Photo by: TaulPaul
Car trips can be interesting things. Spending time together as a family in a confined environment can bring out resourcefulness as well as frustration. Sometimes simultaneously by different people. Last weekend, we were stuck in a car for 4.5 hours: three adults, a 4-year-old, and the baby. On the way to our destination, my husband poked fun at me around a sore subject: buying a minivan. I was able to take it in jest, but I knew that there was some seriousness behind the joking.
Minivans are a point of contention between us. A big one. It seems like such an innocuous one, after all it's a car. But for me, it's the symbolism behind the car. It's a statement to the world: I am a Soccer Mom. And I mean no disrespect to anyone who has a minivan. They are utilitarian vehicles, especially when you have three children or need to cart around a lot of people. For some reason, this symbol is like cutting away at the identity that I've carved out for myself. I make to qualms pretending I'm cool. I'm not. By no stretch of the imagination am I cool. Yet, I cannot bring myself to even think about being behind the wheel of a minivan. I have friends who can empathize with me--they too have taken this side of the argument with their spouse. I have other friends who after protests, succumbed to buying a minivan, and they are now converts.
This is a lot of back story, as on the ride home, the jokes about minivans began again, and a serious conversation began. My point was that it would just pain me to have to drive one all of the time. I would be happy for it to be the primary car of my husband, but I just can't see that as my primary vehicle. He started to list the practical reasons for why it makes sense. We were at complete opposite stances, and not able to communicate. This caused a great deal of consternation and frustration for each of us. Later on, once we returned home, we were able to take a step back and talk.
I noticed that he was using logic, while my argument was based solely on emotion. We were at cross purposes as it was like we were speaking two totally separate languages. After pointing this out, we could look at our conversation. I articulated that I needed him to empathize and to say, "I hear that it would be a big change for you to drive this type of car." Similarly, he needed me to say, "I can hear that it makes sense on a practical level for us to buy this type of car." It is amazing how far a little translating can go!