There is no magic cure for rifts between husband and wife. But the closest thing is exercise. You’ll lose weight, get fit, become healthier, and find yourself more confident when it comes to your marital relationship. Taking part in physical activities together, will give you and your husband a reason to bond over something fun, and will get the competitive juices flowing. It is the type of self-esteem building and stress relief that will entirely change the way you feel about yourself and life and your spouse is sure to take notice.
Even looking at the example of our Prophet (SAW), he used to race with Aisha (RAA) and be competitive. This sort of playful attitude takes the edge off of any tension that might exist between the spouses. It also helps us get away from the disease of laziness. Laziness can result in all sorts of negative behaviours, such as missing Salaah, which is a major sin and it can also take a toll on the relationship. The Prophet (SAW) used to make du’a and seek refuge from Allah from laziness.
Some physical activities that you can enjoy with your wife include going for a jog (weather permitting), playing soccer in your backyard, or even working out in your home gym. Remember a healthy heart is a happy heart, and a happy heart guarantees a happy marriage.
Some added benefits of working out with your spouse (even though you both are probably at different stages of fitness) include (modified to fit the muslim family taken from sparkpeople.com):
Safety. With someone else watching your form and being there to spot you when you need it, you’ll exercise more safely than if you were alone. Besides, who cares more about your safety than your spouse?
Quality time. Couples spend most of their time apart due to careers and other responsibilities. Instead of hitting the gym alone, plan a workout time that fits both of your schedules in the comfort of your own home. You’ll reach your fitness goals, without sacrificing that one-on-one time that every partnership needs.
A common interest. Add exercise to your list of shared interests and hobbies. The possibility for new, unique activities is endless and keeps things exciting. You can never have too much in common.
Motivation and support. Getting encouragement and praise from your partner is one of the best motivators. It’ll help both of you remain consistent and take care of one another.
A deeper bond. Exercise produces chemicals in the brain that evoke feelings of happiness, reduce stress, and also increase arousal and libido. Several studies show that men and women who exercise regularly report better (and more frequent) sex with their partners.
Respect and pride. Taking care of your body and your health shows the person you care about that you want to be your best for them—and that you want to be around for years to come.
Balance. In many couples, one partner tends to favor cardio (typically women) while the other tends to favor strength training (typically men). By working out together you can balance your workout program to include more of both. Let your partner teach you about the areas of fitness you’re unsure of and be open to new fitness experiences.
Wondering how working out as a couple might work in the real world—especially when you’re both at different fitness levels? Here are some great ideas to get you started:
When walking or jogging outside, try intervals. If you are a slow jogger and your significant other is faster, intervals will be perfect for both of you. Work at one partner’s faster pace for a few minutes, and then recover at the other person’s slower pace. Intervals are also a great way to improve your fitness level and speed over time. Before you know it, you’ll both be able to work at the same pace together.
When strength training at your home gym, “work in” (switch places) with one another between sets. About 90 seconds of rest between sets is beneficial anyway. So while you rest, your partner can complete one set of the exercise. Switching the weights to your own level is quick and easy to do on most machines. Another time-saving option is to use dumbbells, so that you don’t have to constantly add and remove weight plates when switching between sets.
Stretch together. Assisted stretching has major benefits for your flexibility. Giving your partner a gentle tug or soft push in one direction can be helpful—just don’t overdo it.
Enjoy the great outdoors. Create a more active lifestyle together by picking up new hobbies.
Change it up. Try your partner’s exercise ideas just as you want them to try yours. If you have trouble agreeing, compromise. For example, do your walking routine on one day, and your partner’s upper body strength routine the next. Be open-minded, but keep your partner’s needs (fitness level, goals, comfort level) in mind too.
These tips should help you and your spouse create a happy, healthy Muslim household and add a zest to your life that’s not often found amongst many Muslim families.
Image source: http://www.theluxuryspot.com/suffering-workout-heres-enjoy-exercise/