This guest post from Eric at Better Husbands and Fathers is one of my favorites, and I can totally relate to his message. I hope it resonates with you as well.  Don’ t forget to leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Swimming. Biking. Running.  About a month ago I competed in a triathlon.

Today, as I ponder this experience, I realize that my preparation and participation in the triathlon is analogous in many ways to achieving lasting happiness in marriage.

Let me explain.

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I registered for my triathlon about 2 months prior to race day and knew I had some work to do to get ready for the big day. Those who have participated in such a race know that training for this 3-sport event takes hard-work, planning, and dedication (not to mention a patient and understanding wife!).

As the race approached I trained 5 days per week.  I purchased some additional equipment and supplies so I could perform my best on race day.  I learned the routes and trained on them.  I read all the material in the information packet provided.  I was ready.

Due to my preparation, I had a great race.  I still finished in the middle of the pack, but I had a successful race, I felt good physically, and it was a lot of fun!

Since race day, I have stopped training; I have only exercised twice, put on a few pounds, and am in much worse shape than I was on race-day.  I let other demands in life take priority over my physical health and well-being.

Did you stop trying after the honeymoon?

Before you married your wife, you made sure to do your best to impress her, to woo her.  Much like my dedication to getting in shape for the triathlon, undoubtedly, you were dedicated to building this relationship. If you were like me, you wrote love letters, went on dates multiple times per week, and were 100% committed to each other.

Then comes the big day.  You were so in love and had been preparing for this day for a long time. You had a beautiful wedding and your cheeks even hurt from smiling so much!

You went on your honeymoon and your love had never been stronger.  However, when you returned to reality, did you stop trying in your relationship?

Did you stop putting in the effort to “exercise” and nourish your relationship? Did you let other demands on your time take priority over your spouse?  Whether it takes 6 months or 6 years, this happens to most marriages.

Here’s how you can avoid (and combat) this tendency:

  • Perspective: While it’s important to have short-term goals, we also need to keep a long-term perspective. In addition to my short-term triathlon goal, I should have established a long-term goal to live a healthy active lifestyle.  Similarly, we should have a long-term perspective on marriage. When you marry someone you are making a very long-term commitment. Having this perspective helps you keep your spouse your #2 priority (behind God).
  • Exercise: As I prepared for my triathlon, I was careful about how, when, and where I exercised. For marriage, your exercise is dating your spouse.  Make it a priority to spend time with your spouse weekly. Enjoy each other’s company, have meaningful conversation, and continuously get to know each other.  As you flex your marriage muscle by dating your spouse, it will only strengthen the bond between you.
  • Personal Trainer: A personal trainer provides extra help and motivation.  They will work with you to establish goals, and walk you down the path to a healthy and active lifestyle.  In marriage, you often need similar help.  Professional counselors are personal trainers for your marriage. At any stage of your marriage, counselors can help you establish healthy habits in your marriage.  It can be very beneficial to have a third party perspective to help you make needed changes in your relationship.

Whether you’ve grown apart or not, having a long-term perspective, dating your spouse, and potentially seeking professional counseling can help you achieve and/or maintain a happy and healthy marriage.

What other ideas do you have to share for keeping your marriage fit and healthy?

(photo source)


Eric has been married for 4.5 years and is a father to a 2.5 yr old boy (and has another boy on the way!).  He lives in the Seattle area and runs the Better Husbands and Fathers blog, which is designed to create dialogue among men who want to be “better.” You can also follow him on twitter @BetterHusbands .


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. Please visit my blog…there is something there for you!

  2. Don’t forget that the longer you neglect exercise (your marraige) the harder it is to get back in shape and the greater the chance of injury. I think it is safe to say that your marriage runs the same risks.

  3. Dustin, I can see why this blogger is one of your favorites. Very nice article and great connection to what it takes to build a lasting marriage. I’ve never participated in a triathlon to know, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s tough to stay committed when life is still coming at you from all directions. In that way, life doesn’t stop when you get married either, it only gets tougher, so you have to dig a little deeper to make it successful.

    Great article!

    1. Totally right, Brad. I kind of view young marriage as a jog and when you add in kids and other responsibilities, it turns into an Ironman Triathlon!

  4. Just like when training or running and your body tells you when enough is enough before shutting down, listen to the same strains coming from your spousal relationship, snippy comments, bad-negative attitudes, selfish activities, irresponsible behavior, controlling behavior. Anything that strains the relationship without proper attention to heal it will shut it down. Nice reminder post, gotta go hug and kiss my wife now! 🙂

  5. Hi Dustin. I love your analogies used in this post comparing the work put into triathlon training versus the work put into a relationship. Although I am no longer married, I now realize all the mistakes I had made in my marriage. Putting myself above the needs of my spouse, putting more time and energy into things I enjoyed doing versus investing time into my wife and our relationship. I think what you have going here is pretty powerful and hopefully through your efforts you can encourage people to invest in their marriages or pay the ultimate consequence of letting someone else walk in and start “investing” in them and their needs.

  6. Hi Dustin. Although slightly funny with the reference between triathlon and marriage. Have you heard about the stats of triathletes that get divorced? I think it’s about 73% or something rediculous. They are obviously the ones that need to put the work in on both sides, not just triathlon.

    1. Thanks, Debinz. That’s a really interesting (and sad) statistic, and I appreciate you sharing it. Triathlon is definitely one of those things that can become an obsession, and of course that’s never good for a marriage. Balance in all things!

  7. So true Brad! You’d make a good counselor too Brad. After reading a WSJ article on endurance athletics and divorce, I wrote a blog that I will soon publish which has similar qualities to your article: balance, inherent value inside, love, and serve others. You could check it out at – a place clients go to find out about enhanced intimacy. Your family is lucky to have you around.

  8. Pingback: How Wedding Planning and Triathlon Training Can Affect Marriage
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