Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Should Weight Be Off Limits in Marriage?

I {the joy filled wife} think that weight is a sensitive subject in general for women and, because of that, it can make it very difficult to look at this scenario from an unemotional standpoint. Nonetheless, it's a subject that most women think should be "off limits" to their husbands and, honestly, I don't think that's fair. Gaining weight {or losing way too much} is a huge health concern that not only impacts how long we live, but what the quality of that life is. 

My mother has been very overweight for as long as I can remember. This causes her a lot of physical pain and she doesn't have energy to run around with the grandkids at all. She, at one point, lost 50 pounds {which is the most she ever has} and she felt so much better and had more energy. Due to some deaths in the family and other situations, she stopped watching her eating and ceased her physical activity {which was the main reason she lost weight in the first place} and has since gained it all back. It's heartbreaking. I know that her weight impacted her view of herself and, in turn, her behavior toward my dad. I wish my dad had been able to step in there early on and help prevent the downward spiral for my mom that left her with such low self-confidence that she didn't have a single nice thing to say about herself. Husbands absolutely have the right {and should} step in and help when they see that their wives are heading in a dangerous direction with their health {or anything else, for that matter}. Also, men are very visual and if a husband knows that his wife gaining a bunch of weight is going to reduce or eliminate his attraction toward her, he needs to gently step in. 

As you mentioned, Lori, so many women feel differently if the scenario is on the opposite end of the spectrum. As you know, I'm very lean. Being tall also accentuates how trim I am. A few years ago, after one of my pregnancies, I got down to 120 pounds and my husband made a comment that he was concerned I was looking a bit too thin. Several others made comments to me about looking extremely thin. My husband asked me to make sure I didn't lose anymore weight. I was very healthy and eating well, but my baby was a nursing fiend and, since I'm one of those people who eat to live instead of live to eat, the weight was coming off fast. Although I wasn't particularly thrilled that my husband said I was looking frail {no one wants to be perceived that way}, I honored what he said and gained about 10 pounds to make him feel more comfortable. It wasn't always easy to maintain that, but I did. 

We have had more children since then and I am back down to 120. But I have tried to build a little bit more muscle this time around so I don't look as frail. It did the trick. My husband said that, even though I weigh the same as I did back then, I look healthier because of the definition I've developed in my muscle. I'm still very trim and plan to build a little more definition still, but I have been checking in with my husband every now and then to see what he thinks. He said it's perfect and he appreciates how I've approached this whole thing. 

I think it's important for us to remember that our husbands are responsible before God for protecting us physically. This can even mean protecting us from ourselves. If we are physically destructive to our bodies by overeating or undereating, it's their job as our physical protectors to bring us back to safety. If we will choose to see this subject from that perspective, we will graciously thank our husbands for their care and concern over our health and our being.

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church.
Ephesians 5:28,29