How Relationships are like Driveways

Patching up our relationshipsI’m in the process of getting my driveway redone. When we bought the house, it was in bad shape and not a priority. Well, adding 5 years of neglect did not help.

We’re committed to having a safe driveway (to avoid being sued should someone fall) so we’ve called in the experts to get rid of the sunken spots that turned it into a swimming pool in summer and an ice rink in winter.

I was fascinated by the amount of work they did and to their attention to detail. First they stripped it and kept only the parts that would help solidify the base. They spent hours compacting the base over and over again. Then (I thought they were finished) they would add another layer and make sure it was compacted very well before doing it again. They stroked it, checked the grading, moved a couple of pebbles, compacted some more. Then they would have a meeting and compare notes and opinions. They kept checking with me: “Where did it collect water?” “Are there other problems that have occurred?”

I was surprised at how many layers it took to lay a driveway! I thought they would dig up the old stuff, dump new gravel, pound it down and do the asphalt. Apparently that is the shortcut that their competitors do: the ones that I was warned to avoid. These guys spent the time and they rechecked. They were proud of the work they did here and it showed.

So I have a question: how do you treat your relationship? When there are cracks in it and things aren’t great; do you have one conversation and move on, or, do you have several two way dialogues where both get to speak their hearts?

I’ve witnessed too many people trying to have “shortcut conversations”. These are one way conversations where one speaks and the other listens only for what matters to themselves and ignores the rest.

Then they are shocked that their loved one feel short changed.

To build a strong base, we must take the time to check the grading (what grates on our nerves), stroke it (talk it out), move things around (make compromises) and check with each other to see that we are getting what we need.

A good relationship is regular layers of communication; and just like a good driveway, it takes a longer time to build up but lasts longer.

“Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

As a former Family Life Educator and Crisis Interventionist, I started out my coaching years focusing on Family Life.

Now I specialize in understanding all of the people in our lives who drive us crazy, professionally and personally, so that we can bridge that gap and become more collaborative.


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