Getting Healthy And Arguing With Your Partner About it? Couples & Relationship Advice
My husband and I have been married for 9 years now. We have a 7 year old boy, we are both in our late 30's by the way for you to know. We have been arguing so much and it's really driving a wedge between us. I hope you can give us some of your sound advice. I made a New Year's Resolution this year to get healthy. I have stopped cooking our favorites that were unhealthy and I am cooking better things for the family. My son is not happy about it but I can see how his health needed this change. All three of us need to lose weight and be more active. I am trying to get the family to do things like take walks and go be active even just to go bowling instead of just sitting and watching tv like we do. My son will complain and my husband sides with him. My husband will encourage my son and they gang up on me or refuse to eat what I make. My husband thinks this is funny.
I realize it is my fault it is this bad it got to this point. I cooked lasagna and baked macncheese. I would grab fast food like burger king if we were in a rush. I started seeing that we need to lose weight. I started hearing it from my son's doctor. I know my husband has high choletrol and other things. i am afraid to go to the doctor and find out how bad i am. I thought i would give myself a few months of trying to get healthy and then go.
My husband says if I want to do this myself I can go to weight watchers or something by myself and leave him out of it. I get so upset and we argue. I tell him he's being mean and he laughs and says lighten up. I tell him he has to do this he has to think of his health and he just blows it off and that makes me even madder. He tells me he loves me no matter what size i am and i do beleive that he even is still very physical into me (...) So that part of our marriage is great. Actually most of the things we have are great this si the one thing problem. We are fighting is too much though. I don't want to push him away. I don't want to give up on trying getting them healthy. My son is my son and I am not one of those parents that lets the children run the roost. I make him eat what I cook and I make him walk with me. It just would be easier if my husband was not joining in on my son's complaints. It is my husband I need advice on. What do I do Veronica?
Thanks for writing me, this is a subject matter that I'm especially interested in.
I did leave out a portion of your email. I felt it was a little personal to share online, and I believe its absence does not detract from the essence of your question.
Kudos to you, LunaEva. It is fantastic that you want to get healthy. There are lots of tells in your email, all of which express a dynamite attitude and a good basis from which to begin.
When you express your frustration with your husband you are very specific to the issue. That's fantastic. Being able to keep a disagreement on subject is a skill and not everyone has it. People tend to spill their anger over into other unrelated things, making things bigger than they are, or less fair than they are. You explained the argument without taking personal shots or being too critical. Good for you.
It sounds like your husband is a good guy. Telling you he's attracted to you, you don't have to lose weight for him, and showing you that his words are true with the good physical relationship you still share, is important. I'm glad you shared that. And don't down play it, it's important. And it's beautiful. Your husband loves you and he's attracted to you and he's not afraid to tell you that and to show it. There are many women that would love to be in that position.
You've also managed to give your husband's side of things an insightful explanation. You said he's just kidding. Even though it bothers you and you're upset, and you acknowledge that, you can still see that he doesn't mean to be mean or hurtful. Again, this is a big tell in your note and it really does show that you're a great partner. You've kept your wits about you through out your frustration with this situation and that's a completely different kind of healthy. Your husband is lucky to have someone like you. Again, good for you.
My advice to you is to let your husband off the hook. And my guess is that he will put himself back on the hook in time.
Your responsibility to your son is undeniable. I'm so very impressed that you took such ownership of the situation. You acknowledged that the family engaged in unhealthy activities like just sitting and watching television instead of going out and doing something active. You admit the dishes you were cooking weren't the best choices. You can't even imagine how many people in your situation would make escuses and point fingers instead of taking responsibility.
Keep doing what you're doing with dinners and healthy menu plans and activities. Just stop arguing about them. Invite your husband to come on a walk with you and your son. If he declines, just say OK and take your son. See if you can find an activity your son would be excited about. Laser tag? Paintball? If you guys do the computer game station things, maybe something like that Wii dance Just Dance game? If you can find an activity he can get excited about you will have an easier time getting him to join in. I know I bring Tae Kwon Do up a lot, but I really do think it's a great thing. If you and your son can go to the same beginner class once or twice a week it will make all the difference in the world to his wanting to make healthier choices.
Continue to cook the better meals you have been, for you and your son. I'm glad you said he just doesn't have a choice, you're in charge. Good! You ARE in charge, I'm glad you can implement that. Though it's not good that your husband encourages your son's attitude, try to take it in stride and ignore it. Maybe involving your son in some of the meals will help him to get into that a little bit too. Even just giving him a choice between two or three choices may give him a feeling of control that he'll appreciate. Ask him if he wants broccoli or cauliflower, ask him if he wants some strawberries crushed up in the salad or if he wants them for dessert with some whipped cream, or if he wants both. Invite him to come help cook. Or set the table. Or, pack a bento lunch out of the healthy left overs. Getting him involved in the process and the decision making may help him to accept the healthier choices.
When you're making dinner, tell your husband what you're making and invite him to have it. If he makes fun or says no, let it go. Depending on how you and your husband have set up your lives, you can even make him his own dinner or tell him to do it. Just accept his resistance. You don't want to argue, so don't. Just don't.
If you're having oatmeal and fresh fruit with your son for breakfast, and your husband complains, tell him you can make him whatever he wants, after you and your son have eaten. Or, say something ahead of time to him, like that you'll make him the Sunday breakfast he wants but first you want your son to eat his healthy breakfast and fill up, before the bacon comes out.
I am willing to bet that you will see a change in your husband within a few months. Inviting him and including him, is a lot different than telling him or forcing him. And here's the secret to that.
You're not his mother. You're not in charge of him, as you are with your son.
He sounds like a good natured kinda guy. He sees you as his woman. He's attracted to you and he wants to keep seeing you that way. Basically, that's a huge part of what you're arguing with. He wants you to be his partner, not his mother. So treating him the way you treat your son is just not going to produce a good result. It brings about his acting like a child and that's why he does the relating-thing with his son.
I realize that it wasn't your intent to be mothering. It's very obvious you have fantastic intentions and that you have a good relationship with your husband. But I believe that's how he's perceiving things.
It will take a little time for him to stop feeling mothered. But he will. He'll begin to feel the change and he'll want to be included. At first it may be with reluctance.
He may say things like:
"Well I'll just eat this because you made so much and I don't want to waste it."
"I better drive you to the laser tag place cuz I'd have to move my car anyway to let you out of the driveway."
These are ways he can go along with your plan without admitting it.
If he says your cous cous is too plain, don't take offense. Invite that suggestion in. Say, "OK, how about if I seasoned the chicken before I add it? Or maybe we could put some goat cheese on this." That's more partner-ish than motherly. I think that's all he wants.
It would be great if you could resist any kinds of I told you so comments. If he tries your spinach side dish and takes seconds, just celebrate it. Saying something like, "Oh I'm so glad you liked that! I worked hard on that recipe, thank you," will make him feel good and unchallenged. The more you encourage those baby steps he takes, the more likely he is to continue.
Maybe he's somewhat lazy, or spoiled, or in denial. He's rebelling against being told to do anything, and he's comfortable with his life and the way you guys had looked and lived.
But when he sees you spending time with your son, getting in shape, having energy, enjoying a fresh berry dessert, and treating him like a partner instead of a kid, he'll want in. Give it a little child psychology, patience, and positive reinforcement. Good luck!