As we enjoy the Sugar Valley Rally this weekend classic cars can be seen all around town. Even if you’re not a huge car fan it’s tough not to stare and smile when such elegant beauty drives by. In a modern age where vehicles are so much more complex, there’s even more to be said about the basic beauty of an antique car.

The owners of such splendor are also a joy to talk with. I’ve never met a classic car owner who didn’t find pride in what they had. Or who didn’t enjoy talking about the car, its history, and even showing a picture or two in the process. Moreover, the care offered to such classic cars is often surpassed by none others.

Where a car ends up, whether receiving the Best in Show award or scrapped in the junkyard, is largely influenced by the care it receives from its owner. Granted, some cars may naturally rust faster than others, and some may have more reliable components than others, but overall what an owner does with their car predicts its future much more than what they were given to start with.

Take the classic Gremlin or Pinto. Considered by most not to be a top-pick car when new, if you see one today that’s been well maintained it’s hard not to give a respectable nod of admiration.

On the same note, there are many cars of the same make that can be found in junkyards all across our country. Same type of car, two very different outcomes, and the difference lies largely in the care (or lack thereof) provided by the owner.

Those interested in maintaining their newer cars can obviously do many small things to assure they remain in good condition. My neighbor is a good example of one who provides such care to his automobiles. At this rate, his cars are well on their way to becoming Sugar Valley Rally quality when they become antiques.

These keepin’ love alive articles are obviously not about keeping your car in good shape, but about keeping your relationship in good shape. However, as we head into a summer of car shows and parades, it’s hard not to see the similarities between a well-maintained classic car and a well-maintained classic marriage.

Someday when my marriage becomes antique, like the classic cars we enjoy this weekend, I hope it will beautiful like a Sugar Valley Rally car and not one worthy of the junkyard instead. While both may start off pretty when new, what kind of care they receive largely influences what kind of classic they become.

And while some stunning classic cars and marriages needed quite a bit of restoration, the beautiful end result is something both the car owner and couple seem to be proud of. In fact, it appears that sometimes the restoration process is part of the owners and couples proudest times. A time when perhaps it would have been easier to give up, but they didn’t, and the end result of their hard work is simple beauty and increased value.

Congratulations to all who participated in this weekend’s rally. Thanks for your efforts in keeping your classics beautiful; it’s a sight my family and I love to see. And thanks to all the couples who keep their classic relationships beautiful, too. It’s a sight my family and I enjoy, and an accomplishment I hope we all can achieve.

Have a picture of your classic car and your classic relationship together? E-mail it to me at markanderson@panhandlecouples.com (or drop a copy off at my office) and I’d love to post it on the couples website at www.panhandlecouples.com for others to enjoy.

Remember, couple relationships are easier than you think, but harder than you act.

Mark Anderson is a mental health therapist specializing in couples therapy. He is in private practice in Scottsbluff at Oregon Trail Mental Health and can be reached at 635-2800 or online at www.panhandlecouples.com.