Every Saturday morning I go to a workout class at Pure Barre. The whole technique of the exercise is using small movements and changes for maximum impact.
At Pure Barre, I’ll practice squats on tiptoe instead of the flats of my feet, or squats with one foot on a platform and the other on the ground while lifting small weights. Sometimes I’ll do sit-ups with my feet in the air instead of planted on the floor. Just familiar exercises with little changes to increase their difficulty.
It’s amazing how these small changes impact the overall challenge.
The same is true in marriages and relationships. How often have you gone about your day only to suddenly find something wrong between you and your spouse? As much as we’d all love it, husbands and wives cannot read each other’s minds. We never know how much the little things we say and do can affect our partner.
The good news is, the same is true for repairing damage with our spouse.
When I’m in class at Pure Barre, I often feel like my legs are about to break and I can’t keep going. I don’t always know how I’ll make it through the hour-long class. But right when I’m ready to give up, there’s a small break. The instructor slows things down and has us stretch our muscles. When the workout resumes, we move on to another target area of the body, giving the sore muscles a rest even while we continue exercising.
It’s all about using small repairs and changes to relieve the strain.
What’s true for the body is generally also true for the mind and heart. If you ask any counselor for advice on how to maintain intimacy through a conflict, I can almost guarantee you they would recommend starting small.
In a workout, a slight strain (like doing squats from your toes) can increase the burning pressure in your muscles. In a relationship, the same strain (like arguing when you’re hungry or tired, or fighting before you’ve even kissed that day) can make any problem feel like a huge one.
But, just how stretching and changing the exercise set can keep your body going strong, so can a short break, a hug, a kiss, a laugh, or a smile help you and your spouse work through your differences.
No form of exercise is perfect for everyone, and neither is any form of handling conflict. Marriage still is a beautiful, messy struggle where you and your spouse discover how to take care of each other in good times and in bad. But remember to take the time to “stretch” too. Maybe you’ll take a walk, or go out to dinner, or cuddle on the couch and watch YouTube. Interrupt your arguments with something small, but positive and healthy. Find your small repairs, and keep your relationship strong!