimately, it’s his call. It’s his hand on the throttle and his foot on the brake. If he runs a red light, (just for the record, he doesn’t actually do this), I’m going too, whether I like it or not. Once I’ve signed on, we’re in it together.
To make a turn, a motorcycle needs to lean. If you’ve ever watched motorcycle racing, you’ve seen the extreme version of leaning, where the racer’s knee actually touches the racetrack. Every once in awhile it’s just a little too much, and the bike slides sideways across the pavement, hopefully missing the motorcycles whizzing by.
Well, how much Pete leans depends on how fast we’re going and how tight the turn is. It’s a judgment call — his. I’m the furthest thing from a daredevil, so this leaning thing was a little scary, especially after I saw a couple of racers wipe out. But it’s actually more risky if I try to counteract and lean the other way. When Pete leans, I lean, and we lean in the same direction.
Trust is mandatory. When we’re speeding along at … (you fill in the blank — did I tell you Pete’s an adrenaline junkie?), I’m vulnerable. He’s holding onto the handlebars; I’m holding onto him or I’m holding onto nothing. We’re both vulnerable, but I more so.
However, if I’m too scared to get on the bike, we don’t go anywhere together. If I get on, but keep one foot on the ground, I’ll cause a serious accident and likely get my leg mangled. If I’m going for a ride, I have to take both feet off the ground and trust him to drive.
In the backseat, I have the luxury of looking up at the sky. I can read all the signs and pick out house numbers, which is useful if we’re looking for a place. Pete sees the stretch of road coming at us. I can get a glimpse, but only if I lean over his shoulder, and I can’t safely maintain that position for very long. I have to trust Pete to watch for traffic, bumps in the road, and deer up ahead. We have different perspectives and we need both.
As much as I trust Pete, my life is still in God’s hands. Pete’s in the driver’s seat, but I’m not completely at his mercy. Ultimately, God is in control.
This is comforting, since I’m not naive enough to think that Pete is infallible. As great a driver as he is, he can miscalculate or encounter a situation he couldn’t foresee. When I get on the back of that bike, I trust Pete, but I trust God more.
Motorcycling is a lot of fun, but I can’t enjoy the ride, as it was meant to be if I don’t let go. If I’m always second guessing my husband and trying to drive from the backseat, neither of us will enjoy it. We’ll both be wishing it was over and disembark at the nearest rest stop.
When I signed on for this marriage, I didn’t realize only one of us could drive. When it finally dawned on me, I wasn’t always okay with not being in the driver’s seat. I fought it a lot. I still fight it sometimes.
It was scary giving up control. I got angry. I thought, how unfair. What makes him more qualified to drive? I resisted the leans. I blamed him for every wrong turn. I pushed him aside so I could see the road. We’ve taken a few spills and I’ve gotten my foot mangled more than once. No, it wasn’t all my fault, but I’m owning up to my mistakes.
Now that I’m learning it’s not Pete, but God, who’s in control, I can relax in the passenger seat. It’s beautiful from this vantage point.
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