What was your first car? I remember mine well: 1984 Pontiac Bonneville with a V8 and room for 6 (up to 10 if you got creative). It was a great first car. It got me from point A to point B without any trouble. It wasn’t a dream car, but it was a good one.
I once ran it into a tree stump. The hood was so long on the thing I couldn’t see, and didn’t remember, that I had parked it by the stump. I was in a hurry. Got in the car, fired it up, and punched the gas trying to pull forward and bam! I expected people to come out of the house I was at to find out what happened. It didn’t even scratch the bumper…or the stump. No harm, no foul.
I know that I changed the spark plugs on it once. I may have added oil to it from time to time. I am not sure I ever opened the coolant cap to check the fluid level. It was an old beater car, and I did very little to improve its status. I remember once when the brakes went out on me when I was driving. Somehow I got the car stopped, but I am not sure how. Did I check the brake fluid? I don’t think so.
As I have made it to other cars through the years I have learned to take better care of them. I didn’t spend any money on the first one (thanks for looking out for me mom and dad), so I wasn’t invested in taking care of it. The two vehicles my wife and I have now I do my best to take better care. It is common knowledge that if you don’t maintain it, you end up having to fix it, which becomes costly and takes a lot longer.
Marriage is much the same way. If you are wise, when you get married you realize that you have to take care of your spouse daily. You have to check all of the vital stats. How is my wife doing today? Is she upset? What is going on in her life that would cause her stress? Are there things that have her worried? Are the kids overwhelming her? Is there something she is saying, even though she hasn’t said anything? These are all things that need to be considered every day.
Marixa will tell you that I am a fanatic about taking care of her. I don’t wait on her hand and foot (which she would probably like, but get tired of), but I do go to great lengths to make sure of how she is and how I can help. There are times that I am not as observant as I need to be, but for the most part I am pretty perceptive. I can tell by talking to her if something is a miss.
I ask her frequently throughout the day what is on her mind. I want her to share her thoughts and her feelings with me. I want to know her more and more. If I feel like I have done something to upset her, I ask her what it is. I don’t go overboard with all of this, but I do make a habit of making sure everything is all right. (There is a fine line with being on top of things and being annoying. I don’t cross that one.)
I know that I can not be for her everything she needs. There are times that she is going to need to be by herself to catch her breath. That is no knock on me, that is just human nature. I know that she needs lady friends to talk with her about things that they are going through that she relates with. I am ok with that as well. I can only be so understanding on things I haven’t experienced myself.
Just like I can’t go out and jump in my car everyday and expect it to start if I don’t maintain it, I can’t ignore the needs of my wife and expect my relationship to be healthy.
What are you doing to keep your relationship the best it can be?