This morning, as I was driving back from dropping my daughter off at school, I drove past a guy who was busy – get this; reading his newspaper while driving!!  Now it goes without saying that this is dangerous; even though he had the newspaper “right in front of him”, on the steering wheel in fact, so right “in his line of vision”…if he were to look down that is. He was paging and reading and driving all at the same time…and it got me thinking.

When it comes to relationships, aren’t we all, to some extent guilty of the exact same thing?

We have our hands full – with things that can actually wait.

How important is your relationship with your spouse, your family or children to you? Most people would answer; right off the bat and extremely sincerely – they are everything to me…

But take a moment to just take an objective look at each relationship. How much time do you actually invest in this relationship? No one needs to explain to anyone these days how busy life has gotten, and I get that. But what are we actually filling our days with? How many instances in your day to day life, has someone you desperately care for, asked for your attention, where you “had your hands full”? We all have been too busy to engage in a conversation with a spouse or answered “not now” or had to say “later” when your child wants you to come and see her drawing.

Are the things you keep yourself busy with, conducive to building up relationships? Or are they preventing you from being actively involved? They might be extremely important things – no doubt about that…but can those things wait…just a little bit?

We aren’t paying attention – to the dangerous curves and bumps of the road ahead.

How often have you and your spouse had an argument that just seemed to have come out of nowhere? One moment you were cruising along and the next he/she hit you from the side, completely unexpectedly and swirled you into oncoming traffic where a head on collision like no other took place…? Are you really paying attention to your spouse, to your relationship? Nothing in relationships happen in a vacuum, if you are heading for a dangerous curve or a serious accident, there will be tell-tale signs warning you of this along the way.

Are you really paying attention? Or are your head and your thoughts somewhere else completely?

We are endangering other people around us – often those we love dearest.

If you are driving a car as recklessly as this person I told you about; you are endangering not only yourself, but also your passengers and other loved ones on the road with you…

Whether we are talking about being in a committed relationship with a partner, having children or being part of an extended family; you are standing in relationship with these people involved. And with that comes a certain responsibility. When you do not have both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, you are endangering not only yourself, but the ones you care for as well.

Be safe and responsible

Relationships are a two way street, yes. But the only thing that you can control or take responsibility for is you.  I cannot tell you how often I see clients for relationship counselling; where one of the two had “no idea” that anything was wrong. He/she, in actual fact thought, they were fine, happy and content. The fact that they are sitting in my office is actually quite unexpected and “came out of nowhere”.  This can only be true, if you haven’t been investing and engaged in your relationship, if you haven’t been paying attention to the important people in our life, if you’ve somehow missed the all-important little tell-tale signs along the way.

I urge you to rethink that newspaper on the steering wheel of your relationships; it might take many different shapes and forms; it might be work, friends, another man/woman…Is it really worth it? You might be able to convince yourself that you can do all these things at once, that this newspaper is not influencing your ability to be a good husband, mother, friend because it’s “right in front of you”, or “in your line of vision”, that you’ve got it under control, but please don’t be fooled.

You very definitely need both hands on the wheel, and both eyes on the road.

Safe driving.