Author Topic: dealing with a spouse who is literally killing self with unhealthy lifestyle  (Read 29458 times)

FINate

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It hurts to watch someone you love hurt themselves - that's part of love, you will be hurt, will go through hard stuff together including death at some point. But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted. What if one spouse is in the habit of driving too fast, gets injured in a crash and has a long painful and expensive rehab - just walk away because it was self inflicted? What about a spouse who smokes?

Again, I bring up the issue of a child who self inflicts harm. Do you stop loving them because you can't bear the pain of it? Or is that love unconditional? Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.

Super unfair to frame him as deciding marriage is "no longer convenient" when you know his backstory.

I was responding to gettingtoyes, not the OP

Edit: Even so, why is it unfair to characterize it this way? Is it more accurate to say "no longer ideal"? Not sure that's any better. What about the backstory makes it okay to break the marriage vows, especially since there's not abuse or unfaithfulness as far as we know.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 06:35:59 PM by FINate »

Kyle B

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Sorry for assuming.

LearnTo

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I hope your wife is OK.  Your respective lifestyles sound vastly incompatible, which is sad.
Although you say she's not depressed, I think there has to be something going on in her head not to be interested in becoming healthier - a feeling of futility, rebellion, nostalgia in adopting her parents' lifestyle, whatever.
IMO, repeatedly letting her know you disapprove of her choices by trying to change her diet and exercise habits is about as effective as telling an alcoholic to stop drinking.  If she was capable of assuming healthier behaviors with her current mindset, she would have done so years ago.    I pay to go to the gym, yet often don't eat right - is it rational, NO!  That's your problem, you're expecting rational, logical behavior despite maybe not knowing what's going on in her head.
I think the person who mentioned family counseling had a good idea.

MrThatsDifferent

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You might just be venting.  But based on your posts, it seems like it might be best for both of you if you got divorced.
Believe me, I've explored this with my wife before.  But she says if we divorce it will literally kill her seriously ill mom, who is near death.  Out of respect for her mom, I'm going to hold off until she passes. 

I really do love my wife, despite all her flaws, but this is a deal breaker for me!!

This is emotional blackmail. It wonít kill her mother, but sheíll use the guilt of the situation to manipulate you. This marriage is unhealthy and I think you should seek couples counseling because you have kids. Give it everything youíve got and then if it canít turn healthy, youíll need to move on. Your wife is responsible for herself. I can only imagine that your sex life and intimacy are in the toilet, and if you havenít strayed, youíll start thinking about it. Treat this like your relationship is on fire and deal with it before it causes you your mental health.

2Birds1Stone

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Yikes! I am glad you were able to get her the medical attention she needed.

Now maybe this will be a wake up call for a much more pressing lifestyle change.....although I doubt it. Sadly this is not all that uncommon

I too can't believe some of the accusations being thrown around, I have a feeling some of the posters are probably identifying with your wife (overweight, unwilling to do anything about it) and it's easier to make you out to be the bad guy.

There is hope, people can change, sometimes it takes something scary happening.

FWIW, I was 300lbs as a college sophomore and had a health scare which led to a 125lb weight loss, and that was nearly a decade ago......it's never too late to make a positive change. Whatever happens with your relationship, you owe it to each other to work on this before giving up.

SwordGuy

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Goodness me, this has been a busy thread today.

Once all the immediate emergency situation is over, here's my suggestion.

Instead of asking your wife to exercise, ask her to do something with you with love.

Tell her you love her very much and want to take long walks with her, holding her hand.  Get a babysitter and pack a picnic lunch or dinner for yourselves and walk to (or at) a neighborhood park.   Get a 2 person bicycle or, if you have kids, a bigger one that will hold the kids, too.  A quadricycle.   Go riding together, hold hands, listen and talk (in that order on the last 2!).

In other words, find a way for her to get exercise without it being "exercise".  Make it full of love and fun and intimacy.

It's worth a try.



TheWifeHalf

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My story, may be something relevant here, maybe not:
10 days after my third child was born, I was sitting in the living room, and got a headache that felt like someone was inside the right side of my head, pounding against the side with a hammer. I felt it and heard the noise. I had never had anything like that before.
My husband called my doc, we went to the hospital, to be admitted. My BP was sky high, before that, no problem with BP ever. (No problem with child delivery either, no drugs, natural birth)

I got out of the hospital about 5 days later, the awful things were ruled out, but no diagnosis. The headache never went away.
Over a couple of months, the thing that worked was being put on an antidepressant (that I am still taking Ė 30 years later)  I was not depressed, the opposite actually, but antidepressants are used for other things, one being hormonally based headaches. Bingo! From then on, until menopause, Iíd get one pound in my head and know my period was going to start within 12 hours. But I always stayed on the antidepressant.

Looking back, this is what Iíve figured out Ė
Our 3rd child was an Ďoopsí, only 13 months younger than his sister. Something Iíve worked on since, is accepting that life is not perfect and I just have to accept the changes.
I had a slight case of postpartum depression with each child. The first 2 I nursed so my body adjusted hormonally gradually. The first 2 were allergic to the milk I ate so the third I just didnít bother, so my body did not get a gradual hormonal adjustment, it was wham!

I call these pills my Ďhappy mommy pillsí but mostly because they even things out. I cannot fall asleep without taking one an hour before bed, something about a Ďserotonin reuptake inhibitor!í I did lots of research years ago, and all the medical stuff made sense, but I just donít remember it all. When I brought our 3rd home, the me not sleeping started, and he woke up maybe every 4-5 hours, so I think my body couldnít handle the stress of it all. Something in me would never let me hurt the children so I internalized everything. High BP, headaches was the way it dealt with the world.

Iím not saying this has anything to do with your wife, just telling it in case thereís something you can use.

Vapour

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I literally called my wife's work, and spoke to her supervisor, and informed her of the situation.  I stated that my wife's near minimum wage job is not worth her getting a heart attack or stroke over, and I'd rather my wife quit her job and deal with getting healthier full time.

When I read this quote, I interpreted "situation" to mean your wife's general unhealthiness, not the immediate medical emergency situation due to the high blood pressure reading.  So I'm guessing that's why a lot of people were commenting negatively about this and saying that it crosses a line (which I would agree with and wanted to comment on myself until I read the update).  It just seems odd to me that you had to call her employer to get her to seek medical attention.  If you were that concerned about her immediate safety, why didn't you take her to the ER yourself?  It's just an odd situation and not real clear on the timeline so that's probably why so many on here are commenting negatively.  The most important thing is that she's in the care of doctors, and I hope she is doing well and can get her blood pressure under control.

Now to your original post and how to deal with her general unhealthiness, here are just some of my suggestions.
  • I'd stop calling her lazy and unmotivated.  And stop thinking of her this way.  As others mentioned, she could be depressed or have other reasons for her laziness.  Assuming the worst about her is not helping the situation.
  • Stop thinking of carbs as the devil.  Yeah, they may not be the best for you, but it's not the carbs alone that are killing her.  Diets are complicated.  What works for one person may not work for another.  But the fact that you wrote about her eating carbs multiple times in your post makes me think you probably harp on this a lot to her and is probably not helping things.  Let her eat rice and pasta, but try and convince her to cut the portions in half and add more lean meat and veggies to the mix.  Try cooking a variety of healthier dishes for her until you find something she likes.
  • Start small with the exercise.  Don't tell her she must go to the gym X times a week.  Start by saying you want to go for a 10 minute walk with her after dinner a few nights a week.  Then work up to longer/more frequent walks.  Maybe a nice scenic hike one day.  Or dancing, rollerblading, biking, etc.  There are a lot of fun activities that are also a good workout.  Think outside of the "workout at a gym" box.
  • Seriously consider therapy for both of you.  Like others have said, it sounds like she may be depressed or have some sort of mental health issue.  I also think you both seeing someone together could help better facilitate the conversation about her health and how worried you are about her.  A therapist may be able to help you figure out a plan to work on this together that works for both of you.

I feel for you.  It's hard to see someone you love hurting themselves. Especially when you know there's a seemingly easy solution that they won't commit to it.  But you can't try and control other people.  You have to accept that no matter how much you want to help, she has to make the decision on her own.  Hopefully this is the real wake-up call she needs.  Try to be as encouraging as possible but don't harp on it all the time.  Try focusing on small steps.  Also realize that just because you're fit and healthier does not mean you're a better person.  I don't want to accuse you of anything, but your posts give off that kind of vibe to me.  I'm sure you wife brings wonderful things to your marriage as well.  Try and focus on those and communicate that to her.  If all she's hearing is how unhealthy and lazy you think she is, she's probably not going to respond in a positive way.  Keep the focus on all the things you love about her and why you want her to be around for as long as possible.

Noodle

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I'm sorry for the health scare. One blessing to come out of this may be some concentrated medical attention to the issue, and greater motivation to listen. It can be infuriating, but often our spouses and family members find it easier to hear hard things from outsiders than from family--it's clear that in your family there is a ton of emotional history around the issue. This would be a good time to draw on all your strength not to say "I told you so."

Another good thing is that the doctor should give clear direction around diet...and it may not be what you expect. My understanding is that with high blood pressure, the major concern is often about limiting sodium, paired with a generally well-balanced diet. I have done low-sodium and low carb at various times, and I thought limiting sodium was harder...salt is what makes all those healthy foods taste good!

You might also think about the possibility that your wife is a "moderation" person, even though it sounds like you are an "all-in person." Kristin, who writes the Frugal Girl blog, wrote a great post about this, but the gist was that some people do better with smaller continuous change because deprivation makes them rebellious, and other people need to go all-in on a change because moderation tempts them to go overboard. It can be really frustrating to fall in one category and deal with someone in the other category, because your way that works feels so natural and it can be difficult to explain to someone who's inclined the opposite way. Which is to say, you might need to back off pushing big changes and encourage little increments.

Apple_Tango

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Dealing with someone who refuses to change...thatís tough. All you can do is support her, and recognize that you can only control how you react. You canít help someone who doesnít try...I get that itís so frustrating that it makes you want to bash your head into a wall. *why wonít this person just try?* is one of the greatest mysteries in the universe.

I am always on a freaking diet (I mean lifestyle change...sigh) so I know how that feels too. I think the earlier suggestion of dance lessons is a great idea!! But t doesnít have to be dance lessons- go through your local community center offerings and find one activity that you guys can do together.

Exercise doesnít just have to be walking on a treadmill for 30 min and picking up heavy things and putting them back down. That stuff is boring as hell! I LOVE group fitness stuff, like yoga, dancing, and swimming. Just sit down and pick something that you both can do together for at least 1 hour per week. Something that makes her excited! If sheís not down for an exercise class yet, what about a painting class? Pottery? A musical instrument? A book club? SOMETHING with a social aspect of getting out of the house. Sometimes we get stuck in ruts that just feel cozy-comfy but really donít stimulate us enough.

Also seasonal depression is so real. Even the other day I was feeling crabby and couldnít figure out why- until I realized that it was overcast and I hadnít seen the sun in 3 days. The next day the sun was out and I felt much better :) so maybe things will turn around now that winter is over.

Do you have access to a yard? Maybe you can go find some seeds together and plant some fruits or veggies that she would like to try. Nothing is better than a home grown tomato! Or maybe strawberries! They suck in the stores.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 10:28:49 PM by Apple_Tango »

remizidae

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But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted...Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.

People like to lecture about what marriage *is.* But there is no one definition of marriage. Each married person gets to make it up for him- or herself. And we don't even all have the same vows! For instance, you said that marriage should be unconditional--except for infidelity, which apparently matters a lot to you. On the other hand, I cannot imagine divorcing someone just because they had sex with someone else. All the good parts of the marriage are still there after a one-night-stand. Who cares?  But, I would sure as hell not tolerate a spouse who ate himself into immobility.

Anyway, my point is: don't assume that your beliefs about marriage are The One True Way. We get married because we think it will meet our needs, and each person's needs are different.

Malkynn

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Quote
But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted...Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.

People like to lecture about what marriage *is.* But there is no one definition of marriage. Each married person gets to make it up for him- or herself. And we don't even all have the same vows! For instance, you said that marriage should be unconditional--except for infidelity, which apparently matters a lot to you. On the other hand, I cannot imagine divorcing someone just because they had sex with someone else. All the good parts of the marriage are still there after a one-night-stand. Who cares?  But, I would sure as hell not tolerate a spouse who ate himself into immobility.

Anyway, my point is: don't assume that your beliefs about marriage are The One True Way. We get married because we think it will meet our needs, and each person's needs are different.

A-fucking-men.

OP, I have a lot of thoughts and personal experience with loving self destructive people that Iím willing to share, but DEFINITELY not in this blood bath of a thread.
Feel free to PM me if you want.

As for the statements about calling the wifeís boss, well, it would be so nice if life were that black and white, wouldnít it be?

Yes, in general, itís an insane move to call your spouseís boss, but there are scenarios where it can make sense. I called my exís boss numerous times and it was perfectly reasonable within the context of the situation we were all dealing with.
When crazy shit happens, sometimes crazy behaviour is necessary in response. Life and death counts as crazy.

OP might have been totally out of line, but I donít like to jump to conclusions, especially when someone is obviously stressed and frustrated with a very serious and scary situation.

Iím sure I sometimes sounded like an insensitive and uncaring dick about my ex when I was at the heights of my frustration and hopelessness with him, so I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when I only see the ugliest side of an issue.

Dealing with loving someone who is killing themselves in front of you is INSANELY INFURIATING and can drive even the most patient and caring person to a level of resentment that can make them unrecognizable to themselves.


startingsmall

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OP, so here's what I'm getting from you:

1. You're a smug know it all
2. who is emotionally and likely verbally abusing his spouse.

Your wife's problem is YOU.

AMEN.

use2betrix

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You might just be venting.  But based on your posts, it seems like it might be best for both of you if you got divorced.
Believe me, I've explored this with my wife before.  But she says if we divorce it will literally kill her seriously ill mom, who is near death.  Out of respect for her mom, I'm going to hold off until she passes. 

I really do love my wife, despite all her flaws, but this is a deal breaker for me!!

Why is your wife's unhealthiness a deal breaker? The whole "in sickness and in health" thing. She needs you more now than ever before, even if her sickness is self inflicted.

Also, not sure why you think divorce is somehow constructive in this situation. You're worried she's going to "destroy" the family by killing herself with food and yet you're looking to divorce. Is this like a preemptive strike? Does not compute, no idea how this helps the family. If anything it compounds the trauma for the kids... divorce and that whole shit show followed by mom's death.

If one of your kids was going down the same path, would that also be a deal breaker for you? Or would you love them unconditionally?
Marriage is supposed to be that kind of love.

Sounds like the kids are starting to go down the same path, because of the example his wife is setting! Itíd be no different than her smoking meth, the kids see it and pick up the habit.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 05:39:38 AM by use2betrix »

partgypsy

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I'm not going to get into everything brought up. OP, I have addictive and/or depressed people in my family. I also work in the psychology field. I know you think that you are showing you are caring by pointing out her flaws, threats and ultimatums telling her you are going to get a divorce so you don't have to see her kill herself, etc. You are doing things that that are making her feel scared, unloved and probably coping with that stress in that same way.
I'm glad whatever you did helped her get the medical attention she needs. BUT- as she recovers from surgery PLEASE delegate to someone else the motivation and structure or program for her for physical fitness, take on a healthier diet. Your interactions with her about this has made it too personal, emotional, and adversarial.
See if there are are any programs or classes she can take that are free or covered by insurance. If she has a girlfriend, see if they are willing to go on walks together. Plan fun physical activities with the kids, that she can choose or choose not to join in with. Make some meals that are healthy but taste good. Be a good example. Give unconditional support. It may or may not work. But what you are doing is certainly not going to work. I've been there.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 07:18:34 AM by partgypsy »

kanga1622

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You canít care more about her diet than she does. She has to be the catalyst for change. Seeing your diet and workout schedule should help her see that change is possible if she is ready. You might want to have a nice calm conversation with her about how you can best support her in her goals.

I also worry about my DH. He is quite thin for a male but tends to gain weight in his gut. With his bad back, this is a recipe for disaster. I tell him often that I do not care what weight he is, I simply want him to be healthy and have less pain. If that motivates him to drink less soda or add in extra walking to his day, I am very grateful.

I have struggles with my weight since puberty. Iíve had periods of being quite thin (for me - BMI wise I was barely out of overweight) and having a regular exercise routine to times of being much too heavy. Change is a slow process. Finding the time to exercise without losing the other times I love is a problem. Updating diet is a little easier but takes a LOT of willpower initially.

EXLIer

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I'm going through the same here.  I live a very healthy lifestyle.  Exercise almost daily.  At 42 I'm in better shape than I've been my whole life, and most likely most people. 

My wife is very unhealthy.  Poor poor choices and refuses to eat well and/or exercise.  Eats out all meals ( mostly due to her job).

"Cooking" for the kids mostly revolves around Ramen Noodles, Dominos delivery, and a pantry full of candy.

I don't know what to do.  We've talked about it. 


Schaefer Light

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It hurts to watch someone you love hurt themselves - that's part of love, you will be hurt, will go through hard stuff together including death at some point. But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted. What if one spouse is in the habit of driving too fast, gets injured in a crash and has a long painful and expensive rehab - just walk away because it was self inflicted? What about a spouse who smokes?

Again, I bring up the issue of a child who self inflicts harm. Do you stop loving them because you can't bear the pain of it? Or is that love unconditional? Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.
Agreed.  People take their wedding vows way too lightly these days.  It's intended to be a lifelong commitment, and most vows include the words "in sickness and health" and "til death do us part".

Schaefer Light

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But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted...Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.

People like to lecture about what marriage *is.* But there is no one definition of marriage. Each married person gets to make it up for him- or herself. And we don't even all have the same vows! For instance, you said that marriage should be unconditional--except for infidelity, which apparently matters a lot to you. On the other hand, I cannot imagine divorcing someone just because they had sex with someone else. All the good parts of the marriage are still there after a one-night-stand. Who cares?  But, I would sure as hell not tolerate a spouse who ate himself into immobility.

Anyway, my point is: don't assume that your beliefs about marriage are The One True Way. We get married because we think it will meet our needs, and each person's needs are different.

The Bible does say that divorce is acceptable in cases of infidelity or abandonment.  That may not matter to everyone, but it should matter to Christians.  Plus, there is the issue of the vow itself.  You're right that not all vows will be the same, but I haven't heard any that allow a person to leave simply because they're not happy.

FIRE Artist

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"Cooking" for the kids mostly revolves around Ramen Noodles, Dominos delivery, and a pantry full of candy.

I don't know what to do.  We've talked about it.

uhmm, how about you take over that aspect of the house work?  You said your wife works, so why does family meals have to be her responsibility? 

Awesomeness

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"Cooking" for the kids mostly revolves around Ramen Noodles, Dominos delivery, and a pantry full of candy.

I don't know what to do.  We've talked about it.

uhmm, how about you take over that aspect of the house work?  You said your wife works, so why does family meals have to be her responsibility?

I read this as he meant for those times when one spouse isnít home.  Cooking only for the kids versus for the family.

alanB

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I too have my own interpretation of this situation that is heavily biased by emotional baggage, but I will try to overcome that and focus on objective solutions.

- If your wife says the food you make is "yucky" then try to cook more to her taste.  Palate and preference for fat/sugar/salt varies between people and changes over time based on eating patterns.  I am also lean and fit, but I do not subsist on a diet of organic chicken and leafy vegetables.  There is such a thing as a happy medium, moderation, gradual change, etc.  If someone told me I had to eat raw spinach, I would say "hell no, give me that bag of chips." How about roasted sweet potato, sauteed cauliflower, dry-fried green beans, fresh pineapple... try to focus on simple delicious foods.  If you made a large excess of fresh food would she throw it in the trash?  Personally I default to whatever is the most convenient and ready to eat, why not be supportive by making it as easy as possible for her to succeed?

- Trying to force your wife to go to the gym is the path of absolute most resistance.  Stop going to the gym and use that time to do absolutely anything with your wife.  Literally, whatever she is doing, just do the same thing.

- Try to take an interest in her activities even if it is just watching videos on YouTube.  Really listen to what she thinks.  Saying "all you do is watch crap" is tantamount to "you are dumb."  Accept that what you say, what you mean, what your wife hears, and how your wife interprets it may be 4 completely different things.  Communication is hard.

- Don't shame or say "you're lazy."  If you support and love your wife try to say things that are supportive and loving.  Instead of "it seems like you really want to die" maybe try "what can I do to help you be healthy?" 

- If you really think your wife's job is a problem, try to come up with a plan together on what would be a better use of her time.  If your wife said "you had better quit your job or else," would you quit?  Each person should have a voice and equal say in a partnership.

FINate

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But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted...Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.

People like to lecture about what marriage *is.* But there is no one definition of marriage. Each married person gets to make it up for him- or herself. And we don't even all have the same vows! For instance, you said that marriage should be unconditional--except for infidelity, which apparently matters a lot to you. On the other hand, I cannot imagine divorcing someone just because they had sex with someone else. All the good parts of the marriage are still there after a one-night-stand. Who cares?  But, I would sure as hell not tolerate a spouse who ate himself into immobility.

Anyway, my point is: don't assume that your beliefs about marriage are The One True Way. We get married because we think it will meet our needs, and each person's needs are different.

I've been to a huge number of weddings and here in extremely liberal Santa Cruz I've seen my share of different types of ceremonies and vows. The one constant: A vow to lifelong exclusive commitment to one another. If a wedding is really just dating_with_potential_for_procreation++, e.g. we want to have a big party but don't necessarily want to commit to staying together when things get tough (because they always do), well I would say don't get married in that case. Seriously, you're just going to come out a lot poorer after you figure out how to tear your union apart down the road.

Noodle

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In my earlier post, I also meant to recommend the book "Switch" by Chip and Dan Heath. The theme of the book is persuading/helping people to make changes when you don't have power over them. I have used it a lot at work, but it's also relevant to making changes in one's personal life. I think it's very relevant to the conversation here.

PoutineLover

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First of all, I'm a big believer in going into marriage with both eyes wide open, and that includes exploring each persons approach to life, health, fitness, finances, children, etc. Not being on the same page on any of that is a huge red flag. If somehow all of that stuff changed after marriage, or if it wasn't discussed and then it became a problem after, you can either divorce, live with it or work on it. Berating, shaming, condescending, coercing or otherwise emotionally abusing the other person is unlikely to lead to a happy marriage or a successful resolution to the problem. Taking the right approach matters quite a bit, and the wording of the OP is not inspiring confidence.
My advice would be to immediately stop with the shaming language and trying to force your lifestyle down her throat. It reminds me of the dynamic of my parents marriage, where my dad was sure that he was right and if my mom would just listen to him everything would be fine, but she was just so stubborn and why won't she just do everything his way. Unsurprisingly, this ended in divorce.
Start listening to her on what foods she does like, and make healthier versions. Carbs are not evil, and should be part of a healthy diet, but not overwhelm it. She likes pizza? Make it instead of ordering it, and include veggies on top. She likes cookies? Make cookies at home, and substitute half the flour for whole wheat. Meal prep healthier things that she does like and make them easily accessible so that it's no extra effort to choose the healthier option. No, it isn't as healthy as chicken and kale, but it is an improvement over packaged stuff, and it will gradually habituate her taste buds away from over processed, salty, sugary, oily stuff. So she doesn't like the gym? That's fine, it's not for everyone. Start going for short walks, just to get outside and talk and rebuild your love and trust. Don't talk about her weight or her diet, don't make it stressful, just relax and enjoy being in each other's company.
If you are committed to making this work for your kids and yourselves, you have to stop seeing yourself as the one who knows everything and start listening to her concerns and working with what she is able/willing to do. It won't happen in a day, but the small changes do add up.
Good luck!

Malkynn

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I'm not going to get into everything brought up. OP, I have addictive and/or depressed people in my family. I also work in the psychology field. I know you think that you are showing you are caring by pointing out her flaws, threats and ultimatums telling her you are going to get a divorce so you don't have to see her kill herself, etc. You are doing things that that are making her feel scared, unloved and probably coping with that stress in that same way.
I'm glad whatever you did helped her get the medical attention she needs. BUT- as she recovers from surgery PLEASE delegate to someone else the motivation and structure or program for her for physical fitness, take on a healthier diet. Your interactions with her about this has made it too personal, emotional, and adversarial.
See if there are are any programs or classes she can take that are free or covered by insurance. If she has a girlfriend, see if they are willing to go on walks together. Plan fun physical activities with the kids, that she can choose or choose not to join in with. Make some meals that are healthy but taste good. Be a good example. Give unconditional support. It may or may not work. But what you are doing is certainly not going to work. I've been there.

This is really really solid advice.

partdopy

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It hurts to watch someone you love hurt themselves - that's part of love, you will be hurt, will go through hard stuff together including death at some point. But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted. What if one spouse is in the habit of driving too fast, gets injured in a crash and has a long painful and expensive rehab - just walk away because it was self inflicted? What about a spouse who smokes?

Again, I bring up the issue of a child who self inflicts harm. Do you stop loving them because you can't bear the pain of it? Or is that love unconditional? Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.

Most people also commit to respect/honor their spouses, and although not PC and a little odd in 2018, most women commit to obey their husbands.  Last time I checked, taking such poor care of your health that you are dangerously obese and unhealthy is not honoring or respecting your spouse or yourself, and she is definitely not obeying.  Honoring and respecting your spouse is being the best partner you can be.  You can't pick and choose what parts of the wedding vows apply when they fit your argument.

In this case I would say she is clearly violating them, although I do wonder if this situation was present before getting married?  If so it shows why it is important to pick someone with the same health values as yourself.

alanB

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If someone told me I had to eat raw spinach, I would say "hell no, give me that bag of chips."
If you haven't had fresh spinach you are missing out.
I love fresh spinach, I do not like people telling me what to eat.

Quote
- Trying to force your wife to go to the gym is the path of absolute most resistance.  Stop going to the gym and use that time to do absolutely anything with your wife.  Literally, whatever she is doing, just do the same thing.

- Try to take an interest in her activities even if it is just watching videos on YouTube.  Really listen to what she thinks.  Saying "all you do is watch crap" is tantamount to "you are dumb."  Accept that what you say, what you mean, what your wife hears, and how your wife interprets it may be 4 completely different things.  Communication is hard.

- Don't shame or say "you're lazy."  If you support and love your wife try to say things that are supportive and loving.  Instead of "it seems like you really want to die" maybe try "what can I do to help you be healthy?" 

- If you really think your wife's job is a problem, try to come up with a plan together on what would be a better use of her time.  If your wife said "you had better quit your job or else," would you quit?  Each person should have a voice and equal say in a partnership.
I don't think those would help as much as you think they would help. If the OP enjoys going to the gym then telling them to stop doing that can just lead to more resentment towards their spouse. Likewise, if you have no interest in what someone enjoys for entertainment, forcing yourself to partake of it is unlikely to be productive and can lead to more resentment.
I am naive enough to think that if you are better able to understand a person you will resent them less, so these things might be an acceptable trade-off, at least for the short term.  Too many marriages die from "I am not the problem, why should I change my behavior."  You can change the way you treat another person without giving up who you are.  If my wife said, "I need your help," I would not say, "too bad I am going to take a nap," and then resent her when she persisted.

EmFrugal

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OP, I'm a personal trainer for moms so hopefully I can shed a little perspective here.

First of all, I agree with some of the other posters that while so many of your comments/reminders to your wife feel like they come from a place of love, your wife is not perceiving them that way. So really, it would be best to stop being her healthy eating/fitness advocate. That being said, you should absolutely continue to lead by example... keep exercising and eating healthy. Just please stop talking to your wife about it (unless she approaches you).

Secondly, who are her friends? Who is she around the most? We tend to mimic the habits of the people we spend the most time around (obviously excluding you). If her closest friends/peers/role models don't exercise or care little about leading a healthy lifestyle, then the answer may lie there. The area you live in and the habits of those people can affect your mindset as well.

Thirdly, instead of working on her physical appearance so much, I really feel like she needs to work on what's within. What are her values? What are her passions? What does she want out of life? She may be in a place right now where she is so mentally and emotionally burned out from child-rearing, work, parental health crises, and trying to hold together her marriage that she has nothing else left. To me it sounds like she is screaming for help. Perhaps she would be interested in the minimalism movement. The Minimalists have some great free e-books that help you get your life priorities straight, so perhaps she would enjoy reading those while she recovers.

The primary focuses are:
1)Figure out your values and life dreams
2)Figure out what is keeping your from pursuing those values/dreams
3)Eliminate/Reduce the #2's

After this process, she might be able to breathe and think more clearly and feel at peace. But right now, my guess is that she cannot add anything else to her life until she can eliminate some of the extreme stressors.

Be gentle with her please. I know you're doing your best. But know that this most likely has far more to do with feeling emotionally burned out than "laziness." Being a parent is one of the absolute most challenging jobs a mother can face and many mothers lose themselves. Then when you add other external stresses, many shut down and can't function as their best self.

I have been there (on the emotionally burned out front) as well. So I have a lot of empathy. I hope she can work through the emotional pieces so that she can make room for her values. And maybe you will be surprised. When she is emotionally well, she may realize she really does value her health. But in the meantime, I would encourage you to take a step back from the exercise/diet talks. Let medical professionals handle those discussions. And perhaps tell her about a cool ebook you found by The Minimalists that helped you really think about your life dreams and how to make them happen... maybe she'd enjoy reading it too and you could dream together? Sounds like a fun date to me :)

Jouer

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I would suggest baby steps once your wife is ready.

Instead of pushing her to go to the gym - I'm guessing she hates being there with fit people - why not get her to try walking. In fact, I suggest a family walk after dinner. Then you wash up when you get home and she can watch a show. Over time, make the walk longer. Maybe have the kids wash up so you two can do something together - play chess or a board game or something (no fitness or food talk allowed during this time). And then when she is ready, try Saturday and Sunday family walks or even hikes.

Milizard

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I hope your DW is doing better, OP.  I took control of my health 3 years ago (I'm about the same age as your DW).  My SIL had lost weight, and got fit, and I saw that it was actually possible.  Before that, with the people around me and articles I've read, I didn't think it was possible without more discipline than I actually possess. I'm afraid your own example is awfully extreme.   Even my healthier, fitter and lighter self is not fond of the idea of intermittent fasting.  I'm also lazy and unmotivated--very much a result of depression, anxiety, and the following.  I was also very frustrated with other areas of my life which I had little control over, so I finally saw my body as something I could exercise control over.   I started slow--15 minutes of exercise/day, 3x/week.  Then I added on time and days as my strength and stamina quickly improved--and I started feeling awesome after my workouts.  I had built a daily routine around it--just videos at home, at a specific time (as my kid was napping).  This barely budged my weight, and I was on the line between overweight and obese.  So, I started tracking my food with my fitness pal.  In the process of figuring out the most bang for my buck with feeling full/calories, I changed what I ate.  I didn't cut anything out completely--just budgeted carefully around the staples that I figured out had worked well for me.

My advice, being very hopeful your DW is able to use it, is to slowly.  One really easy routine that helped me get fit again way back is: https://www.amazon.com/Pilates-Beginning-Mat-Workout-VHS/dp/B000053UZS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523466898&sr=8-3&keywords=pilates+beginner+mat+workout&dpID=41W5GK3466L&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

Seriously, you're laying down or sitting most of this workout--great for lazy, out of shape people!

I saw this guy on PBS, and it was very motivating to me to add salads to my diet:  https://www.drfuhrman.com/get-started
I don't follow his stuff, but do eat a lot more salad!

FINate

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It hurts to watch someone you love hurt themselves - that's part of love, you will be hurt, will go through hard stuff together including death at some point. But unless there's an actual abuse issue (and no, claiming divorce will kill her mom doesn't make the cut) or unfaithfulness then there is no reason to break off the marriage just because it's self inflicted. What if one spouse is in the habit of driving too fast, gets injured in a crash and has a long painful and expensive rehab - just walk away because it was self inflicted? What about a spouse who smokes?

Again, I bring up the issue of a child who self inflicts harm. Do you stop loving them because you can't bear the pain of it? Or is that love unconditional? Marriage is intended to be of the unconditional variety (with exceptions for abuse and unfaithfulness), or at least that's what most people commit to in their vows. If instead marriage is simply "until one person decides it's no longer convenient" (which I realize is becoming more common) then just do away with all the grandiose vows and ceremonies already and stop pretending it's a commitment.

Most people also commit to respect/honor their spouses, and although not PC and a little odd in 2018, most women commit to obey their husbands.  Last time I checked, taking such poor care of your health that you are dangerously obese and unhealthy is not honoring or respecting your spouse or yourself, and she is definitely not obeying.  Honoring and respecting your spouse is being the best partner you can be.  You can't pick and choose what parts of the wedding vows apply when they fit your argument.

In this case I would say she is clearly violating them, although I do wonder if this situation was present before getting married?  If so it shows why it is important to pick someone with the same health values as yourself.

Yep, the "obey" part is usually and understandably removed these days as anachronistic.

Poor diet/lifestyle choices, to the point that they threaten one's health are self-inflicted, yet there's a question of how much control people really have over this. I don't think it's as simple as pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. There are almost always much deeper issues going on, often a vicious cycle involving: low self esteem/self worth, unaddressed trauma, stress, chronic health issues, bad habits, ignorance, desperation, food culture, and other factors. Shaming on makes make matters worse, and making it clear that your love for someone is contingent upon slimming down and getting fit is a sure way to deepen the underlying hurt. So yeah, therapy is in order.

For the longest time my diet and self care was deplorable. I thought health food folks were fastidious nuts and poked fun at DW for her leanings in this area. Was occasionally frustrated that she would try to get me to eat healthier and exercise. Food was comfort for me, something to help with self esteem and social anxiety. Thankfully DW didn't shame me, was always an invitation to something better. Even after I packed on a lot of weight and was having issues with high blood pressure and starting to have other health issues she remained patient, kind, and led by example. I eventually "got it" which involved a bunch of different factors ranging from how I relate to food/eating to general attitude about life, and other factors. A huge help was that her love was never in question... in fact, the thought of dying young and what this would do to her (and the kids) was a big part of the motivation. How could I do that to someone who loves me that way? Don't think I would have felt this way if it was based on negativity and ultimatums.

Honestly, I think I'm having a visceral reaction to OP because of his contempt for his wife ("she is lazy, unmotivated") and pointing out her "weight problem" while saying that he's "extremely lean and fit" and then later saying he's looking to divorce. I don't pretend to know what's really going on with OP's marriage, but to me it comes across as an attempt to find a more socially acceptable way of saying he finds his wife's obesity unattractive and would like find someone else more attractive. Harsh, I know. And I get OP never said that, but those are the optics from my POV.


patchyfacialhair

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My initial post on this thread had some choice words for OP. I would say the same thing to a friend though, based on how I thought you explained it at first.

I'll admit that my impression of the situation was not as dire as it actually was though, OP. It sounded like she was overweight and enjoyed more than her share of Cheetos, but it wasn't that dire, just some high blood pressure (not emergency level high). You struck me as a Whole Foods/fitness fanatic, and from my personal experience, those folks can sometimes be a little obnoxious with folks that choose not to live that lifestyle. I apologize if my words offended in any way. I take them back (not literally, I'll leave my post up), knowing what the full picture looks like.

Many folks have given you excellent advice to this point. I wish you the best, and I wish a speedy recovery and a return to normalcy for your wife. She's the one suffering the most right now.

mathlete

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I'm sorry that you're going through a difficult time with your spouse, but I'll add to the chorus of people saying that you don't respect her here.

Staying up late, eating junk food, and watching trashy TV are valid lifestyle choices. If those are a deal breaker for you, then I suggest breaking the deal sooner rather than later.

netskyblue

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I don't pretend to know what's really going on with OP's marriage, but to me it comes across as an attempt to find a more socially acceptable way of saying he finds his wife's obesity unattractive and would like find someone else more attractive. Harsh, I know. And I get OP never said that, but those are the optics from my POV.

I dunno, I'm probably bringing my own baggage into my reading of the issue, but I understand *exactly* what it's like to be married to someone who is slowly killing themselves due to - whatever you want to call it, disease, poor choices, etc.  In my ex husband's case, it was alcoholism.  His drinking was devastating his health, draining our finances, and generally making him into a person I didn't like.  I tried to be understanding, I tried to be harsh.  I tried the ultimatum - you get help or I leave.  He didn't get help, I left.  I don't feel bad about that.  I'm sorry for him that his life consists of drinking himself to death and that he lost a wife over it, but I will never regret doing what I needed to do to protect myself, my assets, and my mental health.

Astreja

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Honestly, I think I'm having a visceral reaction to OP because of his contempt for his wife ("she is lazy, unmotivated") and pointing out her "weight problem" while saying that he's "extremely lean and fit" and then later saying he's looking to divorce...

This was my reaction as well, because it hits far too close to home.  I used to be married to someone who thought it was his right to dictate the minutiae of my life -- what I should eat, how much I should exercise, even what I should wear and how long my hair should be.  I have no regrets about divorcing him, none whatsoever.

Not only would phoning my employer be a deal-breaker, but I would use that against him in divorce court.  Perhaps her job is where she goes to relax from the stress of the relationship.

Rather than couples counselling, I would suggest to the OP that he engage a personal counsellor to examine his own behaviours toward his spouse, as her unwellness could be related to chronic stress in an environment where she feels powerless.

LifeHappens

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I'm sorry that you're going through a difficult time with your spouse, but I'll add to the chorus of people saying that you don't respect her here.

Staying up late, eating junk food, and watching trashy TV are valid lifestyle choices. If those are a deal breaker for you, then I suggest breaking the deal sooner rather than later.
This. Some people make poor choices when it comes to their health. I love people doing this right now. It is frustrating and it scares me because I don't want to lose them. But it doesn't make them lazy or stupid or bad people.

The OP's choice of descriptors for his spouse are troubling. For those familiar with the Gottman paradigm of relationships, I would describe his language as being well into the Contempt stage. I hope OP's spouse comes out of this medical crisis and finds a better way, but guilt, shame and bullying are not the way to help.

patchyfacialhair

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... but it wasn't that dire, just some high blood pressure (not emergency level high).
To reiterate what I said awhile back since it might help someone one day, BP being 180/200 is a medical emergency due to hypertensive crisis. Realistically anything over 180/110 should trigger a visit to a physician as soon as possible and 180/120 is when you are looking at an emergency since you start having organ damage at those levels. I had a chat with an EMT friend and 180/200 would have been grounds for immediate transport.

I hear you. I was just admitting that my comprehension of what was typed wasn't 100% there, which is why I reacted harshly to OP, initially. His comments painting the picture of how he's healthy and slim and she's lazy and fat caused me to overlook the specific number there, hence my apology.

FINate

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... but it wasn't that dire, just some high blood pressure (not emergency level high).
To reiterate what I said awhile back since it might help someone one day, BP being 180/200 is a medical emergency due to hypertensive crisis. Realistically anything over 180/110 should trigger a visit to a physician as soon as possible and 180/120 is when you are looking at an emergency since you start having organ damage at those levels. I had a chat with an EMT friend and 180/200 would have been grounds for immediate transport.

I hear you. I was just admitting that my comprehension of what was typed wasn't 100% there, which is why I reacted harshly to OP, initially. His comments painting the picture of how he's healthy and slim and she's lazy and fat caused me to overlook the specific number there, hence my apology.

Yes, it's a medical emergency, but something is still off:

I literally called my wife's work, and spoke to her supervisor, and informed her of the situation.  I stated that my wife's near minimum wage job is not worth her getting a heart attack or stroke over, and I'd rather my wife quit her job and deal with getting healthier full time.

OP didn't just call her boss to inform him of the medical emergency, he went on to meddle in her job. IMO, this is still over the line and getting in to controlling behavior.

lifewithbenandjen

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So sorry to hear about this situation. I commend you for having the courage to put your story up here and ask for advice. I'm taking your situation as a lesson as to what can happen when things get out of control, but I also want to encourage you. I want you to imagine what a powerful story you and your wife will have once she makes it out of this situation. She will have the knowledge to help thousands of people suffering from the same thing and you will have the knowledge to help their spouses. So keep fighting because you just don't know if this will be your life's calling.

Rightflyer

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Honestly, I think I'm having a visceral reaction to OP because of his contempt for his wife ("she is lazy, unmotivated") and pointing out her "weight problem" while saying that he's "extremely lean and fit" and then later saying he's looking to divorce...

This was my reaction as well, because it hits far too close to home.  I used to be married to someone who thought it was his right to dictate the minutiae of my life -- what I should eat, how much I should exercise, even what I should wear and how long my hair should be.  I have no regrets about divorcing him, none whatsoever.

Not only would phoning my employer be a deal-breaker, but I would use that against him in divorce court.  Perhaps her job is where she goes to relax from the stress of the relationship.

Rather than couples counselling, I would suggest to the OP that he engage a personal counsellor to examine his own behaviours toward his spouse, as her unwellness could be related to chronic stress in an environment where she feels powerless.

I wasn't going to weigh in but...
Sorry, enough already with telling the OP what he can and can't tell his wife.
You and many others here are just plain wrong.
If what your spouse is doing will affect you adversely down the road, you absolutely have the goddamn right to tell them.

FFS.
When you marry someone, you owe them everything. And you owe it to them not to be a fucking burden later in life because you're ill all the time because you couldn't keep your hand out of the cookie jar.
Even depressed people could use a boot in their arse to start moving. 
It won't hurt them.

Further, people can be lazy without having some sort of mental condition. Why can't you give the OP the benefit of their personal knowledge of the situation and just accept that the wife IS lazy.
We have no other knowledge to make us think otherwise.

 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 12:34:16 PM by Rightflyer »

OurTown

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Each person in a marriage is a fully autonomous individual.  That means H and W are free to make their own choices and H and W are responsible for their personal choices.

Assuming you are not trying to control her for the sake of controlling her, what steps can you take that will be beneficial to her but also respect her boundaries?  How about if you took on the cooking responsibilities and eliminated all those excess carbs?  If she complains, or refuses to eat it, that's her choice.  But you don't have to give in and make her some carb-heavy comfort food, that's your choice!  If she wants something different than what you make, she has to make it herself.  I don't really care for the term "lazy" in this context, but if she is "unmotivated" it is likely that at least some of the time she will eat what you prepare rather than going to the trouble of making a second meal for herself.  Similarly, you could take responsibility for the grocery shopping and banish junk food from your shopping cart.  If she wants chips or donuts or whatever, she can use her own money and go to the grocery to get it. 

OurTown

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Follow up:  this should be done out of genuine love, not a power play.

Rightflyer

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Each person in a marriage is a fully autonomous individual.  That means H and W are free to make their own choices and H and W are responsible for their personal choices.



Uh. No.
That's not a marriage. At least not in the real, grown up world.

You are NOT autonomous and you are NOT free to make unilateral decisions (choices) that negatively affect your spouse.

ysette9

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I think that comment is inappropriate and harsh, but in the end it doesn’t matter if the wife is lazy or depressed or has some other mental condition. The fact is that nothing will improve until she chooses to make changes, and the husband isn’t going to do anything to make her change. Years of berating and belittling her has not made a difference, so why would more of the same help?

I see this situation through the lens of my own family situation. My father is an alcoholic; I see the wife here as an addict as well, addicted to food instead of alcohol. One of the best things my mother ever did for herself, my father, and their marriage was start going religiously to Al Anon. She got a sponsor and did some hard work on herself (the only person she has control over!) to learn better dynamics on how to interact with my father. It is common that family members of addicted get all up in the business of the person with the problem because we think we can someone save them or control them. Al Anon helps the families realize that you cannot do that, and trying to save or control the addict only makes things worse.

Putting myself in the wife’s position, to the extent that I can, I would feel incredibly demoralized, depressed, unsafe, unloved married to the OP. The few times my husband draws a hard line and tries to tell me to do something, I rebel like a 14 year old pushing back against an early curfew. It doesn’t matter if my logical side recognizes it is a good idea; I just can’t stand being told what to do. I am an adult, damnit! My husband is very good about suggesting things and gently helping me realize that what he wants is the best path. Marriage is supposed to be a safe haven where you can draw strength and self confidence in a tough world. I am getting older and uglier and after two kids, I am struggling to find time to get my body looking the way it did in the past. That is my own shit to deal with though, and my husband is unfailingly supportive in every way, never pointing out any flaw and only complimenting what he does like. That is how you show loving support. If he started telling me my stomach was too big and I needed to make more time to go running I would feel utterly crushed.

I hope the wife chooses to make healthier choices. I hope she can turn to someone else in her life for emotional support. I hope the OP can find some sort of counseling to look at his own behavior and contribution to the problem, or just be able to break out of the vicious codependent cycle. I hope the kids can some good role models for healthy living and healthy relationships.

OurTown

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Each person in a marriage is a fully autonomous individual.  That means H and W are free to make their own choices and H and W are responsible for their personal choices.



Uh. No.
That's not a marriage. At least not in the real, grown up world.

You are NOT autonomous and you are NOT free to make unilateral decisions (choices) that negatively affect your spouse.

So I don't have free will?  I'm a slave, or a robot?

Rightflyer

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Each person in a marriage is a fully autonomous individual.  That means H and W are free to make their own choices and H and W are responsible for their personal choices.



Uh. No.
That's not a marriage. At least not in the real, grown up world.

You are NOT autonomous and you are NOT free to make unilateral decisions (choices) that negatively affect your spouse.

So I don't have free will?  I'm a slave, or a robot?

I didn't say you didn't have free will or that you are a slave or a robot.

But in a marriage you are not autonomous. Autonomous means having the freedom to act independently. Marriage is a partnership. Partners do not act independently.

 

Astreja

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...When you marry someone, you owe them everything.

I disagree absolutely.  People still have the right to their own lives.

That said, I recuse myself from this thread rather than continuing to hash this out, as I doubt we will ever get to hear both sides of this particular story.

Rightflyer

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...When you marry someone, you owe them everything.

I disagree absolutely.  People still have the right to their own lives.

That said, I recuse myself from this thread rather than continuing to hash this out, as I doubt we will ever get to hear both sides of this particular story.

Well, maybe we're just different then.

I would die for my wife.


OurTown

  • Pencil Stache
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  • Posts: 903
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Tennessee
Each person in a marriage is a fully autonomous individual.  That means H and W are free to make their own choices and H and W are responsible for their personal choices.



Uh. No.
That's not a marriage. At least not in the real, grown up world.

You are NOT autonomous and you are NOT free to make unilateral decisions (choices) that negatively affect your spouse.

So I don't have free will?  I'm a slave, or a robot?

I didn't say you didn't have free will or that you are a slave or a robot.

But in a marriage you are not autonomous. Autonomous means having the freedom to act independently. Marriage is a partnership. Partners do not act independently.

You do have the freedom to act independently.  Your choices may be shitty, and may carry negative consequences that inure to your detriment and to your partner's detriment.  That's why you are responsible for your own actions.  My point is that giving your spouse an ultimatum is counter-productive.  "You MUST do whatever because you are the Wife and I am the Husband (or vice versa)" is not going to work.