It seemed like the deer had leaped out of thin air onto the road in front of our car…
We were driving along one night, and it was like: look ahead – open road… look away for half a second… look up – DEER.
Of course I kind of freaked out. (Ok, there was no “kind of” about it.)
And Paul – who was driving – tensed up like he always did when I started the passenger-seat-driver routine…
“Yeah, I saw it…”
Now, normally this conversation would have gone down a pretty predictable path:
“Why do you always have to drive so fast??”
“I’m a great driver, babe – why can’t you just trust my driving and stop freaking out? We’re actually less safe when you do this because I can’t keep my attention on the road!”
But this time…
For some reason (let’s call it a Divine Prompting)…
I stopped and thought about the situation for a minute.
And then I asked him a question that changed our entire dynamic in the car forever…
“Babe, how far ahead can you see the trees?”
He told me he could see the trees all the way down the road to the sign.
I knew the sign he was talking about because we have lived in this town for decades, but there was NO WAY I could see that sign… not even close.
I said to him… “Babe, I can’t. I can’t see the trees up to that sign.”
This was a defining moment for us.
See, all these years Paul had assumed that I could see everything he was seeing when he was driving…
The road, the deer, that driver coming up on my side who was starting to drift into my lane…
But in that moment, we both realized we were each experiencing the situation from completely different points of view…
And each judging the other’s reactions using our own information instead of theirs.
After that night, Paul’s driving changed.
I don’t mean he became a better driver… he was already a great driver.
But his sense of purpose while driving shifted. Instead of just getting us safely to our destination, he had a new mission: to make his passenger feel safe while he was driving.
If that meant slowing down a little to ease my stress level on a winding road, that’s what he did.
If it meant communicating what he was seeing (and that he already had a plan to handle it), he did that too.
And I completely changed as a passenger….
I reminded myself that he can see, what I cannot. I reminded myself that he’s not experiencing the road the same way I see it. I allowed myself to enjoy the comfort and peace of knowing “He’s got this”.
Have you ever experienced a situation in your own relationships where you’re both seeing things differently… but each thinking your partner is seeing exactly what you’re seeing?
It’s human nature to assume the view from everyone’s window is exactly the same.
But the truth is, we all see things differently… because we all have different experiences, strengths, and weaknesses that color how we encounter the world.
Can you think of an area where you and your partner might be working at cross-purposes due to the different information you’re each bringing to the situation? Comment and let me know what you can do to give your partner a glimpse at the view from your window.
To clearer vision,