Towards the end of my marriage, I was having a problem with the printer. For some reason, it wasn’t printing. I was sending documents, but I kept getting error messages. I’m not a techie person, so I asked my former husband to help. But he didn’t seem to understand how much this mattered to me, so it wasn’t high on his list of things to do. In fact, it wasn’t on his radar screen at all.
So the printer sat in its error state.
Weeks later, I asked for help again. He finally sat down and tried a few things, but nothing worked. I asked if we could call the Geek Squad to look at it, but he didn’t like the idea of someone monkeying around with our computer.
So again, the printer sat in its error state.
This went on for months–with me needing a printer that worked, asking for help and him not truly understanding how much this meant to me.
Finally, I decided to phone a friend who had told me to call anytime I had a computer issue. I explained over the phone what was going on. He asked a few questions and determined that when we set up our new router, we had connected it incorrectly. I switched two cables around and voila! The printer started printing all the items that had been sitting in the queue.
So the problem wasn’t with the printer. The problem was with the connection.
Not long after this, I came to the difficult decision to leave my marriage. And although my leaving was certainly not about the printer, it did happen to be a really good metaphor for a large part of what was wrong in our marriage.
We had a connection problem.
As with the printer, I’d been sending requests to him and kept getting error messages. But unlike the printer, our issue wasn’t going to be easily solved by switching a few cables. Our marriage had been sitting in a state of error for far too long; so long in fact that we’d hard wired it into a condition of permanent disconnection.
Soon after I left, I heard a story about a couple who schedule a coffee date every month to sit together and talk about their relationship. They talk about the things that are working and the things that aren’t. They talk about what matters to them.
They talk and they listen.
Through these scheduled dates, they are making their relationship and their connection to one another their top priority. They are taking the time to not only listen but hear what matters to each other. They address and fix issues before they become too big to overcome. In this way, they are hard wiring themselves together in a healthy way to keep their connection to one another strong.
They are a great example to follow.
Because whether you want your printer or relationship to work, it’s all about connection.