Relationship Fitness

S16: Assess E6: Travel Down The Quality Track

In “Relationship Workout for Men,” Season 16 Episode 6 titled “The Quality Track,” Vince delves into the essence of relationship dynamics, illustrating the metaphor of a relationship as a train journey. The episode discusses the concept of ‘Engine Cars,’ which symbolize the positive energy driving the relationship forward, and ‘Boxcars,’ which carry the negative aspects and conflicts. Vince emphasizes the importance of functioning as a team to steer the relationship train on a track of quality, where quality thoughts and actions lead to fulfilling experiences. This journey involves navigating through challenges together, minimizing drama, and maximizing mutual respect, kindness, and understanding. Vince’s narrative encourages listeners to focus on the journey’s quality, fostering a relationship that thrives on cooperation, love, and continuous growth.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 16 Episode 6: The Quality Track

In the previous episode, we said by way of analogy, one can think of a relationship as building and riding a train together. This train has two types of cars:

  •  Engine Cars that provide the positive energy for propelling the relationship forward, and
  • Boxcars that carry the negative stuff — one boxcar per issue in your relationship.

Within every issue that needs to be resolved in your relationship, you have the choice to make whether or not you’ll find yourselves throwing bricks at each other in box cars. But there’s a better way, and it begins by realizing being part of a strong relationship is about being part of a team.

When you realize that you’re driving the train as a team, then you also realize that the answers to the issues don’t lie in the boxcars. The answers lie right in front of the first engine. This is where all the action is. After all, a train is not a train if it can’t go anywhere. A train is only a train if it’s dynamic, just like a strong relationship.

When you act as a team, you realize that your train is on a track called quality. Quality thoughts drive quality actions. Quality intentions drive quality experiences. Relationship strength leads to quality and riding RGQ STRONG.

And it’s in front of the train where the opportunity to have fun really lives. You feel excitement together because you realize there’s an endless number of fun places you two can take your relationship. Just choose and go. Today we go this way, tomorrow we go that way. 

It’s a decision on a Saturday morning to spontaneously make her breakfast in bed, perhaps leading to some other bedroom extracurricular activities. It’s where you decide to go out for a nice dinner and dancing on a Friday night instead of staying at home glued to reruns of Friends. It’s where you decide to spontaneously kiss her just because. 

Spontaneous acts of kindness are here too as you just feel like doing nice things for each other. Yes, this is where the real and sustainable feelings of fun and connection live — you two driving the train together down a quality track full of kindness, integrity, listening, growing love and, yes, great sex.

Riding Strong

This is also where you apply all your relationship strengths, so you don’t create issues in the first place. For instance, this is where honesty lives, because you know to lie is just going to potentially get you stuck in a boxcar, sucked dry of trust. This is also where unselfishness lives as you realize that her needs are just as important as yours. 

When the inevitable issues do hit, this is where the third story sits — right out there in front of the train. You’re a team directing the train toward solutions. This is where ego takes a back seat as your agenda is one of mutually agreeable resolution, and not of brick-throwing in the boxcars so one’s ego can feel like it “won” the fight.

This is where empathetic listening lives, even when your stories differ wildly. This is where openness and a willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions live as well. In fact, driving on the quality track is neither about protecting nor crucifying, but rather about resolving and getting back to having fun. Compromise also sits in front of the train. It’s always there for you two to reach; however, first you two as a team must drive the train in that quality direction. 

When individual weaknesses show themselves, threatening to add boxcars full of bricks, this is where you work together to see the weaknesses and turn them into strengths. It’s not about wanting an excuse to throw bricks at each other. Rather, it’s about helping each other and ultimately adding yet another engine to the train. When this happens, you also realize the train never had to stop. Just keep driving down that quality track and the relationship weaknesses will show themselves, along with the answers on how to turn them into strengths.  

For instance, if you have weaknesses in how you approach communicating in a difficult conversation, you intentionally do the work to become a stronger communicator, so the core area of communications transforms into a strength in your relationship.

Ego Driving

Typically, resolution starts with seeing how one’s ego just wants to keep fighting, trying to win the boxcar wars. Ego wants to be right, often at all costs: My way or the wrong way. I’m right, you’re wrong. It’s all your fault. This is the ego talking, trying to win its agenda. In fact, blame is one of ego’s sharpest weapons.

And what does the ego win? Nothing. In fact, ego creates individuals trying to take the train in their own selfish directions. He wants to go his direction; she wants to go hers. In reality, the train is only going to go in one direction if both people agree on it.

When individual ego controls, then the two people effectively just got off their relationship train. They’ve decided to go it alone. This is the place where weak quality happens: two people sharing a bed but going in different directions. 

Affairs happen in this place as well, as one’s train can end up sharing a track with another. This is also where feeling like roommates can occur, as you both effectively end up doing your own thing. This is where you stop sharing your feelings with each other because it feels like there’s no point: She’ll just use what you say against you the next time you’re fighting in the boxcars. You feel stuck, because you are stuck.

Fighting in the Boxcars

And when you fight in the boxcar, all you’ve done is turn your supposed partner into the opponent. And if you “win” in the boxcar by beating your opponent into submission, all you’ve done is to build resentment. No man likes to feel castrated, just like no woman wants to feel like her feelings and needs are unimportant. No one wants to feel minimized or devalued. Throwing bricks can create the deepest of bruises.

By continuing to fight in the boxcar, all you’ve done is manufacture more bricks. The longer you fight and feel further and further disconnected from each other it’s like you’ve built a brick wall between you two in your boxcars. This is where true misery lives. Two people who supposedly love each other, feeling stuck in a boxcar with a big wall between them. Instead of talking positively with each other at the front end of the train, you’re both talking negatively about the other with friends and family — as rarely do you say nice things to each other.

And when this happens, the train is stalled on the track, going nowhere. Your RGQ is pegged at weak, and the relationship feels miserable.

Resolution is Simple

Of course, there’s another way. There’s the quality track. The quality track makes resolution to issues quite simple. Of course, answers are always simple once you’ve reached them. It’s finding them that can feel so challenging. However, by constantly driving the train down the quality track with commitment, perseverance and gumption, you will find that the answers will eventually reveal themselves. Stay strong. Stay patient. Stay open. See the answers; they are right in front of you. Look for them together. You’ll find them.

A key is to continue playing as a team. Teams win as teams. Teams don’t care who is at “fault” or who has the Demon-inspired weakness. Teams simply want to resolve so they can get back to having fun together. 

And when you’re driving down the quality track, something magical happens. You both feel a strong sense of inner peace. You’re not living in the past with anxiety and anger-laden, brick-filled boxcars. Instead, you’re having fun as you support each other through all of life’s curves. And this is where true connected intimacy and love live (making the sex all the better!).

You Have to Care

But how do you get on this quality track? And how do you stay there? It’s simple:You must care.

If you care, then you’ll be aware of her needs and find yourself naturally doing kind things for her. On the other hand, if your thoughts are all about yourself, then you probably won’t even notice that it would be nice to make her a cup of tea or give her shoulders a bit of a massage. You won’t see her needs because all you care about are your own. 

If you care, then you have thoughts of compassion instead of judgment. After all, if you care about her well-being and even if you think her actions are completely whacked (a very judgmental thought, by the way), your caring will take over and you’ll transition from judging to caring thoughts. Caring thoughts will lead to feelings of compassion and empathy. Perhaps you’ll think a thought like: “Something must be up for her to act this way. I’ll see if she wants to share what’s going on.”

If you care, then you’ll not only want to talk about whatever issue is on the table, but you’ll also be curious about her story. After all, you care about her needs and experiences. You’ll want to know her story so you can make sure that any resolution reached will take her needs fully into account. 

When you care, you’re open to learning how you might be contributing to the issue at hand. Instead of caring to win a fight so your ego feels superior, you care to find a solution regardless of who contributed what to the issue. It’s all about resolution.

Likewise, if she cares, then she’ll do the same for you. 

And when you both truly care for each other, then you feel like you’re on the same team, ready, willing, and able to have fun exploring what life has to offer together.

So how good do you feel your relationship is? Do you feel like she cares about you and your needs. Do you care about her and her needs?

To find out, consider spending 10 minutes completing Stage 1 of the Relationship Workout Program, available at RelationshipWorkout.com, where you’ll not only receive a grade for how good your relationship is, but strong to weak ratings on how good you think and feel your relationship is.

One last point as we wrap up this season. On a first date, you start with an initial engine car and no boxcars. On this first date, the engine is powered purely by interest. For some reason, you’re sitting across from each other on this first date. That said, after years of being together, the quantity of issues and whether they get resolved will leave you feeling like you’re riding:

  • A train full of engines, meaning RGQ STRONG, or
  • A train with a mix of engines and boxcars, meaning RGQ AVERAGE, or
  • A train burdened with boxcars and filled with bricks, meaning RGQ WEAK.

So, this wraps up Season 16 where we discussed answering the foundational relationship question: How Good is Your Relationship?

In the next season, season 17, we explore fundamental relationship question: Do you have the gumption to continue to work through all the (inevitable) issues? 

After all, a long-term commitment means there can and will be a whole host of issues thrown your relationship’s way over the years. Now what?

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