Men often feel like relationships are a mystery and their partners are impossible to figure out. The good news is, many of the same principles of car ownership can be applied to marriage. Here are some simple tips to help keep your relationship running like new.
1) Rust is the Enemy. When a car sits neglected, eventually it gets rusty. Your relationship is the same way. Part of keeping it well-tuned is to spend time together recharging your batteries and having fun. This is an absolute necessity for a fulfilling relationship. While it may seem obvious, couples who stop spending time together become emotionally distant and vulnerable to affairs and other problems. Take some time each week to focus on each other.
2) Warning Lights Serve a Purpose. When the check engine light on your car goes off, attending to the problem can prevent bigger problems down the road. The same is true for your relationship- address the small things when they come up, lest they turn into bigger problems in the future. If you feel annoyed by something small, tell your partner and come up with a plan to fix it before it becomes a pattern. Often couples stay angry about things that are unsaid, but could have easily been corrected early on in the relationship.
3) Regular Maintenance is Required. Your car can't change its own oil, and your relationship won't tune itself up either. Jump in and do it! Want a night out without the kids? Don't wait for her to call the sitter. Plan things yourself and sweep her off her feet. Does she seem stressed? Ask how you can help so the two of you can get back to having fun (see Tip #1).
4) Squeaks and Rattles Need Attention. Just like you stop and take notice when your car is a making a strange noise, take the time to pause and listen to your partner. Don't talk over your shoulder, holler from the next room, or barely look up when she speaks. Turn toward her, make eye contact, give her your full attention - it's amazing what you will hear.
5) Call a Mechanic When Things Break Down. Change a tire? No problem. Detail the interior? Piece of cake. Electrical system shorted out? Time to consult a professional. It's OK to get outside help when you need it. There are lots of resources for couples who need to get back on track in their relationships: clergy, counselors, relationship retreats, etc. A little professional guidance is sometimes all we need to get back on the road again.