Braking Systems, Lane Keeping and Automatic Parking

Writing a post every week means that we sometimes have fun as we come up with a topic. We are always looking for something happening in our lives or in the news that we can use to offer a useful lesson on the subject of marriage. Sometimes ideas pop up in unsuspected places. We can draw parallels that may be stretched a bit, but still make us think seriously about our marriage.

As we were driving into the city yesterday I (Rita) came across an article that spoke of Generation Y’s (Millennials) wanting cars with some of the features of driverless cars. As we talked about it, I suggested that the reasons for wanting them might also apply to relationships. Looking out at the snow this morning made their desires seem reasonable.

The majority (82%) want a braking system that stops cars in an emergency. What instantly came to my mind was that it would be great if in relationships we had a quick acting braking system that stopped us in an emergency. It that braking system worked on our mouths or actions it might prevent us from saying or doing things that we might regret later or hurt the other. How often do things come out of our mouth that we might not let escape if we had a braking system. Think about the name calling that happens, the accusations of ‘you always’ or ‘you never’ or just angry responses to one another.

A second reason, which is tied to the first – (76%) want a braking system that prevents hitting an object. While there hopefully is never physical or verbal abuse in a relationship even those in solid or good relationships might also benefit from being stopped from actions that cause injury. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a braking system that prevented us from slamming doors, giving the silent treatment, raising our voices, interrupting each other when one wants to speak or making unrealistic demands of each other such as insisting that some issue be solved when the other is busy such as watching his/her favorite TV program or insisting that your agenda for the day is more important than your spouse’s. What a great gift an automatic braking system would be. We believe that if practiced enough we can put that braking system into effect in our relationship and after a while it will most often be automatic when we respond to each other.

72% of millennials are most interested in collision-warning systems. It reminded me of the robot in “Lost in Space” saying “Danger Will Robinson.” Wouldn’t it be great to have that kind of alert in our relationships? Think of the potential collision areas of finances, our sexual relationships, how we use time, gifts we don’t get when expected, or a perception of not being treated with respect or gratitude. What if we could have that robot saying “Danger ________ (insert your names). Again we think it is within us the ability to activate a warning system. If we set aside time to discuss finances, if we are open about expressing sexual desires and needs, if we could recognize that each of us has a need for personal time and space and could talk about how to help each other have time to exercise, go shopping, get household jobs done, spend time with the kids, or just time to relax. We need to be sure that we have in place a way of checking with each other to say thank you and to ensure that each has a sense of being respected.
71% wanted fully automatic parking. While Bob is proficient at parallel parking and can get a car in an extremely small space I have never figured out how to do it well. I can sort of do it when the space is big enough or in an absolute emergency. As I was thinking about this in our relationship it occurred to me that automatic parking might be good for a relationship. We talked about it in terms of the necessity to stop everything else at times and just having time for each other. It might be especially applicable in this busy holiday season. I think of how busy we each have been doing our part of the preparation. For many, the season is filled with social events, as well as preparations, and the season passes without any real time for just the two of you. This can happen at any season with work or children’s’ activities. It would be great to have in place something that automatically made us park and have time together. It could be just an extra hug or kiss, a shared beverage, snuggling while watching a TV program or as elaborate as an evening out or weekend away together.

Lastly, 48% want lane-keeping systems. This does two things – it gives directions as we drive and keeps us from straying into someone else’s territory. This too has importance in our relationships. We need a direction setting system in place in our marriages. It helps us to look to the future, to live out the promises we made on our wedding day and helps us to handle all the areas of our relationship. Lane-keeping prevents us from straying either outside our relationship or squeezing out the other in our relationship. While being unfaithful has devastating results in a relationship not allowing individual time and space is also dangerous. It is important to set a direction for your marriage. It might be a mission statement but that likely needs revisiting as your marriage progresses. It is also good to speak with each other about the need for allowing each other the time, opportunity and space to develop as a person. It is important to remember that marriage is organic. It needs the opportunities to change. Not having set lanes can lead to disastrous results. Things can get slippery and collisions can happen. Spend some time as this year draws to a close assessing how the lane-keeping is operating in your relationship.
We hope you find this useful and amusing as we have. Tell us how the automatic systems are working in your relationship.


Today’s scripture readings, reflection and prayer:
Living Together in the Word

Bob & Rita’s book: Forever and Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime, is available on or by contacting us. Also available for Kindle and Nook. Make a retreat with your spouse, at home, on your time. Includes readings, relationship tips, questions for discussion.


About Rita & Bob Boeke

Rita Boeke has experience teaching scripture and with her husband Bob has experience in enriching marriages through workshops and retreats. They post a weekly blog at and co-authored Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime.
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