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Exercise Together for a Healthier Marriage

Exercise Together for a Healthier Marriage

Editor's Note: This article is part of a series of articles by Kym Wright on marriage's "little kindnesses."

With so many demands on our time, it’s hard to make room for those things we’d really rather not do, if asked. Like exercise. I am not one of those who loves to work out. It’s not on my list of “these are a few of my favorite things,” a la Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do exercise. But I just don’t like it. Just last week, I felt I was preparing for the Iron Man Triathlon, where each participant must excel in running, swimming and biking. In the morning, the children do some sort of exercise: running, walking, kick boxing, or calisthenics. They rotate activities during the week. While they are having their fun, I’m doing my set of stretches, sit-ups, leg lifts, and slant board routine. So, last week, I did my thing, then spent fifteen minutes on the treadmill. That afternoon, one of our daughters asked me to join her in swimming laps at the pool, so we did. Then Spouse came home all energized and wanted to ride bikes. For about five miles. And I did that, too.

It’s memorable to me because it’s not normal. I’m not a lover of working out. But, I’ve done it since I was in my mid-teens.

So, to make it more fun and to help Spouse stick with it, we decided to exercise together. With the demands of his job, and needing to be available nearly around the clock, he really needs to get his heart pumping and his muscles active.

I mentioned our bike riding. That’s a great way to get in shape, and it doesn’t take a lot of specialized equipment. Just a bicycle and a path to ride on. You can go to a bike store and be fitted for a seat and for a bike, or you can use a bike off the rack – as long as you get on it and get moving.

Over the years, we’ve also worked out separately but in the same room. Sometimes that works, if we’re not trying to multi-task and talk at the same time. Spouse often reads his Bible while walking on the treadmill. And if I’m nearby, we both want to talk about whatever’s on our hearts. It’s a discipline to not share, but to let him read.

There have been times when we’ve joined the local community center or gym and spent time there before our days begin: him at work and me at home. We worked out on the weight machines, walked the treadmill, then swam laps in the pool. That takes a lot of maneuvering with our schedules to make it work; his day begins early, there’s breakfast to fix and eat (which we like to do as a family), family Bible reading, and checking chores. So, us working out together at a gym fell by the wayside once the children came along. But, now that they’re older, we are trying to pick it back up again – with them in tow. We’ll eat an early breakfast, hop in two cars, all work out and swim. Then Mark will go to work in his own car, and we’ll come home to begin our day with chores, cleaning the kitchen, then school.

Finding exercise you can do together is sometimes challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort.

Because we are both “competitious,” as one of our friends calls us, we like to set separate personal goals, but compete by seeing who can meet theirs first. Celebrating the attainment becomes fun for both: a dinner out together, taking a walk, or some other fun activity we both enjoy.

Though we have never done it, some couples like taking exercise classes together. They can work at their own speed, but it gives them more time as a couple, while allowing them to keep fit. One word of caution about some exercise classes: make sure they are teaching the workout, without a dose of alternative spirituality. Some people join the two, and I like to keep them separate, especially if it’s not based on sound Christian principles.

So, whatever path you take to keeping fit, if you can make time to do it together as a couple, you get more than just the exercise. You get more time together. And for us, there’s never enough of that.

Kym is an energetic and encouraging speaker who has spoken to many groups including state homeschool conventions, local homeschool groups, Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Civic Organizations, MOPS or Mothers of PreSchoolers clubs, church groups, women's events and seminars, teen groups, and more! Sharing her love of family and homeschooling on The 700 Club, on the radio, in interviews and newspapers, and in her writing, her passion shows . . . and it's contagious.