Monday, January 07, 2008


Lori and I like to get out and drive. I like to drive anyway; the movement of the landscape seems to unstick my thoughts and get them flowing again. And l I like it even more when we're together. We get to be alone in the car without distractions from kids, chores, computers, etc.

One of the ongoing themes of our relationship is balance. When either of us get out of balance with regard to our own life, it throws our relationship out of whack for a while. Not the big kind of "out of whack" that leaves you mystified about that stranger sleeping next to you, but the kind where we're out of sync in making time for the relationship.

Saturday we drove down to Dexter, MO to Lori's favorite rib joint. She used to get carry-out from there when she worked in MO, but I'd never been there before. I was looking for an excuse to get out in the car together, so she suggested the two hour drive to Dexter.

We got into the car still prickly and fussy about our lives and our jobs and our kids and everything else that people get stressed out over. After about half and hour of relaxing and talking, we were holding hands and laughing.

Balance, for me, is an ongoing series of course corrections. I don't think of it as Lady Justice and her scales, I think of it more as a plate balanced on the point of a pencil. There are a bunch of little ways to throw it off, but the more skillful we get at keeping the plate spinning on the pencil point, the easier it is to see the potential pitfalls when they're still small and avoid them before they send the plate crashing to the ground.

So Lori and I drove to Dexter, ate ribs, and rebalanced our plate. We talked about politics and sex and books and our friends. We held hands and kissed and smiled and congratulated ourselves for being lucky enough to find each other. Mostly, we reestablished our relationship harmony that periodically suffers from the stresses of living in the world.

What do you do to rebalance your plate?


SP said...

Rebalance it? I'm still trying to figure out how to get mine to spin right now.

I adore you both and I'm glad to know that someone has this relationship thing figured out. Gives a gal like me hope.

Kwach said...

We stumbled on the Road Trip Method of Relationship Maintenance by accident.

When we met, Ev and I lived in different cities in Arizona, about an hour and a half apart. I was an Arizona native and she was a fairly recent transplant, so we sort of fell into a habit of taking sightseeing day trips to places she'd never been, or shopping trips to Mexico.

One day we commented on the fact that those long drives had morphed into one of our favorite ways to spend time together, and eventually, when we'd be fussy with each other, one of us would say, "We should take a drive somewhere." It always worked.

When we moved to Illinos (where Ev is from) there were a ton of places for her to show me, so the driving habit continued. Now we look for places to go that are new to both of us. But sometimes, when we don't really have a destination but we know we need quality alone time, we'll just drive around our own county for a few hours.

People tease us about the amount of money we "waste" on gas, but we figure a day trip costs us about the same as dinner and a movie for other people ... and you can't talk during a movie.

Jazz said...

Pretty much the same. We don't have kids, so I think in that sense, there's less stuff to get between us. No hockey games at 6:00 am, no homework to focus on...

Friday nights at the cottage are sacred. We drive up there, light a fire, have a drink, chat, make dinner and focus on each other. It keeps us balanced.

Linda said...

Wow, that is such a great way to look at it. I like it! The road trip, for us, still includes kids, but a rib joint is a definate possibility. Thanks!