Friend of the blog Aubin, who got me to thinking and writing about tea, had a great suggestion; write about diet, and exercise, and partners. Now, his suggestion was that I think about how we should get in shape before we get married, so we have the habits to stay fit and attractive for our spouses, and can even do it with them.
So that’s where I started. But then I got to thinking about the story of Mrs. Andrew and me.
We didn’t start out exercising together. When we got married I was heavy into kung fu and travelled a lot for work. Most of my exercise was done anywhere from an hour’s drive to three hours air travel away. She, on the other hand, had a local gym and the apartment complex’s pool, so, we stayed in shape, but we weren’t doing it together.
Thing is, life moves along and things change. Around the time kid 2 was a year old we were in a very bad place; stressed out and fighting constantly. Then, somewhat short of divorce court, fate intervened. My lovely bride decided it was time to work off the baby weight, and dialed her yoga practice up to four times a week.
This happened right at the end of winter hockey, taking me from three games a week to one, right as our yoga studio had it’s annual spring sale. So I switched her membership over from the class card she was using up way too fast to a full membership, and bought another for me.
And then a miracle occurred.
Did you check the link? Seriously, do so, it’s one of my all time favourite comic strips. Anyway, here’s the more explicit step two.
Years earlier we were studying in Beijing, and the Beijing atmosphere is (to put it mildly) not conducive to running outside. We joined a yoga/Pilates club, began going 6 times a week, and experienced one of the best (to that point) periods of our marriage.
Well, as the instructions on the shampoo bottle say, lather, rinse, repeat.
We were in year nine of our marriage, and in pretty bad shape (relationship-wise), but we started going to yoga together at least two days a week. Over the course of that summer, as we sweated out the stress we found ourselves able to talk again, and began to repair the damage we had done.
Why do I say this was a miracle? Because we were pretty much at the point of no return. We literally could not talk to each other without it devolving into a fight, but there in the Bikram yoga torture chamber, fighting through the heat, and humidity, and stress, and strain, and exhaustion, we were together. And, more important, we were in it together.
I don’t know, I can never know, how much of the repairs to our marriage I can attribute to destressing and detoxifying through hard exercise, and how much I can attribute to doing it together, fighting a common fight, against a common enemy. Fortunately, I also don’t care.
In the end, I ended up falling in love all over again, with the woman who had already made two beautiful little boys for me, and who would go on to make a third. With the woman who puts up with my odd personality, strange sense of humour, occasionally irritating habits and obscure pop culture references.
So, let’s circle back to Aubin’s original idea; be fit, and when you’re married, you can diet and exercise together to help stay together.
I think there really is something to it. We don’t work out together much anymore, work and life and busy little boys don’t allow for it. But we do both work out still, and we both still try to stay fit and attractive for each other.
But at the lowest point(s) in our marriage (twice) we went to the (hot) yoga studio together and learned to love each other again.