I’ve had some interesting Uber rides. Sometimes it feels like a counseling session as the driver asks me to solve their interpersonal dramas. One ride especially stood out. The driver was angry and concerned, because his wife allowed a neighbor to borrow money without consulting him first. I had 17 minutes until arriving at my hotel, so I decided to try an experiment. Sometimes, when people are stuck in complex relationship issues, it is helpful to use the CPR method:
C = Content. A single instance of a problem.
P = Pattern. A recurring problem; a pattern of behavior over time.
R = Relationship. How the problem is affecting your relationship, i.e. trust is suffering or competence is in question.
So, I started to ask him questions. Was this the first time she loaned money without telling you? Has she ever hidden money issues from you before? Was this instance causing you to change the way you interacted with her? Does she forget other things sometimes?
After about 10 minutes of going back and forth, he admitted to himself that she had never lied, nor loaned money to anyone to his knowledge. This was a single instance. It was CONTENT. We talked about setting up systems where they could spend 15 minutes at night without kids debriefing from the day, and if something was forgotten, they should each feel comfortable bringing it up later. We also talked about apps they could use to track their spending each day while the memories are fresh. And lastly, before getting out of the car, I reminded him that a good marriage is the joining of two great forgivers.
Certain Uber rides are memorable, but hopefully this one helped a marriage.