You know when that warning light comes on in your car- maybe the check oil light, or another bright symbol on the dashboard? I tend to ignore it and think, oh it’ll go away on its own at some point… Some of us take great care of our cars, regularly scheduling maintenance and staying proactive about problems. The tires have the right amount of air, we are attuned to changes in how the car drives. Others of us let the tires run ragged or might push off checking out what that warning light means until it is too late.
I know it’s not the most romantic analogy, but relationships can be a lot like cars. While we tend to like the idea of having a low maintenance relationship, it is important to invest and put effort into our relationships with significant others. Relationship maintenance is essential to sustainability and fulfillment. Regularly checking in with your partner (for a tune-up) is a great way to assess the strengths and growth areas in your relationship. Check out a few more suggestions below on how to think about relationship maintenance like car maintenance.
- Fill the tank- You likely wouldn’t forget to put gas in your car, you know that’s what makes it run! Think of doing nice things for your partner and spending quality time as filling up their love tank with gas. Talk to your partner about what makes their love tank feel most filled, and make an effort to do these things.
- Don’t run on autopilot- Be mindful that you are not running your relationship on autopilot. Be intentional about how you treat your partner. Aim to treat your partner with kindness, and watch out for times when you put your partner down or treat them with contempt.
- Don’t wait to come in until the warning lights are on- Couples tend to enter therapy when they have truly hit a breaking point. Make an effort to regularly communicate with your partner, and if you think you need some help in this process, you may want to seek out couples therapy.