4 Ways Exercise Can Strengthen Your MarriageBy Ejiro Ogenyi
Published: February 10, 2015
S o you’ve decided to make exercise a habit; you’ve looked at your schedule and responsibilities, and you are left wondering if your new time away from family might negatively impact your relationship.
Working out means that you will probably be asking your partner to help more with the kids and that you will be spending less time with him. Great job looking at the potential pitfalls as this will help you come up with ways to overcome them, but have you considered what you will be getting out of your new found habit?
Here are four ways exercise can improve your relationship with your significant other.
Confidence in the Bedroom
I was once asked on a radio show about how working out can affect your performance in the bedroom. I answered on the air, but a client of mine had more to say on the matter and I will share here.
Working out changes your mindset because doing exercises challenge your body in ways that you didn’t expect, and this can motivate you to try new positions in bed with your new found flexibility and strength. Also being physically fit will help you feel confident about yourself regardless of whether you are clothed or naked and self-confidence shines through in how you approach life in the bedroom and out.
On a more technical note, the author of Intimacy & Desire, Dr. David Schnarch, tells us in his book that based on his clinical experiences “issues of selfhood control sexual desire as much as (and probably more than) lust, romantic love, and attachment. How you see yourself, how your partner treats you, and how you think your partner sees you profoundly shape your sexual desire.”
Working out can change how you see yourself and this can positively impact how you and your partner enjoy your time together in the bedroom.
Couples who sweat together stick together
Working out with your partner can help you both see each other as capable in ways that you didn’t see before. Working out with a partner requires that you push yourself to keep up and also requires that you encourage your partner when you see them falter. This creates a giving dynamic in your relationship where you both learn to give your best effort and you give (and take) support when it is needed.
This giving dynamic will inevitably spill into other aspects of your relationship and your lives together. You learn to offer each other support when you are facing challenging and new situations in your life; for example, think of the support you need when you are pregnant or the type of support you would need if either of you were looking to change careers.
Meaningful shared parenting responsibilities
One of the habits that a lot of us women fall into when we have kids is to take on most of the child care aspect of things while our husbands become the fun parent. Because you need someone to watch the kids while you workout, your exercise time can become “Daddy and Kids” time.
In her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg rightly points out that we women do have control over the responsibilities that our husbands take by how we act. In her chapter on “Making Your Partner a Real Partner” she says “When it comes to children, fathers often take their cues from mothers. This gives a mother great power to encourage or impede the father’s involvement. If she acts as a gatekeeper mother and is reluctant to hand over responsibility, or worse, questions the father’s effectiveness, he does less.”
Framing your workout time as his time to hang out with the kids can be just the cue he needs to take more responsibility in other areas of raising your kids together.
Traditional wisdom advises that you never go to bed mad. I personally think that it’s a bad idea because you can end up beating the problem to death or end up saying things that you didn’t mean to say.
Taking a moment, politely, to go workout can help you hash out what’s bothering you without involving your partner so that you can clear the air later after you have had the time to think it through.
Nothing gets you present like a minute of burpees, and learning to be in the present moment can be the difference between pausing before a misunderstanding with your hubby becomes a fight or going guns blazing.
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