My Route to Safety

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“My Route to Safety,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 20

My Route to Safety

Though the 16-hour drive was treacherous, I had made it before. Why was my husband telling me he didn’t want me to go?

One spring my younger sister came to visit our family in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. At the end of her visit, she asked me if I would drive her back to her home in Prince George, British Columbia, a 16-hour trip over the Rocky Mountains. The highway from Edmonton to Prince George is long, high, twisting, and often covered by snow and ice even in spring. But I was no stranger to the dangers of the road; I’d made the trip many times before.

Besides, it was late in May, so I felt secure in expecting decent weather even though I knew it could snow in the mountains at any time without warning. I also knew that if I didn’t drive my sister home my father would. Since his job demanded that he spend much of his time on dangerous highways, I was eager to lighten his driving burden. The decision seemed clear. I told my sister that I would probably drive her home. All that was left for me to do was to tell my husband I was going.

I told my husband my plan and asked him if he thought it was a good idea. He lowered his eyelids like he usually does when he is about to say something he doesn’t think I am going to like to hear and said, “I don’t want you to go.”

It was the first time he’d ever asked me not to do something that I thought was important. It made us both feel strange. I could tell he was straining to find a concrete reason for asking me not to go, but there didn’t seem to be one. He knew that I knew the road and that the weather would probably be fine. We both knew if I did not make the trip my father would be consigned to an exhausting 16-hour drive instead of enjoying a well-deserved rest at home with my mother. I suspected these thoughts might make him vulnerable to coaxing. I was about to try to change his mind, but when I opened my mouth I found I couldn’t begin to disagree with him. I was somehow restrained, and I was surprised to hear myself agreeing with him.

In the days that followed, I rationalized that I had agreed with my husband about the trip so quickly because I was trying to preserve harmony in our marriage. After all, I thought, marriage isn’t about getting your own way; it’s about getting along. I was to find, however, that there was more to this lesson than that.

Having been born in the 1970s, I have never known a time when issues of women and their power in society weren’t loudly and hotly debated. As I went about getting a university education, I met and read about intelligent, persuasive people who taught that following the guidance of men could only make me weak and miserable. I had to struggle for faith that following inspired men is the right thing to do.

The time came for my sister’s trip back home, and I stayed at home while she and my father made the long drive over the mountains. As they climbed from the prairie into the mountains, snow began to fly. The snow was wet, heavy, and dangerously close to blinding. Fortunately, they were driving my dad’s truck, which was well suited for the slippery, wintry conditions. The snowy drive drew upon every bit of my father’s many years of driving experience in such treacherous conditions. As Dad drove, it occurred to him that the car I would have taken on the same trip would not have been as roadworthy as his truck. It would have been a terrifying, if not disastrous, drive for me regardless of how well I knew the road. The voice that had delivered me from this ordeal was the tender voice of my husband asking me simply not to go.

The snowstorm I never had to drive through taught me the value of heeding such voices of inspiration and listening to each other as husband and wife. I am grateful that in addition to my own capacity to receive revelation, I can receive counsel from a righteous husband who has placed Christ at his head (see 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23–33).

My husband had been listening to the Spirit of the Lord when he asked me not to make the trip, and I had been listening to the same Spirit when I agreed.

Illustrated by Keith Larson