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How exercise saves my marriage
Exercise saves my marriage by releasing the tensions and helping me have clarity of thought. It can help your too. - photo by Jennifer Autry
There is a YouTube video that accurately depicts the 8 stages of running a marathon. I was exercising recently I kept picturing myself going through stages. However, instead of stages of endurance for running, I was going through stages of emotions regarding my wonderful husband.

Earlier, my husband had been blunt and honest with me when I asked him a question. His response was hurtful and mean. He left for work, and I was spitting out obscenities in his honor.

For me, I have to exercise to get the crazy out of my head. Exercise can help me calm down when I am angry or bring me up when I am down. It is one way that helps me achieve emotional balance.

Recently, I was in desperate need of releasing the inner anger demons, and I went to the track with my daughter to do some laps and strength exercises.

Here is a glimpse at my emotional stages:

Anger High As I go around the track the first couple of laps I am working out the soreness from yesterdays workout but excited to be doing something physical. My anger is at a high, and it provides me with the energy I need to push myself hard. My thoughts drift away from the music my phone provides to my husband. "He is such a jerk, I cant believe he said that. Honesty is not always the best policy. Doesnt he know that by now."

Distracted I start to get distracted from thinking about my husband as my body starts to realize that I am pushing it through lunges, squats, running, push ups, etc. "Hey, wait, this exercise is hard. I dont know if I will be able to finish. This actually kind of sucks, why am I doing this?

Self-Importance The sweat is pouring, and there is not enough of a breeze for me to cool off. Yet I am pushing myself to the limits and I begin to feel like a true winner. "Look at how awesome I am. I am fighting this workout and kicking its booty. My husband should know how lucky he is to have me for a wife. Look at me go."

Bigger Picture My brain is dulling, and I am starting to struggle to continue this intense workout. As I begin to run again after some ab moves, I think about my husband in a new light. "Why has he been cranky lately? Have I spent much time with him? Is he going through a stressful time? Is he feeling insecure?"

Regret "This workout sucks, my legs hurt, my arms hurt, and I am tired. Why am I not done yet? Ugh." Yet I continue with the wall sits and raise my arms as my legs begin to shake. "Why havent I thought about what my husband is going through? He doesnt always talk about it, but he struggles with change just like everybody else. I should have been nicer to him lately."

Light bulb It is always on the mind-numbing lap runs that clarity of all my thoughts comes together. "Oh, yeah, he is struggling with all the changes. I havent spent much time with him. Even though it goes against my initial instinct, I need to give him more love and kindness to improve the situation. That would help more than calling him a butthead or a jerk and screaming at him."

Acceptance As I am getting near the end of my workout and push myself through to the end, I know that I can finish, and the endorphins are kicking in. I am starting to feel the anger slide out of me and acceptance of the situation replacing it. "It is OK that I got mad. He said something that hurt my feelings. However, I can let him know without escalating the situation. I can tell him how it made me feel and instead of my original plan of making him pay, I will do things for him that show him I love him."

Action The workout ends and the rest of my day begins. My husband calls and I force myself into following through with my running high idea. I dont yell. We will work on the rest later.

Whatever your fight is and however angry you feel, I promise that as you work out and use that time to calm yourself down you will find a solution. Exercise can clear out the clutter of the brain, and when you really truly try to understand your spouse and others it will illuminate your mind.

Additionally, there are so many amazing books out there that teach you how to understand your spouse. I highly recommend reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary D. Chapman or "The People Code: It's All About Your Innate Motive" by Taylor Hartman, Ph.D. Even better, listen to them while you exercise. That way you will be getting those endorphins and the knowledge of how to better understand your spouse and others.
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