In therapy we use alot of analogies with individuals and couples to get a point across. This week we chose cars. Everyone can relate to cars because they are a necessary evil. Today we're talking about maintenance, to your car and to your relationships. How well do you maintain your car? Do you go for your routine oil changes and tire rotations? Do you get your alignment done periodically? Or do you wait until that oil light comes on when you're at the stop light and think, "Oh yeah! I need to put oil in my car!!" At the first sign of squeaky, spongy brakes do you change them, or do you wait until they grind and then you have to replace the rotors too? Are you on top of it, or are you waiting until more serious damage is done?
This is what we're asking this week when it comes to relationships. Whether this is with your spouse, child, sibling, parent, friend, God, whoever! I'm sure you put gas in your car, but as you know, owning a car takes so much more care and attention. Relationships require even more care and attention. Just like with a car, when the first sign of unhappiness in a relationship shows up, what do you do about it? Do you ignore it and let it fester & grow deeper? Or, do you address it and take care of the relationship problem right then and there?
The "maintenance" work of a relationship is the deep communication between you and another person. It's being open and vulnerable (not having secrets) and possibly going to counseling if things are not working out. It's realizing you can't just "be there" (put gas in your car) in your relationship, you also have to take care of it. If that means giving up a bad habit, leaving love notes, spending more quality time together or helping out around the house, then you do it.
Maintenance work is not easy work. It is, though, preventative work. You're building a strong foundation between the relationship, where the two of you can face anything that comes your way. As always, thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more of our car metaphor this week!
Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.