Last week, our family went on a road trip up to the Northeast. It was a tiring but great week. We spent about 35 hours together in the car, which was a lot, but we had a good time. To help pass the time, I broke out 2 of my favorite road trip games from when I was a kid…which Julia had never played before.
To give you some background…we often took car trips when I was a kid. In the age before portable electronics, we had to create fun and ALWAYS played 2 games…the ABC Game and the License Plate Game. We loved games, and were often very particular about rules (to put it mildly).
So fast-forward back to present day…I explained how the ABC Game works: Starting at “A”, each person looks for a sign containing that letter. Once you find it, you move on to the next letter. The first person to “Z” wins. Oh…and you can’t count letters on vehicles. They have to be on billboards, signs, buildings, etc. Why is that? Because you just CAN’T! You can NEVER use vehicles…the game just doesn’t work that way.
We played it as a family and had fun. But, Julia thought my rule about no letters on vehicles was dumb…that it didn’t make sense…but she went along with it.
Later, we started the License Plate Game, so I explained how it works: Whenever you find a new state license plate, you write it down. The goal is to look over the course of the trip and try to get all of them…Canadian provinces are bonus. Oh…and you can’t count tractor trailers. Why can’t you count them…even though they do have license plates? Because that’s the way we’ve always done it! It just makes sense because…(insert pointless reasons here).
Julia wanted to be able to use any plates we find and thought it seemed pointless to not allow certain vehicles. But I pushed through adversity and made her see the truth…that my way was best! I knew when we were discussing it that I was being ridiculous. But, I felt so strongly about these rules that were ingrained in me that I stuck to my guns. We continued the game, but I could tell there was tension. On the trip back we talked about it some more and were able to air out how we each felt.
Here is what I learned:
- There is nothing wrong with doing things “the way you always have.”
- There is ALSO nothing wrong with doing things a new way.
- There IS something wrong with being so stubborn that you refuse to listen to what your wife would like to do or consider her opinion or idea as valid.
- It wasn’t the “rules” of the games that caused tension between Julia and me. It was the way I was inflexible about something so trivial and didn’t care what she thought.
My challenge to you:
Don’t adopt an attitude of always sticking with YOUR way of doing things or pre-decided ideas. Don’t assume or mandate that something be done your way, unless there is a REALLY good reason. When your wife expresses a desire to do something differently, give it a shot…or at least discuss it! You may find that you enjoy it even more. As a result you may create your own memories and fun that are unique to you.