I like to consider myself a “car guy”, make no mistake, I am no ‘gear head’ – never had the talent, could change the oil, tire and an occasional light bulb but that’s pretty much where it ends – I just appreciate beautiful cars. It is truly a sensual experience for me – I love the sight of a brilliant shine and the way light and every object around it is reflected. I love to touch a smooth, polished finish and glide my hand across the cool texture of a clear coat, along with the scent of a soft leather interior and the sound of a throaty engine that envelopes you when you give the key a turn. Therapy for me has always been about detailing my ride until I have it looking, smelling and feeling the way I want to drive it. I can spend hours washing and waxing and cleaning the interior, windows and tires…and of course over the years I’ve heard the complaint – “if you spent as much time with me as you do your car…”
So it got me thinking…imagine if I treated my relationships like I do my car. I would be investing in my relationship on a weekly basis. For starters, I invest in a tank of gas roughly every week, so how can I invest in my relationship on a weekly basis that “keeps it running without worry about it coming to an end? I usually don’t wash my car unless it is dirty but how can I “polish the relationship” when I feel I have neglected it and it is really in need of some TLC [Tender Loving Care]. I am not looking for the car to tell me what it needs and I can certainly adopt that attitude with my partner. I can be proactive and decide that our relationship needs my time and attention and how best to tend to those needs.
I can easily spend a couple of hours washing, rubbing and buffing, why not share massages with my partner and rub her from head to toe? Why not find new ways to hold her, feel her, hear her, taste and smell her and really appreciate seeing her beauty “from all angles”? I do not have to do a detailed and thorough cleansing every time I decide to “work on the relationship”; sometimes a quick and easy wash is all that is called for or all that I have time for but the point is that I make time for the relationship.
I am usually pretty good at scheduling maintenance ahead of time and could easily translate that behavior into planning special times with my partner, like date night or take her out dancing or whatever it is that she enjoys. My attitude, like being with my car, should be enjoying time together-just the two of us. I can plan for major expenses as I can plan for anniversaries, vacations, birthdays and other special events.
If we men can start thinking about our relationships in the term of our “love affairs” with our cars, it may do us well to realize that we have been practicing our relationship skills for many years without even knowing it…something like the movie The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel all about self defense in the realm of waxing his car.