Lots of married folks try in vain to get their spouse or life partner to eat better, exercise more, or take their meds. It would surely be wonderful if you succeeded, but what’s happening while you’re waiting for this to happen?
- Your spouse, unable to do what seems so logical and healthy to do, feels he or she is not just failing at something important but simultaneously letting you down.
- You stand always on guard, unable to enjoy sharing an ice cream treat or a day in bed.
- You complain, holding yourself out as knowing more or being of higher character than the person who loves you, which makes it harder to love you.
- You worry, focusing on the threat to how long your spouse will be with you while another threat, of failing to use and enjoy those days fully, casts a huge shadow over your marriage.
- You set yourself up to be disappointed by your lack of influence and to miss the many ways in which you are loved.
- You set your spouse up to be disappointed by the lack of a partner with whom to celebrate living when dying circles overhead as a possibility, especially if a health risk has already put him or her in jeopardy.
Health is just one factor in how long we live. And how long we live is just one aspect of a great life. Don’t let health fears keep you from being fully present in your marriage or from opening yourself up to be loved in whatever way your beloved can best love you. Expect Love. All your other expectations of your mate are premeditated resentments. If you don’t like the resentment, let go of the expectation.
This is some great “food” for thought! (pardon the pun, I couldn’t resist)
I watched this in my home for years. My mom did this exact thing to my dad and I could see, even as a teen, the life drain out of him, quicker than if he had just been “allowed” to eat the food he wanted.
I feel what my mom did was take away the most precious gift that God gave all of us … the right be a free agent and choose for himself.
How refreshing! I completely agree that the quest for physical health uber alis has led to the neglect of far more important pursuits. The irony is that happiness is arguably the strongest predictor of good health!
I say laugh, love and spend more time exercising your character than you do exercising your body. You’ll make the world will be a much better place for everyone.
Thanks, Patty, for sharing your perspective on this subject. It is very helpful to me.