The hard times are just a bump in the road.
Have you ever bought a used car? Do you remember what it was about that car that attracted you?
Maybe it was the bright shiny new paint. Maybe it was the new smell of a recently cleaned interior with that new-car-odor spray. Maybe it was the sound system or the piping cold air conditioning. It could very well be a combination of all of the above.
The fact is, you were so impressed by your first “new car” that you bought it. You even briefly test drove it, prior to your purchase. You bought it based upon your understanding of the car.
The main reason you entered into this relationship with the car was to have your own car journey experience. You’ve heard many stories about these kind of trips. Good stories. Bad stories. But you wanted your own experience. You now had what you’ve always wanted; your own car.
Your journey with your new purchase was just beginning. Getting to know your car was an adventure as you found out things you didn’t know existed.
I recently bought a very nice used car, and after going through all of the above, it took me days, weeks and months to find out all the features the car had. I rarely checked the manual. I am a learn-as-you-go guy. Every time I discovered something new, it brought a smile to my face.
Whenever I discovered some flaws like the center console being in an awkward place, I sighed and muttered something but then, thought of all the other cool features. The power-this and power-that. The speed. The “coolness” feelings it brings when I’m out among friends or family. These “cool” features caused me to overlook the one or two negatives.
Having purchased your car, you are ready for your road-trip. Your destination is 1300 miles away; a long way, but who cares, the destination is worth the journey. As you head off on this journey to your destination, which means so much to you to get there, you settle in; nothing bothers you or stresses you out. Until …
… until you traveled several miles and a number of hours. There was this sound and that sound that wasn’t there before. It seemed like the car is overheating, something that never happened before. There is now that smell that you didn’t notice before.
You slowed down quite a bit with this concerned look on your face. You’re not sure all that’s happening, but you know something “just ain’t right.” You are only a third of the way towards your destination. You are at a strange place. You’ve not had this experience before. It’s now you and your car out in an unfamiliar place.
You are faced with two options: 1) get the car checked out and get the repairs done and continue on your journey or 2) accept it as a loss, abort the car, forfeit your destination and find your way back to where you started.
So is marriage.
You entered a marriage with that person who attracted you. He or she was shiny, clean, smelled great, felt just right and sounded the way you hoped.
After the contract agreement, you began your journey together. As you traveled on this journey towards your destination, you couldn’t be happier.
But as time went by, you began noticing some things you didn’t notice before. You heard some strange sound. You recognized a new smell that wasn’t there before or it was masked by the “new car” smell. The car—the marriage—begins to chug. You are concerned. You begin to show the concern both verbally and non-verbally.
It comes to a point that you decide that you cannot drive “like this” anymore. Something needs to happen. You decide to take the marriage in for repairs or to decide what to do with it.
You are faced with two options: 1) get the repair done even though it’s expensive and wasn’t in your budget and continue on your journey knowing you may have to do additional repairs, or 2) abort the marriage; get a divorce and forfeit your destination.
At this point, what determines your decision is your destination. How important is that to you? Is it worth the repairs and the slight inconvenience or delay? Is making it “there,” still your number one goal?
The key to what to do at this point is to revisit the story of the destination. Has that story changed? Is it still as important to you as it was at the beginning? This is where your decision of continuing or aborting your journey is made.
Unfortunately, most people choose the path of least resistance and give up when a repair may have made the difference. I do understand there are times when the “car” damage is so bad, no amount of repair will do. However, I’m one who believes until you have exhausted all repair possibilities, don’t abort.
How do you view this analogy?
I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
Photo: Getty Images