During a conversation with a pastor last week, a thought came upon my heart.
Marriage is a lot like bodybuilding.
It might seem odd that I would compare marriage to bodybuilding especially considering that I haven’t exercised on purpose, in years. The last time I went to the gym my 11 year old, was a newborn, and the last time I went for a brisk walk, I was hoping to go into labor with my middle child (she’ll be 6 next month.) I followed every one of those miles around the track that summer, with a few unproductive contractions, and a “love it” sized ice cream from Coldstone. Some might see that as counter productive, but whatever. There was peanut butter in the ice cream, and there’s protein in peanut butter. We all know that protein is good for you, so I see that as a win.
If I’m being honest though, exercise really isn’t my thing. It’s difficult, it’s exhausting, it takes work, it leaves you sweaty, the results take forever. Being unfit and even lazy is easy, but exercise is hard work and I’m just not willing to put in the effort, but even if I’m not really into fitness I still know enough to make the comparison.
If you were to compare life and exercise, marriage is a lot like bodybuilding.
Bodybuilders are often considered some of the most elite athletes in the world. They take exercise to a whole new level. They don’t just exercise for an hour or two here and there, whenever they get around to it. They are purposeful and intentional with their time. They exercise and train like it is their full time job (sometimes it IS their full time job.) Often times they have a team of individuals and coaches guiding them, and pushing them to their limits in order to reach their ultimate goals. Bodybuilders are careful what they feed their bodies, they know that what they eat must fuel their bodies with the best foods available, in order to keep them going through the strenuous regimens they have prepared. They have routines and plans in place based on the results they are hoping for, and even when they are exhausted, they press on. They know if they give up when they are tired they may lose any progress, and their strength, stamina, and appearance will reflect that. They can’t skip leg day, even if they hate leg day, because leg day is important to their overall appearance. Many times bodybuilders gain their strength from picking up heavy things, but the ones who are careful about how they train, are the ones who lift heavy things with the help of a spotter. If things get too heavy the spotter is there to help prevent them from being crushed under the weight. When athletes are injured, sometimes they have to modify their routines, but the ones who are the best at what they do, don’t give up even when it’s hard. The most successful bodybuilders keep working on their body, even when they are tired, and they don’t stop exercising when they have reached their goals. They know they have to keep putting in the hours in the gym, they have to keep eating the right foods, they have to keep training with the right people, in order to maintain their physique.
Marriage is a lot like bodybuilding.
You can’t just work at your marriage here and there whenever you get around to it, and expect it to be a quality and enjoyable experience. In order to have a happy, and healthy marriage you have to invest your time and energy into your interactions with your spouse, like a bodybuilder trains in a gym. You have to treat your marriage like a priority. You need to see it like it’s your full time job, but the benefits are SO much better! The most successful marriages are often the ones that have teams of other people; mentors and friends, who are cheering you on, and also helping to coach you in the areas where you weak and need strength and additional focus. Those people will help push you through the really difficult things, when you feel like you just can’t keep trying, or fighting the same fights. Maybe these mentors and friends have already experienced some of the things your marriage is going through and they know how to successfully overcome your challenges. They help you to stay focused on your marital goals. You have to feed your marriage the right things, in order to help it endure the really strenuous things this life throws your way. (The fruits of the spirit are a great fuel to keep your marriage thriving.) When you start to get lazy in your marriage, when you stop trying to put in the efforts like you used to, or when you just get too tired to keep fighting the same fights day after day, your marriage will reflect that. You can’t skip the leg days of marriage, and still have everything look ok in the end. You have to be purposeful and intentional every moment of every day, in order for your marriage to thrive. You need your spouse to be your spotter as you go though times of carrying heavy things in life. Maybe your job is leaving you with heavy burdens, or maybe it’s your health or finances. Maybe it’s broken friendships, or some other significant trial. When you try to carry more than you should, all alone, you may end up hurt. Let your spouse be your spotter. Let them help you carry those heavy burdens, right on over to the feet of Jesus. Your spouse will need you to be their spotter sometimes too.
Marriage is hard work, but it’s a lot like bodybuilding. The end result can be incredibly amazing, but you have to keep working at it, and you have to be intentional about it. I may not enjoy working out in a gym, but if I want to be healthy and have my body reflect that, I need to get better about my efforts. My marriage is the same way. Good marriages don’t happen by accident, they are a result of lots and lots of hard work.
Some days marriage is difficult, it’s exhausting, it takes work, maybe it even leaves you sweaty. Many times the results feel like they take forever. Being martially unfit and even lazy is easy, but exercising in your marriage is hard work and it’s so important that you are willing to put in the effort.
Marriage is a lot like bodybuilding. You have to keep working at it to keep it good, even when you’re tired. Truthfully I have no desire to ever physically look like a bodybuilder, I don’t even care to run a mile any time soon, but I do want to have a marriage that is strong and committed, like a bodybuilder is strong and committed to fitness. I want to have a marriage that reflects purposeful and intentional efforts, that has been fueled by being fed the right things, and I want to show my daughters what a healthy marriage looks like, just the same as if I were strengthening my physical body. Having a healthy relationship with their daddy is more important than anything I could ever do to be physically fit. I want to have a bodybuilder type marriage, today and always.
Do you desire different results in your marriage, but struggle with the efforts needed to get to that point? Are you carrying heavy things without your spouse as your spotter? Do you invest your time into your spouse and your marriage, only on occasion, or are you purposeful and intentional about working towards having a happy and thriving relationship? Are you at a good place in your marriage these days? Keep working at it, you will be so glad you kept putting in the effort.
In His Love,
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