When you get married or start a long term committed relationship, you don’t always know what you’re going to get. What I mean by that is – as we get older, sometimes we change. Our interests diversify, we might become more or less spiritual/religious, our political beliefs might shift. Some of us might even adopt or reject certain morals and values. The sad truth is, we may not grow in the same way as our significant other, and that can cause problems. Distance. Separation.
When Ken and I met, I was fairly athletic – I wasn’t a runner, but I had become a cyclist in college and enjoyed long distance riding. Ken, for a lack of a better word, was a couch potato. He did drink a lot of orange Gatorade, but this wasn’t because he needed electrolyte replacement, he just liked the taste.
I fell in love with him the night I met him in the back seat of a car where we drank bottles of Budweiser and threw them out the window (yes, the truth – you always knew I was a wild girl). It never really occurred to me to care if he liked to work out. I knew he was adventurous, outdoorsy, smart, funny and cute. That was enough.
However, when he did buy a bike and started riding with me, I loved it.
1996 - I like a crooked helmet
Then when we moved to Colorado from Virginia and took marriage vows. We acquired jobs, a mortgage and babies (in that order). And, we still liked being active together.
But, it wasn’t until 13 years into our marriage that our activity level bumped up a few notches. We started training for and running races together. Suddenly I realized that this was as much bonding time as a date night out with a bottle of wine (if not more so). I am convinced that one of the reasons we’ve remained so strong in our marriage for the past 18 years is that we share the love MOVING and SWEATING.
And, the love of farting, but that is another story.
Perhaps the place where our love of training and racing served us best was when Ken got laid off in 2011. He was unemployed for a year, and that’s when we decided to train for our first Half Ironman. As you know, the stress of unemployment and finances can wreak havoc on a relationship. Training kept us aligned, sane and connected. In fact, Good Housekeeping interviewed us for a story about marriage and job loss that I think will be in the April or May issue. So stay tuned.
Boulder 70.3 2011
I’m not sure there is one key or secret as to how to have longevity in a relationship. But, I do think having activities and interests you share (outside of the kids) gives you something to talk about, something to bitch about, something to (hopefully) laugh about (Ken has seen me squat in the bushes too many times to count), and gives you a way to spend time together. Plus, it helps you to speak the same language. If I tell Ken I didn’t PR but I sure as hell didn’t DNF, he knows what I mean.
Do you train or race with your significant other? How does it affect your relationship?