Getting Fit When Your Partner is Getting Pissed

My husband and I are fitness coaches. Each morning, we work out together. It has not always been like this. I was not always supportive of James' efforts. Yet, he always silently moved forward. I asked James to co author a series of blogs with me about getting fit when your partner is getting pissed.

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K: When James and I first re-met after I graduated from college (we've known each other since the fourth grade!) I was at my heaviest. James had just lost 50 pounds through diet and running. You know that nursery rhyme, "Jack sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean. So, between them both they licked the platter clean."? That was us.

J: My last year of  college I had epiphany.... I was FAT and I could stay that way or change. I decided to make a change and ended up losing 55 pounds through diet and regular workouts. It became a compulsion, nothing too extreme, but  I was afraid that if I went too many days without working out I would blow up like a balloon and be right back where I started.

K: I looked up to James for his ability to put his health first and for the way he never criticized me or made me feel bad about my own weight.

J: I knew better than to try and force or coerce Kirsten into a healthy lifestyle. During college when I was getting fit, I learned a valuable lesson about people with respect to their health, diet and exercise. I learned you can only facilitate good habits, you can't force them. I work out and eat healthy for myself not anyone else. I am more than happy to help and you're welcome to join me, but I know I can't force you to change, that desire needs to come from within. 

K: There was some friction. After months of dating, we went on a cruise. When we got on board, in our suits, and sat by the pool, it took 15 minutes for James to say, "Okay, I am going to go work out now". I was pissed. What? This was our big romantic vacation. I thought we would be laying out by the pool and boozing. Grrrrrr. My anger had more to do with my own feelings. I just wanted to be fat and lazy on this trip and wanted him to be that way with me...so I  wouldn't feel guilty about my own weight. I immediately withdrew and got quiet. Yep, I got quiet. I am Pretty sure that getting really quiet is the universal girlfriend/wife language for "I am pissed. So pissed that I am going to sit here and stew until you ask me what is wrong and then angrily spew everything that annoys me about you to avoid the fact that my feelings have nothing to do with you, but everything to do with what I don't like about myself."

J: I knew she was pissed, but I went and worked out. My need to work out wasn't about her. I recognized her anger and frustration reflected her feelings about herself, not me. Nothing I did in that moment would help her resolve those feelings.

K: Yes, he went and worked out. HE WENT AND WORKED OUT. How dare he. He did not engage, point fingers, lecture me about health and fitness. He just did it.

At the end of the cruise, the magical moment came and he proposed. The friction disappeared, temporarily.

The friction that started on the boat that day, wouldn't end there. Yep. He did it again on our honeymoon.  After the birth of our son, quietly  moving forward would not keep working for James, me, or our marriage. That is when he did something really SMART that also enabled me to move forward.  Our second blog post may be found here.