If you've been
wondering how to improve
a marriage, I suggest you read the article below.
Endurance and Your Marriage
set her sights on
an Olympic gold medal, she gave up a promising senior management
position in the food industry to train full-time. As she trained to
qualify for the 2000 Olympics, a fan questioned the Canadian mountain
biker's sacrifice. "Why do so many Olympic athletes sacrifice their
careers, education, and future livelihoods for a chance at the gold?"
he asked. "I just can't imagine giving up all that!"
It's a good
isn't it? Why do
athletes sacrifice, endure pain, push their bodies beyond their limits,
and pass up other opportunities? The answer: they want to! And why do
they want to? BECAUSE IT'S WORTH IT.
isn't just about
adding elements that improve your health, like exercise and more fruits
and vegetables. It's also about SUBTRACTING elements that are NOT
compatible with your goal. Could you really call yourself "healthy" if
you exercised faithfully but continued to smoke or eat at fast food
fitness. If you want to be successful, you have to STOP certain
activities that are unhealthy for your relationship.
marriage is like
training for a gold medal; it takes 2 kinds of commitment. It takes
commitment to do some things AND a commitment to AVOID doing other
you might ask.
There’s much to this, but for now your task is to pick one
thing OF YOUR CHOICE. What one thing, if you refrained from doing it,
would improve your marriage? What one thing are YOU doing
that’s unhealthy for your relationship? Pick one thing and
begin refraining from it today.
Not sure what
pick? Ask yourself
the following questions.
Is your spouse
troubled by an
emotional connection you have with someone else? Is your spouse
uncomfortable with physical contact you have with your opposite-sex
friends? Does your spouse feel that you give more attention to the TV
than you do them?
interfering with the potential intimacy you could have with your
spouse? (physically or emotionally)
Is your spouse
uncomfortable with the
intensity of your relationship with your mother, father, brother,
sister, or aunt? Do you spend too much time and energy on work, a
hobby, or with a particular person?
If you answered
to the questions
in the above paragraphs, think deeper. Are you sure the answers are
"no"? Do yourself a favor; ASK YOUR SPOUSE those same questions! I bet
you'll be surprised by the answers. If you couldn't think of anything
to refrain from doing that would improve your marriage, I bet your
spouse can suggest something. Ask your spouse!
What's Stopping You?
In the public
seminars I do with
couples, I ask people to raise their hand if they know of something
they could REFRAIN from doing that would improve their marriage.
Usually, very few hands go up. I then ask people to raise their hand if
they know of something THEIR SPOUSE does that if they refrained from
doing would make a big difference in their marriage. Usually, almost
every hand goes up.
If you and your
spouse were in private
sessions with me, what would I discover that YOU are doing that's
inhibiting the success of your marriage?
came to me for
private sessions because she was uncomfortable with the relationship
that her husband, Andy (name changed), had with one of his work
colleagues. She was convinced that it wasn't sexual, but the way they
giggled together and sometimes touched felt invasive to her.
I asked Tami if
this with Andy. She said, "No, because I know what he'll say."
"What will he
"He'll say that
crazy and that
there's nothing going on between them," Tami responded. "But what IS
going on between them is SOMETHING even though it's not sexual."
I asked Tami to
with him anyway. And Tami was right. It went EXACTLY as she predicted.
So I asked to
Andy. He agreed.
with Andy about his
relationship with this woman. Tami was right. It was not sexual. They
were just friends.
I asked Andy
about his relationship with his work colleague. Predictably, he said,
"We have fun. When we're together, we laugh."
"Do you like to
laugh?" I asked.
"Yes, I need
Things at home and work are so serious." Andy replied.
"Do you ever
Tami," I asked.
"No, we're not
"But it sounds
you need that in
your life," I said.
"I do. But I
get it at home,"
it at home
because you don't need it by the time you get home. Your friend at work
is fulfilling you in this regard. And your wife feels violated. You're
unfaithful!" I explained.
"How would you
to connect and
giggle with Tami like you connect and giggle with your X?" I asked.
"I would love
Andy said. "But it
doesn't happen with Tami."
with Tami because
you don't need it to happen with her. Create the need and YOU will make
it happen," I suggested.
In this case, I
convinced Andy to tone
down his relationship at work and create the need for laughter in his
life to be fulfilled MOSTLY by his wife. It worked and this one
adjustment transformed their marriage.
By the way, I
from Andy that the
other woman’s marriage was also transformed. She also was
getting a need fulfilled from Andy that was robbing her and her husband
of an opportunity to connect.
of the following
might improve your marriage:
- a friendship
your spouse feels
is emotionally unfaithful
- TV watching
- computer game
- a hobby or
hugging, or kissing of friends
If you still
something you can refrain from doing that will improve a marriage,
go over the above list with your spouse.
This can be
challenging. As difficult
as it is to begin a new discipline, it's usually more difficult to
break old habits. REFRAINING asks you to break an old habit. Not an
easy matter. And that's why this topic gets a lot of attention in the
Marriage Fitness Tele-Boot Camp (see below for schedule of next
program) where I help you identify the actions harming your marriage
and I give you the support you need to refrain from them or at least
curtail them. And you’ll also learn how to get your spouse to
refrain from the things they’re doing that’s
hurting your marriage, whether they’re currently cooperative
Redden was able
REFRAIN when she
contemplated her future. The decision to give up her career was
difficult, she admitted, but said, "I imagined myself older and talking
to my grandchildren. Which would I regret more: giving up my job or
giving up a chance at a gold medal?"
What about you? Which would you regret
more: refraining from behaviors that interfere with your ability to
connect to your spouse or giving up the chance to have a lasting
After achieving her Olympic dream and taking
place in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Redden says she's never regretted
her decision, even with the sacrifice involved. Neither will you.