Both of them are in college, so that makes me a woman of a certain age. But I scored big when my son’s baseball teammate found out I did CrossFit. Some days when I walk into the box and see the WOD (workout of the day), I wonder why, but no matter how difficult it is, I’m always glad I showed up. I like the challenge, the way it takes me out of my comfort zone, and makes me grow as a person. It dawned on me the other day that this is exactly the same thing my marriage has done. It, too, can be challenging at times but I am always glad I show up.
7 Ways CrossFit and Marriage are Alike
- It’s different from anything else you’ve ever done. CrossFit is a mix of all different kinds of exercise—gymnastics, weightlifting, cardio, and body weight movements—all mixed into one. You never know from day to day what workout you’ll be doing. Marriage is a combination of every relationship you’ve ever been in—part romance, part roommate, part friendship, part business partner—sometimes all at once. Learning to pace yourself and focus on what you need to in the moment is the way to make it through. The good feeling you get when you make it through is a boost to your confidence and future success.
- Adopting the mindset makes it easier. A lot of people think CrossFit is a cult and it often gets a bad rap. Marriage frequently is viewed the same way. The truth about both is that giving up your own choices is not required. You always have the right to set up boundaries so it works for you. That said, it is much more fun and effective if you adopt the mindset and go all in.
- You aren’t in it alone. One of the best parts of CrossFit is the connection you make with others while you’re collectively pushing yourselves to new heights. You’re each growing individually but with the support and encouragement of others. Marriage also pushes you to grow past your comfort zone while building deep connections with each other through your shared experiences. Knowing that you’re in it together and that you’re going through the same things makes whatever you’re facing easier.
- The more you put in, the more you get out. Being consistent about going to CrossFit is the only way you are going to get stronger. Doing your best when you are there is the way to improve. The same is true of marriage. The more often you show up and the more willing you are to fully participate, the better your relationship will be.
- You’re reaching for your personal best. CrossFit is all about challenging you to try things you’ve never done and to improve a little bit more each time you do them. As you surpass each previous goal, you feel stronger and more confident about your abilities. Marriage presents similar personal challenges as you try to create a life with someone else. Each time you successfully navigate a difficult issue, you feel more capable of handling the next one.
- Even though the workout is the same, each person gets to do it their way. If you’re in the right CrossFit box, you are encouraged to do the workout in the way that works best for you. Not only is that not frowned upon, it is the best way to keep you coming back day after day. While there is structure to it, you get to individualize it so you can be successful. Marriage also needs to be done in a way that works for you. Just because somebody else does something in their marriage doesn’t mean you have to do it in yours. Like CrossFit, marriage isn’t a one-size fits all straightjacket. Flexibility and the willingness to try something new are the keys to success.
- Everyone has different strengths. In CrossFit, some people are great at weightlifting but hate burpees. Others, like me, are the reverse. But the ones who are good at a skill are seen as role models for the rest of us. Instead of making us feel less than, it gives us something to aspire to. The same is true for marriage. Maybe your partner is better at showing affection than you are. Maybe you are better at communicating your needs. That’s okay. You can learn from each other and make the relationship better together.
- Even though you’re not great at a skill, you do it anyway. No one starts CrossFit being good at everything, but most of us are willing to try. You may have to drop the weight to get the technique right for a Power Clean, use a band to do a Pull-Up, or do Push-Ups on your knees but you figure out a way to get it done. The more you do it, the better you get and the closer you come to the prescribed work-out. You may never get there but you keep trying. Marriage doesn’t require you to be great at everything from the beginning. What it does require is the willingness to learn and try. Progress may be incremental and it’s the commitment to the process that brings success.
- There is a coach to teach the skills and provide encouragement. It’s just as easy to get stuck in CrossFit as it is to get stuck in your marriage. But every CrossFit workout has a trained coach to teach you the proper technique, help you scale appropriately and provide positive feedback. You might think you know how to do something but the coach is there to refine your skills and assist you in moving through your plateaus. But when we get stuck in our marriages, most of us try to solve the problems on our own or turn to friends and family for guidance. Most of the time, this is no more successful than reading the instructions on the weight machine or asking the person at the next bench for advice. Getting help from a marriage coach will help keep you out of trouble and set you on the path to a healthy, successful relationship.
I realize that CrossFit, like marriage, isn’t for everyone. I like the structure, the connection, and the challenge that both provide. I also like that I can still show up as me. But they both inspire me to be my best me, whatever that happens to be on a given day. Each day is a new chance to grow and get stronger. The best part is that I have support and encouragement on life’s journey.
So whether you think your marriage is in pretty good shape and just want to challenge yourself to make it better or whether there are specific areas that need improvement, you can benefit from a MWOD (Marriage Workout of the Day). If you want to be happier and continuously set PRs (personal records) in your marriage, you don’t have to go it alone. I’d love to help you get started on the road to a healthier, long-lasting marriage. Your first session is on me.
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