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5 tips on how to make working out with your spouse actually work out
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My husband and I recently began exercising together. Many couples have found that working out together just doesn't work. I am here to say that it can work. Here are five tips on how to make working out with your spouse actually work out. - photo by Arianne Brown
After 14 years of marriage, my husband and I have finally reached a milestone that we thought would never come: Our oldest child is old enough to baby-sit at least for a couple of hours.

A newfound freedom has presented itself, and the two of us have enjoyed getting out together without having to find a baby sitter. And knowing that each hour spent away is not going to put a significant dent in the budget has made that time much more enjoyable.

Our favorite thing about this new aspect of life, though, is our ability to go for morning runs together. Being able to do this has many advantages. Not only is it time to spend together, but also we are no longer battling for time to exercise and are instead sharing that time.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine and was surprised by her response.

I hate exercising with my husband, she said. That is my time. She went on to say that the one time she went running with her husband, they ended up mad at each other because he wanted romance and she wanted to spend the time talking. With neither getting what they wanted, the run ended with a vow to never share that time again.

Her response saddened me. Sharing time exercising can and should be a wonderful experience. Here are five tips on how to make working out with your spouse actually work out.

1. Dont compete

You and your spouse are a team and should encourage one another, not compete. I know way too many couples who do this, and it usually ends with one or both of them giving up on exercise altogether or worse, causes a rift in their marriage.

2. Conversation is not always necessary

I used to worry that if we werent talking the whole time, then there was something wrong with us. But I soon came to realize that many of our best morning runs were when very little or nothing was said at all. Just being together, enjoying peace and quiet (something we dont often get), is sometimes just what we need.

3. Romance isnt always necessary

Just because you are alone doesnt mean that time needs to be spent making out. Sure, there may be times when you are overlooking a spectacular view that sparks feelings of appreciation for life and each other. But if you expect every run to be a love connection, your time working out together will not work out for long.

4. You dont always need to be going at the same pace

There will be days when you are not up to the same speed or ability as your spouse, and thats OK. My husband is much faster than I am, and expecting him to run my pace every day is just not fair. If he needs to run to the top of the hill and wait for me, I dont mind a bit.

There are days when we run the entire time together and days that we dont, but we always make sure to start and end together.

5. End with holding hands

At the end of each run, my husband and I make sure to stop and walk at least the last 100 meters from our destination so that we can hold hands. This helps us to have a tender connection before we open the front door to the welcoming array of noises from our house with six children.
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