I fly so often these days, I could easily get a job as an airline flight attendant. I got the standard verbiage down.
“The front hatch is closed. We are ready for take-off. Seatbelts need to be fastened. Tray tables in their upright and locked position. We are pulling back from the gate.”
Once the flight attendant makes this announcement, I sink into my seat. (Usually number 25C. Of course, the dreaded middle seat.) I realize that it’s too late now. I am officially stuck. No getting off until we have landed at our final destination. I have no choice but to make the best of it. Good book, check. Neck pillow, check. Vitamin Water, check. This long 35,000 feet above ground journey is about to begin. And it’s going to happen whether I’m ready or not.
Chances are we are going to make it fine. I think the FAA has done their research. They have a standard operating procedure that assures me a high likelihood that I will fly safely and get where I want to go. Thank God someone is on it.
I make-up that one necessity in flying event-free from point A to point B is closing that front hatch, the last important detail before take-off. Imagine travelling through space at 500 MPH with the front door open. That might cause some wind tunnel. The overhead bins would fling open. Coffee would pour itself. Passengers would be screaming as if on a scary roller coaster at the fair. Chaos would ensue and a safe, predictable trip would not result.
Critical detail: the front hatch must be shut tightly. Sealed, bolted and checked twice.
We need a similar standard operating procedure for our primary relationship. Once we have decided to be on a relational journey with our partner of choice, that front hatch must get locked. For, if that front hatch is left open, our airplane will not fly safely. The elements are too strong and a crash inevitable.
Thus, we must safeguard our connection with a commitment to secure boundaries. The frame of “us” needs to be clear, impenetrable and airtight. Otherwise, we are operating in a boundaryless shitshow, an unpredictable turmoil that does not give the relationship a chance to take-off and fly.
Pandemonium does not create safety, the safety needed for intimacy to thrive.
But commitment can be boring. The flight sure would be more exciting with a big, gaping hole in the side of our airplane. A sit-on-the-edge-made-for-TV movie. Folks could get on and off. No being stuck with his and her (or his and his or her and hers) carry-on luggage. One ticketless unaccountability of coming and going as you please.
Such a circus at 35,000 feet is an option.
Yet, my experience tells me that closing the front hatch is a more likely formula for relationship success. It provides the monotonous predictability for trust and attachment to soar.
So, check that hatch, my relational travelers. (Or at least be curious as to your resistance to closing it.) We are ready for take-off. Coffee is on and we got places to go.