Monday, February 14, 2011

Can Exercising Together Improve Your Marriage?

Absolutely.  Here’s how.

Happiness – Exercise improves mood.  This is a scientific fact.   Do you enjoy your partner’s company more when you are happy or sad?  Does your partner appear more attractive to you when you are feeling up for feeling down?  Now imagine that both you and your partner have the opportunity to feel happy and motivated at the same time.

Intimacy – From what my clients tell me, three common libido killers are stress, fatigue and body image.  Want a cheap, fast fix with no negative side effects?  Exercise!  An active lifestyle reduces stress, increases energy and makes us feel better about our bodies.

Couple Time – If you have ever read a book about successful relationships, they’ll tell you that you MUST find something to enjoy with your partner that is not related to your kids.  I recognize that you are busy and tired…and that your kids need you…so why not feed two (maybe three or four) birds with one hand.  Find a physical activity that you both truly enjoy and make it a habit.  Make it something that you cannot live without.  A non-negotiable.   Added bonus?  Your kids will come to admire you for it.

A Common Goal – Many frustrated couples site having no clear and common goals as a major reason for relationship dissatisfaction.  Whether your relationship is strong or needs some work, having a common goal may make you feel more connected to your partner.  Tip: When setting a fitness goal together, make it a SMART goal.  Sustainable.  Measurable.  Attainable.  Realistic.  Timely.  Ex. We are going to work with our trainer every Saturday at 10am.

Putting Theory into Action – If you are unsure how your partner will react to this idea, maybe send them this or a similar article to read ahead of time.  Then schedule a time to discuss your plan.  Choose a time when you are not typically tired or distracted. Talking ‘after the kids go down’ doesn’t work for most couples.  Make a lunch date, even if that means calling in a favour or paying a sitter. Brainstorm activities that you enjoy and try to find a common ground.  If you cannot seem to find an activity that you both enjoy, make a compromise.  For example, if you enjoy long power walks and he prefers cycling, alternate activities.  This gesture communicates love and respect.  Once you choose your activity, SCHEDULE it in.  If there are obstacles, find ways to overcome them.  Your marriage is worth it.

Worth Mentioning – It is not uncommon for one person in a relationship to suggest a ‘group’ activity like hiking with another couple.  This can make the other person feel frustrated or even rejected.  If this happens, try not to take it personally.  Instead, remind your partner that your goal right now is to spend time as a couple.  Perhaps offer to revisit the idea after your have established your partner exercise routine.

Give it a try and report back.  Let me know how it goes.

(Original article in the momcafe's February Newsletter)