The rules of the road

I recently listened to a radio broadcast where a man and his wife discussed the secrets to a good marriage.
It is important, they said, for married couples to accept their mates as they are and to refrain from targeting certain specific areas when making negative comments. The wife said, for instance, that the worst thing you could do to a husband is to complain about his driving.
I laughed when I heard it. My driving skills (or lack thereof) have been the subject of Sandy’s critiques throughout our 35-year marriage. The woman on the radio said that husbands are particularly sensitive when discussing their driving habits, so my first reaction was to applaud her wisdom.
Probably the biggest fight Sandy and I have ever had as a married couple (I’m sorry; it was a “discussion”) occurred one weekend several years ago when I was behind the wheel and we were returning home from a road trip to her parents’ house. She had mentioned to me before that I always seemed to stray too close to the center line on highways, and that it scared her. I told her, of course, as husbands are prone to do, that she was being silly. I’m not THAT close to the center line, anyway, and if she were sitting where I sat she could plainly see that I had at least two feet of center line to spare.
She respectfully disagreed. So finally — just to avoid further “discussion” — I moved over, closer to the other side of the road.
This, however, did not suffice. I had overcompensated, she said. Now I was driving too close to the edge of the road, and that was just as scary as being too far in the opposite direction. What’s more, she questioned my motives. Could it be, she wondered, that I went SO FAR to the right out of spite?
“Of course not,” I replied calmly (well, maybe not quite that calmly). And I told her how difficult it was for me to be EXACTLY where she wanted me to be. And where would that be, anyway? Should we get out of the car together and measure exactly how many inches of road were visible on both sides?
Well, things got a little more intense at that point, if you know what I mean.
Thankfully, that was many years ago. We’ve learned to move on. One of the great things about marriage is that couples usually do learn how to avoid “discussions” like these after the first one occurs. And the wife and I have become quite good at avoiding the most sensitive subjects. I don’t want to say that the subject of my driving is off-limits, but the afore-mentioned incident had the best effect on the both of us. I try very hard now to stay in the middle of my side of the road. She tries very hard not to talk about it.
As for my driving skills, generally, I have a higher opinion of them than Sandy does. We don’t argue about it. We just agree to disagree.

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