This week, you have learned about how your relationships can be like a car... So far we've talked about how to choose a car, the importance of regular maintenance, paying attention to and heeding the warning lights and how all of these are metaphors for our relationships with others. So, you have picked out a "car" that is a great fit, you follow through with regular maintenance to ensure it lasts a long time, and you make sure that anytime a warning light comes on you get it checked out promptly! Your car is purring like a kitten and running like a lion! Hmmm... is it? When is the last time you "detailed" your car? Just like relationships, if we only look at the functioning part of our relationships and ignore the more "surface parts" of the relationship, it may be functioning well, but it sure isn't very fun and pretty! So, in keeping with the car analogy, today we are going to talk about what it looks like to "detail" your relationships. What do you do to "detail" your car thatmakes it pretty and more fun to drive? You might put a good coat of wax on it to make it shiny and prevent rust. You might vacuum it out and Armor-All the interior surfaces, or you might make sure that the carpet inside is shampooed and smelling nice. Then you might step back, enjoy your work and take it out for a fun drive. Relationships need this kind of surface work to keep them fun, too. Examples of "detailing" your relationship include: Keeping yourself fit and trim, looking (and smelling!) nice for your significant other (and for your own self-esteem). Just like a car, we feel better about ourselves when we take care of our appearance. Other ways of "detailing" your relationship are: spontaneous, romantic and fun getaways with just the two of you, going on regular "date nights" where you commit to talking about the things you used to discuss when you were courting (no discussion of work and kids!), turning off the TV in the evenings and having face-to-face conversations with direct eye contact, making it a point to ask your significant other questions on a regular basis that continue to get to know them better (no matter how long you've been together), having regular lunches together, and surprising your partner with a heartfelt compliment that makes them shine like a clean car! Another example is ensuring that you regularly and consistently speak your partner's "Love Language"... if they like gifts-- bring them flowers or a thoughtful gift, if they need words of affirmation-- send them an out of the blue text or give them a random call to tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you.
These acts of "detailing" literally keep your relationship from getting "rusty"-- just like a good coat of wax on a clean car! Relationships can be hard work at times, but they also can provide more benefits than anything, as long as you keep them in tip-top shape. Remember to have fun and try to keep the "spark" alive by "detailing" your "car". It's an investment in your relationship that keeps things feeling new!
So, are you driving a "relationship lemon"? If so, what steps are needed to get your "car" back in good working condition and fun?
Thank you for joining us and check back next week, where we will be going over different aspects of Emotional Affairs. Have a great week and drive safe! :)
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.