the nutritionally recalcitrant spouse . . . part one (of four)
“I am excited about eating right and enjoying the changes I’m making, but my husband/wife is sabotaging my efforts and doesn’t think eating white flour, sugar, meat, and Diet Coke is really gonna hurt anybody as long as we mix in a salad now and then.”
You aren’t alone. I give my DH a lot of credit for being open and positive (sometimes just for the sake of not confusing our kids by contradicting me), especially considering that he did not grow up in a home where whole plant foods dominated the menu. But he was once overheard by my daughter muttering, “This just gets weirder and weirder.” I think this was when I started encouraging the kids to drink “swamp water.”
And I have constant email and personal conversations with people about this. Wives, if it makes you feel ANY better, solving this problem is easier for you than it is for a husband who wants to eat right but whose wife does the cooking. Now THAT’S tough. I’m talking to the women (or whichever spouse does the cooking) right now–these are my thoughts.
ONE, you know how in marriage a disagreement often isn’t really about what it seems on the surface to be about? (I’m going to wear another hat here for a minute–I used to be a marriage and family therapist, by the way.) Keep in mind that it’s natural for ANY spouse to be resistant to ANY major change. We humans like habit and predictability and safety. Imagine if your DH came home and said, “Honey, I know I just finished an engineering degree that you worked hard to pay for, but I’ve decided I want to be an artist instead: I’m quite certain that will make me happy.” You might resist, yes? DH is worried you’re going to become someone else (i.e., not who he married, someone extreme and scary). You’re not—you’re just progressing toward becoming your best self.
As someone said on this site, food issues are BIG issues. They are as emotional and deeply held, often, as religion and politics. I learned this the hard way by soapboxing to my inlaws in my 20’s as I was discovering information and “experimenting upon the word.” (To any of said inlaws who may be reading this, please forgive me for being dogmatic.) Have some compassion for DH and realize that announcing, “We are now a vegetarian family: I’m quite certain this will make us all healthy” or something like that might be too much, too fast. 😉
To be continued tomorrow . . .