One of the most important things that you can do to keep your relationship on track is taking a walk with your partner. It’s a simple activity that is amazingly therapeutic.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Hey, I don’t like walking or a I can’t.” Then I’d say to you, “Walk any way you can. Maybe that means you go out for a stroll in your wheelchair with your partner pushing you.”
My husband and I have taken thousands of walks together, some more vigorous and others more lackadaisical. Every one, without fail, has helped us move our relationship forward a notch. The walk doesn’t have to be long. Around the block can do the trick. You just have to cultivate the habit of stepping outside and moving one foot in front of the other.
It doesn’t cost any money. Everybody is capable of doing it, one way or another. It gets you outside in nature away from the sedentary lifestyle that most of us live these days. You and your partner don’t have to hold hands or even talk that much. My husband always walks a little ahead of me, and it doesn’t matter so long as we don’t have to shout at each other to be heard! It gives us time to be together, to talk or not talk.
My husband and I take walks when we’re arguing. We took multiple walks a day when we were on the verge of divorce. It helped us work through our issues and get some exercise at the same time. It also got us out of the house, away from our hiding places.
Sometimes our walks take us all over the place emotionally. Last week when we started out on a walk, we were feeling fine about our upcoming vacation plans that we were discussing. By the time we got on the trail five minutes from our house, we were in a full-blown argument. I felt so upset that I was ready to turn around and stomp back home on my own. My husband concurred that it was a fine idea to do so! I resisted the temptation to retreat and just kept moving forward with my feet, one step at a time.
We kept going back and forth with our differing opinions about our vacation, and somehow everything ironed out by the time we got back home. We moved through the stuckness of our disagreement by literally moving forward in space. We passed kids and moms along the path. We encountered dogs. We saw some beautiful trees and flowers. The colors, the smells, the smiling children all helped us calm down, even though they didn’t have any inkling about what was going on with us and we weren’t consciously asking for their support.
Outside everything around us healed our anxious state, helping us get to a different perspective. If we’d stayed home and had had a blow-out like this, we wouldn’t have been able to move through it so quickly. The act of walking helped us get to the other side and changed our relationship, moving it to a new place.
The great outdoors is waiting for you and your partner to come outside and walk together, whether you live in the country or the city. In Spain, it’s a tradition for everyone to take a paseo every night. What a great idea before you get caught up in TV or surfing on our computer! Even if you end up feeling upset, frustrated, or embarrassed in public, keep walking together. Let the air and the sunshine or the sunset heal whatever is bothering you.