Working Out Together vs. Couples Therapy

Many couples today enlist to start couples therapy, to strengthen their relationship and to fix premature or potential problems. But is there another – and cheaper – way to repair emotional damage and to develop stronger feelings for one another? According to Kelley Kitley,

“While it doesn’t necessarily replace couples therapy, psychologists agree that working out with your significant other acts as a great supplement. “Exercising together is a good place to start to rebuild a connection and have fun together, which is often times why I suggest it in my work with couples who are having conflict,” – Psychotherapist Kelley Kitley

Listen to the rest of the podcast:

Matt talks with Kelley Kitley, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice and has treated patients in Santa Monica and Chicago for the past fifteen years. She’s a columnist for Fitness Magazine and is launching a new autobiography on survival in December called, “My Self.” When you think of strengthening your relationship and your significant other’s perception of you, the last thing you think of is probably having them see you dirty and sweaty, but maybe that is just what it takes. Kelley Kitley teaches us how working out with our significant other might be as good as couples therapy.

Why Some Arguments Are “Normal” In Marriage

Disagreements in our relationships are very common, and yet there are some arguments it seems like almost all couples are having. Here are 4 fights that you and your spouse may have and some of the research behind why we might be so offended when they happen.

“I Just Want It All To be “Fair”

“I Was Only Mean Because You Were Mean First”

 “You Always Exaggerate What I’m Saying”

“If You Don’t Want My Opinion, Then Don’t Ask For It!”

Love’s Difficult Lessons From a Relationship Coach

Happiness Isn’t About “Who” or “If” You’re Married
• Happiness isn’t about whom you married, it’s about who you are, and who you’re becoming.
• All of the singles are fighting to get married and all of the married are fighting to be single.
• Happiness is more about the choices you make in responding to the difficulties in life, not in the fact that you have happiness or not.
• Amazingly some of the happiest people in the world are the poorest among us. Those that have the fewest possessions might be so much more able to not have to protect their things.
• It is a state of mind, not a state of marriage that brings us the most happiness.
• Sometimes in the darkest moments, you need to bring your own light or borrow light from above.

You Are Always Your Biggest Problem
• Humans tend to fixate their power and their problems outside of themselves. We act like all of the problems are our spouses and all of the fixes need to start with them as well.
• When I say you are your biggest problem I mean, there are always 5 things that every person needs to learn to own in their own lives.
• Your way of seeing the marriage.
• Your way of thinking about your partner.
• Your feelings in the relationships.
• Your actions and behaviors.
• What you have become in the marriage and what you are becoming.
• Instead of trying to get my spouse to change something or talk to me more, I should instead work on everything I can change.
• Review
• Your Needs- Are my needs realistic for who my partner actually is?
• Are my expectations realistic?
• If these things aren’t ever changed, what will happen to me at this rate?
• As soon as you put yourself in a place where your partner’s behaviors are not able to upset your own state of peace, then you will begin to see clearly what is the next step in your relationship.

There Are No Universal Expectations
• Every relationship is different, every day.
• “You never step into the same river twice”. Even if you think your marriage is the same today as it was yesterday, it’s not, unless you make it feel that way.
• If your spouse had been working a full time job as a roofer for 10 years or as a stay at home mom. Then he either fell off the roof and broke his back, or she started suffering unbearable chronic depression, your life is going to change. An so too must your expectations.
• They might not be able to work again.
• They may be in chronic, physical or emotional pain.
• They may be meaner than they used to as they deal with their darkest pain.
• Incomes may change, chore lists may grow and you are left in a weird position.
• Should you maintain your expectations, or change them?
• If you lower them and expect less, aren’t you setting them up to take advantage of you?
• When we manage our expectations realistically (based on what is really happening), and not ideally (what should be happening), it puts us in an entirely different situation.
• If people have never been able to do something consistently in their entire life, don’t keep expecting that they’ll do it. Get real in your expectations.
• The fastest way to change a feeling is to manage the expectations.

You Can Struggle Daily and Make It Work
• It’s called learning and growing.
• Usually our struggling is directly related to the amount of learning and personal change we are undertaking.
• Based on the other steps I’ve talked about today, you can struggle and even at times be lonely and still choose to stay together.
• Remember that misery is optional and up to you.
• Many couples dealing with a difficult marriage partner, who seems to be broken and unwilling to change, can still find a lot of benefit staying together.
• Marriage is really the best training ground of how to become a selfless, positive, happy and hopeful person.
• Sometimes you need to learn what you need to learn before it feels right to move on.

When You Change…Who You ARE Also Changes
• One of the biggest learning’s I’ve had working with struggling couples is that when you actually change, and become the best person you can become, your needs change.
• When we have changed and we are in integrity with our highest values and principles, we are no longer bothered by what used to drive us crazy.
• We begin to see between the lines in our marriage. We’re not overwhelmed as much anymore by the “little things” because we now have the “bigger picture”.
• We may be more adept and flexible and able to avoid the sharp edges of our partner. We may also have learned so much more about ourselves that we no longer are operating out of fear.

Creating “Oneness” In Your Marriage

The goal of most people when marrying is to hopefully create a relationship that is unified and cooperative in such a way that we are almost welded or combined into one entity. For many this is why religion is such an important undertaking, as they long to be one with a loving higher power. The symbol for Marriage has always been the idea of becoming one.   “One” with your spouse, or together with your spouse we were to become “One” with God. A thought that for anyone married more than a few months has realized, it’s much easier as a metaphor than in real life. So how do we create a more unified marriage? How do we learn to take two very different people and turn them into “One” in purpose and power and potential? Here are four steps that could help us all on the journey to “One.”

 Recognize Which “One” You’re After

Own All of Your Thoughts, Feelings and Actions

Normalize Mistake Making and Forgiveness

Find The “One” Today

Fixing Your Toughest Relationship Problems

Relationships are hard but they don’t have to be as hard as most of us make them. In marriage there really are two kinds of problems: those we can’t fix (like the histories we brought to the relationship, our gene pool or chronic health conditions we suffer with), and those we can fix (like everything else). So whether it’s finding a way of making time to spend together, or learning to talk through our toughest challenges, our toughest relationship issues all have solutions whether we can see them or not. Here are 5 rules that will increase your odds of building love instead of walls.

 Motivate With Honey, Not Vinegar

Lose the “My Way Or The Highway” Mentality

 Dig Through The Pile of What Used To Work

Open Your Eyes For What’s Working

Imagine What It Would Look Like If The Problem Were Solved

Dealing with Rejection within Marriage

How do you heal when rejection happens within marriage?

Studio 5 Contributor Dr. Matt Townsend shares how to reverse the emotion.

Dr. Matt Townsend's Web Site