Putting the work in


My husband Carl and I have been together over 18 years— we’ve been married for 15. Holy cow! I can’t even believe sometimes that it’s been that long.


I remember the first day I saw him. I was sitting in exercise physiology at SIU talking to the girl in front of me before it started. I heard the best laugh ever! I looked over and saw this tall, built blond guy laughing with a friend.


His laugh made me smile. The rest is history. To this day if he’s laughing hard, I start laughing too. I just can’t help it.


At the end of 2005, he came to me and said he found an interesting job opportunity online. Professional baseball teams were looking for strength coaches to work with players in the minor leagues. Carl played baseball in college and loved the sport. He asked what I thought of him sending in a resume to these jobs. I said, “Go for it! I bet competition is fierce, but it doesn’t hurt to try.”


We didn’t know it at the time, but that was a life-changing moment! He got hired and within two months, left for his first spring training in Arizona, then on to Texas for his first season in baseball. I didn’t see him for 11 weeks.


I honestly couldn’t have gotten through that first season without my friends and family to support me. But Carl and I learned a lot in that first season—and we became a stronger couple because of it.


We’re not perfect, but I’d like to share some of the things we do to manage our busy lifestyles that keeps us strong. Plus, some tips from the experts.


Thank Goodness for Cell Phones


We agreed after that first season that not a day would go by without talking to each other. Even if we could only manage a couple minutes, it was important. Many couples see each other every day, but do they really talk to each other?


Besides the essentials of life, like kids and the house, are you asking about each other’s day?


I feel like Carl and I are better at this during baseball season because he’s gone so often. During the off-season, I see him pretty much every day. I know what’s happening, so I can see how easy it would be to not really talk to each other.


I also love texting! Lifehack.org recommends sending your partner little romantic texts to keep things fresh and fun. It can build anticipation until you see each other again. I love when Carl sends me a little text to say he misses me or loves me. It gives me the butterflies!


Date Night


Date nights are so important. It gives you time to focus on each other as a couple and have fun. Often, our dates are dinner and a movie because that’s what we enjoy. We also have yoga night together. What did you like doing together when you were dating? Did you give it up? Recapturing those moments is important and allows you some stress-free time together.


Express Yourself


I can’t remember why or when this rule started, but Carl and I never end a conversation, email or text without some sort of “I love you”.


I know he loves me, but it feels good to hear it few times a day. He knows I love him, but he likes hearing it too. I’m not comfortable with really mushy sentiments. I feel like it’s forced. But when he just holds my hand and says those three words, I feel like it’s real. However you want to verbalize to your partner is up to you. But say it!


Greet Each Other


We always greet each other with a kiss hello, but I have to say our dogs have us beat on the excitement part. Whether you were gone two minutes taking out the trash or have been gone a week, no living thing is more excited to see you than a dog. We honestly greet our girls first, then each other. So, this may be one to work on a little. However, I still won’t be jumping or wagging nearly as much.


Listen, Listen, Listen


I read a quote that said something to the effect that we listen to respond, instead of listening to understand. I thought that was pretty powerful, especially with the political atmosphere we have in this country right now. But, we need to communicate effectively with our partners if we hope to have a lasting relationship. This can be tough if you have strong feelings about a subject. Getting those thoughts and feelings across, and then listening and understanding your partner’s side, however, is essential for a lasting relationship.


There are so many ways to communicate and have fun with your partner. I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you keep things alive in your relationship!



Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.