By Linda G. Ritchie, Ph.D.
“The consistency of the efforts you put into an intimate relationship create the level of relationship ‘fitness’.”
If you wanted to be more physically fit, there might be several steps that you would take in order to achieve that goal. First, you would need to assess your current level of fitness and make a determination as to what level of physical fitness you would like to be. You would probably take a look at your diet and take inventory of what you were eating and drinking. Then you would probably evaluate whether you needed to make any changes in your diet in order to support your goal of getting into better physical shape. After all, getting the proper nutrition is an important element in one’s overall health.
You would probably also evaluate your activity level and look at how much exercise or movement you were getting on a daily or weekly basis. If you decided you were spending too much time on the couch in front of the TV, you might decide to make some changes such as joining a gym and/or enrolling in some type of exercise program.
Making changes to your diet and to your activity level would both support your goal of increasing your fitness level. However, in order to get results, you would have to follow through with the changes and make them a consistent part of your life. You would not expect to eat a healthy diet for one day, go to an exercise class, and suddenly become the essence of physical fitness for the rest of your life. You would have to be consistent in your efforts over a period of time in order to get the lasting results.
The same concept is true in an intimate relationship. Just as people who are healthy and physically fit consistently put energy and effort into staying that way. People with healthy and fit relationships consistently put effort into the relationship so that it stays that way. The consistency of the efforts you put into an intimate relationship create the level of relationship “fitness”.
If you want to assess the fitness level of your relationship, you might start with examining how frequently and consistently you do the following:
1. Talk to each other; without distractions such as TV, computers, cell phones, children, house hold chores, etc.
2. Verbally express appreciation for something your partner has done.
3. Hug, kiss and cuddle with each other.
4. Joke, laugh and have fun together.
5. Discuss your hopes, dreams and goals for the future.
6. Share your personal fears and worries.
7. Go on a date.
8. Have sex.
9. Willingly and happily do something your partner wants to do simply because he or she wants to.
10. Say I love you with meaning and sincerity.
Just like hiring a personal trainer to help you develop a plan to achieve your physical fitness goals, hiring a professional relationship therapists may help you develop a plan to achieve your relationship fitness goals.