Holidays should be experienced in good spirits. During this time of year, we strive to usher in the New Year with resolutions of peace, harmony and good health. Driving in the car with your husband or male counterpart is the antithesis of this premise—on all fronts. In fact, it may lead to health concerns due to the accumulated stress involved, so “just say no.”
Stupidly, I offered to help my husband out with the driving en route home from our five-day stint to Disney World. He was complaining about his back, neck, had emails to answer, newspapers to read and I wanted to “help him out a little.”
Within the first five minutes of driving, barely able to concentrate on his work, he was micromanaging me and I had broken out in a cold sweat. What began as polite suggestions rapidly accelerated to commands, orders, and eventually terminated in a full-scale attack of my driving performance. I defended myself by justifying my maneuvers and blaming the other drivers. Yet, with each subsequent look of disdain and disappointment, my driving abilities deteriorated. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I was nervous and wanted out. But it was too late. We were too close to home and I had to just shut up, suck it up and leave him on his soapbox---all-the-while evaluating me mercilessly.
Here is what I learned from this intense short-lived experience that I want to share with you:
1. No matter how much he complains, hints, or flat-out asks for your assistance on that ten hour road trip to your sister’s house, resist and refuse to drive. Suggest a back massage or a few ibuprofens instead.
2. If you do offer to take the wheel, don’t get offended if he rejects your help. Look on the bright side: if you’re a passenger, you can text ad nauseam, take control of the tunes, distribute the snacks and squeeze in a snooze.
3. Relinquish control and avoid criticizing his faulty driving. Be smarter and let him make all the (bad) driving decisions and directional mistakes.
4. Play it safe. If for some outrageous reason you must get behind the wheel, (God help you,) be conservative. Activate the cruise control, stay in the slow lane, and keep your gaze straight ahead on the road--- no matter what.
5. Be mature. Rise above the temptation to defend yourself against his brutal criticisms--- for the higher purpose of “a peaceful coexistence and happy home.”
Good luck and happy driving!