Marriage is like a cake, it has many layers to it. As you know marriage takes work and much effort in keeping the fun, passion and love alive in it. A marriage is a partnership, it’s having a teammate, and that’s why jogging has been one of the positive influences in our marriage. Megan shares a few tips with us on how jogging has benefited her marriage, and she also answers the Identity 5!
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Exercising in front of my boyfriend of two-and-a-half-years; that was my last frontier. Yes, he had seen me cry, he had seen me sick with a fever, he had seen me in sweatpants with absolutely not a stitch of makeup on my face . . . but he hadn’t seen me grudgingly huff and puff my way up a hill with sweat dripping off my nose and my cheeks flushed with exhaustion. Despite the many times he suggested we go for a jog together, I was fervent that he would never see me while I workout. Since then, I have thankfully changed my mind. My now-husband and I jog together at least three times a week and it has become a major cornerstone in our marriage for a handful of reasons:
5 Tips that can help your marriage…and health!
1) Our relationship as teammates is strengthened as we encourage one another and work together side-by-side to achieve the challenging distances. I’ll pull him off the couch on those days when he groans that he doesn’t feel like moving, and he’ll playfully egg me on to tackle just one more mile. After all, a little bit of flirty competition can keep the relationship playful as well as motivate us to truly push ourselves. We stretch together, we sweat together and we accomplish our goals together.
2) Jogging puts the two of us in a good mood, as it releases endorphins and boosts our overall energy and cognitive functions through heightened dopamine and serotonin. Plus, there’s just something uplifting about nature. Experience has also shown me that exercise really does help to regulate sleep, leading to less restless nights and cranky bickering in the morning. Ultimately though, running is a fantastic way to relieve stress and frustration that would otherwise lead to tensions in our relationship or unhealthy outlets for the pent up negativity (he’s guilty of the occasional cigarette and I become snappish). When we do argue, I find that jogging allows me clear my mind of the drama and return to the situation with a fresh, balanced perspective. Being that I am half of the relationship, if I am spiritually unsound, so is our marriage.
3) There are times when careers, responsibilities, social circles and life can pull a couple in different directions. As much as I promised to never let it happen, I occasionally find myself all too easily spending less and less quality time with my husband. Furthermore, when we do touch base during such intervals, we are on entirely different wave lengths. By routinely running together, we continue to have a window of time designated for just the two of us and the path that lies ahead. Sharing a mutual activity also gives us plenty to talk about besides his belittling boss and my friend’s new baby.
4) Both members of this marriage are physically taking care of our bodies. Not only does this help to maintain attraction to one another, but it strengthens my confidence in my own physique. Being active allows me to feel more connected to my body and, I continually exceed my expectations, I have come to appreciate its strength, cellulite and all. Through jogging, I invest time and energy into my well-being, and this translates into self love. And this undoubtedly translates to our connection between the sheets. Research shows that people who consistently run saw positive results in their sex lives; physical stamina is increased and cardiovascular health improves, leading to increased sensitivity for women and longevity for men. Besides, there was nothing sexier than watching my husband complete the Mud Run and beholding him in all of his masculine, animalistic glory.
5) Jogging as a married couple is fun and romantic! As any runner can tell you, early morning runs are the time for some of your best thinking, as well uninterrupted picturesque scenery. Sharing these treasured times create deep intimacy for my husband and myself. One of my favorite memories? Us rising early and jogging alongside the empty white dunes of our Caribbean honeymoon, just as the warm sun began to peak over the rippling blue waters and the only sounds we heard were the birds, ocean and our heavy breathing. While it’s not quite the Cayman Islands, the park near our house has provided us with spectacular backdrops and spiritual surroundings that we can jointly embrace and enjoy together.
In keeping with the theme, Megan answers the Identity 5:
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
I have always been very close to my brother; as children, we would wrestle, go on imaginary adventures together . . . and as teenagers I watched him slip deeper and deeper into the grips of addiction. It has been an arduous journey, but today I accept that I cannot control his actions and am not responsible for the consequences. Though I still love him very much, I no longer carry around another’s burden.
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
I appreciate my husband, my marriage and my family who make me feel safe to truly be my goofy self. I appreciate my sense of curiosity and the internal itch to continuously explore and try new things.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
In 2010, my husband and I hiked through the Grand Canyon with the grand finale of bungee jumping off of the Navajo Bridge. I was absolutely terrified and almost had a panic attack an hour before we were scheduled to arrive. But I did it anyways! Facing my fears makes me feel capable and proud.
What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
Besides not flossing as often as my dentist instructs? I can be extremely impatient and, at times, can let my road rage take over me. I try not to act on such impulses, but they do occasionally rear their ugly head.
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my husband. As I tackle the ups and downs of a tumultuous career, he is my biggest cheerleader and gives me confidence to reach above and beyond my self-doubt. He loves me on those days when I don’t quite love myself–that’s a supportive marriage.