Why Taking Care of Your Relationship is Just as Important as Taking Care of Your Car
Posted Mar 21 2010 10:37pm
A lot of things in life turn into bigger problems because we choose to ignore the smaller ones. I see this all the time with clients, many of whom come to me when a situation at home (either with their kids or with their partner) is out of control and they’re on the verge of running away. Some already have, emotionally, and wish so badly they had done something, or sought me out earlier.
Many relationships (I’ll use marriages as an example, even though it could apply to other partnerships) start following a pattern that much resembles the path of a roller coaster. Up, down, exciting, uncomfortable, you’re on a high for a while before things start going downhill…you get the picture.
How does this relate to car car? My ‘Check Engine’ light came on in my car a few weeks ago. For some reason, I ignored it. Most people have a little sticker on their windshield that reminds them of when their next oil change is due. I ignored that too.
We have several warning signs that alert us when our car needs to be repaired. These warning signs are necessary and helpful so that we can avoid mechanical breakdown from occurring. No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road.
If you’re married or in a committed relationship, how often do you tell yourself (or your partner) that you’ll schedule a date night soon but then something gets in the way of your plans and you postpone spending that quality (and much needed) alone time with your significant other?
I hear these excuses most of the time: There’s no money for a babysitter, one of the kids got sick, our weekends are set aside for family time or, we really don’t have any shared interests anymore.
Most of you would do something about the noise coming from your engine or take your car in (and taking time out from your busy schedule) to get the oil changed before the date or mileage posted on the reminder sticker passes by. How many of us avoid the warning signs when we, or our relationships, are out of balance?
You and your partner need quality time, alone, together, without the kids, whether or not the activity you choose costs money. I tell couples to take it slow at first. Start with a walk around the block, hold hands if you’re daring or take in a movie (you don’t have to talk to one another, I promise). You also need time to yourself. Take a bubble bath or spend a night on the patio reading a book or making a phone call to someone you haven’t chatted with in a while.
It’s a bit of a challenge to work with couples who have lost that spark, have forgotten what it’s like to feel adored, or have neglected their relationship for so long that they contemplate divorce. There are certain situations where I can see that the couple would be better off separating, but more often than not, a simple 10,000 mile check-up would do the trick.
I pulled into the gas station near my son’s school earlier this week because I do pay attention to the gas light…One of the guys from the auto shop walked toward my car. He pointed at the hood of my car and said, “It sounds like you need oil.”
Embarrassed, I said, “Yes, I do,” and glanced up at the reminder sticker that showed a number that my car had passed over 3,000 miles ago. “I heard you pull in,” he continued to say as he lifted up the hood. He proceeded to pour two full quarts of oil into my car’s engine as I tried not to think about what damage could have occurred had he not said anything, or had I not pulled in to that particular gas station (one that I had never been to before).
I think I need to go back and give him a Thank-You gift, now that I think about it. He saved me a lot of money in car repairs that would’ve needed to be done had I continued to ignore the ‘Check Engine’ light.
An oil change takes around fifteen minutes or so, plus driving time to and from the shop. How long will you spend this week on strengthening the relationships in your life?