How to have a healthy marriage when both people don't run
I asked nearly 20 friends, "What would be your relationship advice for the following statement: How to have a loving marriage (or serious relationship) when both people aren't runners." Based on my experience + all of the marriage tips I gathered, here are the top 4 most important insights: You're not just a runner (hashtagbalance ;) ) I'm putting this first because if you find yourself becoming upset or obsessive about your running, getting into fights with your spouse because of your [over]commitment to running, etc, then I suggest taking a step back before pointing a finger at your unsupportive partner. It is always a good idea to ask yourself, "Is too much of my identity found in my running/how fast I run/how far I run/etc?" I know this is a fine line. As runners we can get a little intense, and to be successful at anything, you must have dedication, but this should not come before your spouse or family. When I find myself getting out of balance, my husband will ask me this question in a loving way:
"Katie, if you had to give up running for the rest of your life starting tomorrow, could you do it?" If that answer is no, then I need to do some self-evaluating. We shouldn't be so attached to something that we couldn't live without it. My running does not define my self-worth.
Communicate your goals While the point above is primarily for the runner of the relationship, this one is for both partners. What are your passions? Your goals? What keeps you up at night? For my husband, he loves making furniture, going fly fishing, and he has a goal to have a career in the medical field. Make sure you and your partner communicate what it is you want to do with this passion of yours. Jon and I sit down twice a year and talk about what we want to do with our passions, from things as small as "I need to wake up early to run," to "this is what I want to accomplish in 5 years with my running." There are no gray areas. He is totally in the loop with me, and I am aware of his goals, too.
Support each other's respective goals So you know each other's goals, now what? You become their biggest cheerleader! No, but really. This is where you can grow a strong marriage, or relationship problems can emerge. Your spouse has a big race coming up? Be there! I promise it means the world to them. One time Jon came straight from a 12 hour overnight hospital shift to watch me run a race. He was so sleep deprived, but he said he didn't want to miss it, and I so appreciated that. It can also be something small. He really wanted to attend a local fly-fishing class recently, and it was just half a day on a Saturday. Would I have preferred for us to hang out, go to brunch, and he be around to help with Emerson? Of course. But this was important to him, so I made sure to let him know, "Hey, I want you to be able to go to this class. I'll take care of Emerson, you go and have fun!"
Find common ground For Jon and I, we love camping and trying new restaurants! We also enjoy going on trips. He is understanding that I love to race while traveling, so I make sure to let him know I'm thinking of a race in a particular city (like our Los Angeles trip!), and then we will go travel, I'll get my race fix, and we both get to experience a new place! It can also be something as simple as having coffee together in the mornings. We both enjoy this, so I try to make a point to do this a few times a week. It means I need to run at night rather than the morning, or I need to get up earlier and be back at the house before he starts getting ready for work. It's worth the sacrifice, though! It's the little things :)
Is there something I didn't mention that you find important? What have you found to be the key to a solid relationship?