I was talking with a client tonight about his relationship with his wife. In the past we had come up with the idea for him to begin each evening when he came home from work with a five-minute period of quiet time with his wife, as a means of changing their pattern from the old walk-in-and-start-bickering to something more peaceful. Both he and his wife were most agreeable to this and after implementing it for a few days they decided it was really quite helpful.
Tonight he confessed that they really hadn’t kept this up, despite finding it a really beneficial practice. He said now that things between them are better, it seemed like the practice wasn’t needed. And this elicited from me the following Pearl of Wisdom:
It is much less expensive to maintain a car than it is to repair it.
That is to say, it’s hard work implementing new practices to fix a broken relationship. Very hard work. It is significantly less work – although not by any means no work – to maintain one. Spending five minutes a day in quiet togetherness is much easier to pull off when there is no tension between the two parties than when both are upset and irritated with each other. Hence, I recommended that they push themselves to keep up with this practice even though, and in fact because, things have been so good between them.
Remember, it is much less expensive to maintain a relationship than it is to repair it.