February 10, 2013

News & Features

A road trip could put turbo boost in your relationship

Special to NWautos

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A survey by YourTango and Ford says couples can recapture their mojo on the road. (Comstock Images)

I have here on my computer unbiased, definitive data about how to enhance your love life. Now, by "unbiased," I mean it was sponsored by the Ford Motor Co.; and by "definitive," I mean an online survey of more than 1,000 couples.

It comes to me compliments of a company called YourTango, which bills itself as "the digital leader in love and relationships." I know, not exactly Masters and Johnson, but better than Click and Clack. Maybe.

According to its findings, if you want to turbocharge your love life, all you have to do is take a road trip. That's it. Get in the car and go for a nice, long drive and your relationship will wind up in a better place.

Yes, you have to bring your significant other with you. It won't work if you go alone. On the other hand, the research said nothing about driving a Ford, so if you've got a Ferrari in the garage, I say go for it.

Cars and romance have been inseparable ever since Dinah Shore shilled for Chevy. Its famous theme song from the '50s ("See the USA in your Chevrolet") makes it clear the automaker has understood the romantic powers of the road trip for decades.

Most couples concur. Nine out of 10 surveyed told YourTango they had taken road trips together, and 84 percent of them agreed that the experience had "strengthened their relationship."

Fifty-seven percent said they liked to discuss "important topics" while on the road. What sort of topics? How important? The folks at YourTango didn't say. We can assume they weren't discussing the topics typical of reality TV; "I'm pregnant with your boss's baby" or "I'm leaving you for your younger sister" are road-trip topics that lead to entirely different destinations.

Quite to the contrary, 68 percent of participants described their road trips as "fun-filled" or "relaxing." In the case of this particular finding, the survey did offer some specifics. Their favorite activity was "catching up with each other" (63 percent).

"Blasting our favorite music" was cited by 60 percent of the couples, and "sharing quiet time" was important to 37 percent of them. Given the apparent contradictions in these pastimes, I imagine that negotiating who got to do what, and when, provided a nice opportunity to hone conflict-resolution skills.

It's nearly impossible to conduct a driving-related survey among couples without backing into the topic of back-seat drivers. YourTango reports that 63 percent of couples have one in the car who "helps" the driver.

Even so, a road trip still ranks as a way to rev the relationship.

If it's true -- and it's easy enough to test-drive the theory (sorry) -- then it means car-themed gifts have entered the realm of "romantic." And with Valentine's Day coming up in about three exits, it's a chance for car lovers to think outside the heart-shaped box.
Let me help you navigate this new terrain. First, avoid shortcuts. "Roses are red; violets are blue. These new Teflon wipers are for your Subaru" is a car wreck. You've got to be creative.

Let's say one of you craves a little variety. A Zipcar membership might be the perfect way to bring back that lovin' feeling, since it allows you to take out a different model every week.

Second, avoid practical. I know, the tab for a tank of premium costs more than dinner for two at a Tom Douglas eatery. But do not be seduced into thinking that a 76 gift card would be a good gift. Its very practicality is its problem.

If you're serious about strengthening your relationship, take a road trip. Or you could go all the way and give the gift of a new car. This Valentine's Day, nothing says, "I love you" like that new-car smell.

See the study results at yourtango.com/LoveOnTheRoad

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