ou’ve been up since 5 am, flown clear across the country with a few stops at different airports along the way, landed and grabbed a rental car much smaller than the one you reserved, and made it out of the airport just in time to be stuck in rush hour leaving the city, so a twenty-five minute drive is set to take you an hour. Sound fun? I thought not, but that’s where Jess and I found ourselves last October. But wait–it gets better…

The Accidental Adventure

She typed the address of the hotel into her trusty navigation app, and off we went. A little over an hour later, we’re driving through a long, dark stretch of woods, and the friendly navigation voice says, “You have arrived. Your destination is on the right.” Except there was literally nothing. For probably half a mile either way. The hotel address number was 5975. The houses on either side of the long stretch were something like 6100 and 5800. So it should have been there, but it wasn’t. Did it disappear? Were we scammed? I turned into a gas station to try and figure it out. It was now well into the night and we were dead tired.

After a few minutes, I pieced together that the hotel confirmation email mistakenly listed the address as a “drive” when it was actually a “street”. So when Jess put “drive” into the navigation app, the nearest matching destination was an hour away and she trusted it. We had thought that the extra time was due to traffic, but it wasn’t. I had asked Jess a couple times if we were headed in the right direction because we were heading south and the hotel was north. She thought it was navigating us around worse traffic.

I can usually look at a map once and drive there from the mental picture. Jess is what she likes to call “directionally challenged.” I usually drive and she usually navigates, which can make for some pretty interesting trips!

I Had a Choice to Make

We put in the right address, and the destination was an hour and a half away. An hour of that was backtracking all but a mile of the drive we had just made. At this point, I knew I had a choice in front of me. Many husbands would get upset at having driven an hour in the wrong direction. We were both dead tired, and now had another hour and a half before any hope of a bed. Jess looked at me, almost waiting for me to say something, seemingly feeling that she deserved it. I did my best to keep a straight face, then I cracked.

I started laughing and couldn’t stop. We were both laughing so hard we were crying. I cherish that moment, and it was a turning point for us in our marriage. Looking back, I learned a few lessons that day, and started to apply them to our marriage:

  1. Don’t ignore the little voice

  2. Sometimes all signs make you think you’re going in the right direction, but some part of you isn’t sure. You can choose to wait and see, or pause to check. It’s better to pause and check. With our marriages, a checkup can get us back on the right path before we go too far off course, and that means less work and hurt. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    “With our marriages, a checkup can get us back on the right path before we go too far off course, and that means less work and hurt.”

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  3. Once you realize you’re way off course, there’s no point fighting about it

  4. Jess and I both worked together to get ourselves to the wrong place. Fighting about it just wastes time and makes it take longer to get to where you want to be. Focus on the problem (being in the wrong place) and not on which one of you is to blame for which part.

  5. Laughter is the best medicine

  6. Sometimes you just need to laugh. We were absolutely exhausted and just added an unnecessary two hours to our already long day. But once we started laughing, we found our second wind, regrouped, and got back on track.

Our marriage grew a little that day. We grew a little. We didn’t get angry. We didn’t even bicker. It could have been just another fight, but instead, it was one of the best accidental adventures we’ve ever had.

What unexpected adventures have you had because you chose to go with the flow? Let us know in the comments below…

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