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Wifey Wednesday: Does Your Hubby Help you Lose Weight or Hurt You?
It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

58/365 -- Thirteen Stone
Photo by puuikibeach
Have you ever noticed how good looking forensic scientists are? I was unaware of this remarkable fact until a recent stay in a hotel allowed me to catch a few episodes of CSI (we don’t have a television at home). And while my initial thought was, “boy that’s graphic,” my take-away was, “Wow, they’re all gorgeous.” Were I at a murder scene, I doubt I’d be wearing heels and a designer suit, let alone look like I just left the hairdresser’s. Apparently, though, when examining a corpse for foreign substances, mascara is a must.

I’m not sure if men truly appreciate how insecure we women are about our appearance. Sure, they'd like six-pack abs, and a full head of hair would be nice, but that’s nothing compared to all the hype we have to meet. It starts as a little girl, when we’re presented with our first Barbie. For those of you who did not have the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with her, she’s a mutant. Were she life size, she would be 44-12-22, and certain anatomical features, prominent on the upper half of her body, would prevent her from standing upright.

For the last few months I’ve been pounding out a manuscript for a book that’s coming out next year called The Good Girl’s Guide to Sex. And in writing it, I took surveys of a few thousand men and women. One of the things that saddened me in reading through the answers was how many women are berated by their husbands for not losing weight. Their husbands tell them that they’re not attracted to them anymore because they’re not a size 4. Or they question their menu choices at restaurants.

I can see both sides of the story here: I know it’s hard for men when their wives let themselves go, because men do like to appreciate women’s bodies. But here’s the thing: it does men absolutely no good to harp on their wives about it. In fact, it makes things worse. Many women want to lose weight but they can’t seem to motivate themselves to do anything about it, which leads us on a vicious spiral downward. If husbands then start withholding affection, or questioning menu choices at restaurants, we'll feel even more insecure. And that’s not going to motivate her to try something as life altering as losing weight!

Two things, I think, help a woman actually get motivated to lose weight: feeling closer to God and thus more aware of her role as a wife, and feeling sexually confident. When we are sexually confident, we want to be MORE sexy. When we are sexually scared, or feel as if we’re pretty pathetic, we tend to retreat even more. If guys would just listen to me about this, here's the advice I would give them:

Spend lots of time wooing her, trying new things, talking about what plus sized lingerie you like, and pursuing her. And give her a budget to buy clothes that make her look dynamite! (Lots of clothes are out there for large women). Doing so doesn’t mean that you’ve resigned yourself to the extra 100 pounds; doing so means that you’re saying, “I want you to feel confident, and I want our sex life to be great”.

Then make sure you’re leading the household: in devotions, in prayer, even in menu choices. As you do these things, and grow closer to her, I think you build communication so you can talk about it, but you also build her confidence so that she is now empowered to change. But above all, love her as she is. It's acceptance that helps people feel motivated to get better, not rejection. Rejection causes insecurity, resentment, and defeat. Acceptance makes one feel confident.

Unfortunately, I don't think many men would listen to me on this, as is evidenced by the number of women describing how much their husbands put down their appearance.

So here's what I would say to you women who are struggling with how you look: go out of your way to look amazing, even if you are 100 pounds more than you'd like to be. Dress well. Put on makeup. Get an attractive hair style. Take care of yourself. So much of "sexiness" is all in attitude, anyway. And as you feel more confident, you'll likely feel more energetic, too. Looks should never define us, but let's face it: in marriage, they do play a role. Men are visually stimulated. So do all you can to stimulate your man! When you feel more confident, it will be easier to make pretty much any change you've been wanting to.

Now I want to know: how do you handle it if your husband puts you down because of your weight? Has this ever happened to you? What did you do? Maybe your experiences can help someone else!

What advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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At 1:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I was married to my first husband for 22 years. My weight yo-yo-ed and (or, because) I wasn't happy. I loved and wanted to be loved back, but unfortunately my husband was destined to be a 'loner' in this world and although he was a hard-worker and provided well for me and our three children, he was not affectionate. For example, once, when I gained weight, I went to cuddle him one afternoon and he prodded me in the stomach and said, 'When you're slimmer'! So, I gave up on expecting any sort of love from him and without realising it, I gave all my love and affection to my children. Eventually I started in my first job for years after being a SAHM and I found that people liked me and respected me even though I was fat. I lost weight and gained self-respect. However, in gaining self-respect, I also realised that I no longer wanted to be trapped in a love-less marriage. The minister at my church accepted that I had grounds for divorce because he saw that although my husband still lived in the same house as me, he had withdrawn from the marriage in every other way. I was on my own for 8 years and then I met my present husband on a dating website. We are both Christians (my first husband wasn't) and we hit it off straight away. I had warned him that I wasn't slim at the time and it made no difference to him. Since we've been married (within 6 months of meeting!) I have lost 4 stone. This was necessary for a major operation and my darling husband encouraged me all the way. In fact he joined me on this diet and lost 2 stone himself. But he still says that he doesn't really register that I've lost all that weight because he loves me whatever I look like. I suppose what I'm saying is that when I felt loved and accepted, I wanted to look after myself properly and work towards becoming healthier. Nagging brings me down even further, but encouragement brings out the best in me - the same must be true for many women.
Oh, my daughter is getting married on 8th October 2011 and I've already sent her a link to your blog!
Kay in UK


At 2:38 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Oh, Kay, how awful that your first husband said that to you!

One thing I didn't touch on enough in the post, too, is that I think our pornographic culture really contributes to men being unable/unwilling to find their wives attractive, even if they're a little bit overweight. It's just horrid.

I'm glad you've found a Christian mate now, and I wish you all the best with your daughter's wedding! That's great news!


At 3:13 PM , Blogger Cara said…

I definitely believe confidence is essential to anyone making an active choice on their own to lose weight. I've seen this in my own life and in the lives of close friends and family.

I have also seen, however, a different side to that coin. I have friends who are overweight and they're husbands love them unconditionally. These friends feel no motivation to lose weight because their husbands never mention it.

In my case, I do not struggle too much with weight, however my husband's metabolism has slowed dramatically in the past five years. He has gained a significant amount of weight and is very self-conscious about it. I've let him know that I love him and still find him attractive, but I've also begun trying to do my part by learning to cook healthier meals, provide fewer snack foods and encouraging more physical activity. I do not lay guilt trips on him for having a cookie, but I focus instead on praising him privately for the times I notice him passing on dessert or piling his plate with veggies.

As is the case with so many things, I think the importance lies in loving communication. Husbands and wives who communicate their love, with encouragement and honesty that is not conditional. If you do not have a husband who can yet communicate in that way, then it's important to remember that God provides for our every need. He can provide encouragement, motivation and love. The best part is definitely his unconditional love for us.


At 3:53 PM , Blogger Berji's domain said…

My husband is so encouraging about my weight. I'm not overweight, but I do like to feel fit. He bought me a gym membership so that I could exercise and volunteered to put the kids to bed so I could have that time to do it. (It wasn't in a nasty "you need to lose weight way" but rather, I'll take the money out of our budget so this is possible for you.) He praises my minor victories in going faster or longer distances and *that* encourages me to go on days that I don't want to or persevere through the distance. And then I feel better about myself too. I know I am blessed by having him as my husband.


At 5:57 PM , Blogger Mary said…

Kay, I'm really sorry for you. As for me, I'm blessed. My husband is 61 and of the generation that thought plumper women like Annette Funicello and Marilyn Monroe were beautiful (they were far from fat, though). So, he likes me to be heavier than I like me to be! He's always buying me bakery items!! He detests today's skinny mode for feminine beauty. Says they don't look like women.


At 8:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

My parents are like that. My dad has commented a number of times about how my mom needs to lose weight because he "doesn't like fat women". My mom is always on some diet or another, and whenever I talk to my dad he brags about how much weight he's lost or how much thinner he is than he used to be. When I'm pregnant my mom asks me how much weight I'm gaining (this from the people who never cared about what I weighed as a kid). On the other hand, my husband is wonderful and loves me even when 9 mo pregnant and having gained 60 lbs (as has happened 3 times, going on 4 now). We love doing things together - he is a runner so we go as a family to his races, and he comes to my horse shows, and we go to soccer games and dance recitals with our daughters. I think as families we have to be active together - it creates memories as well as a healthy lifestyle.


At 9:14 PM , Blogger Sam said…

My husband has always loved me no matter how my weight fluctuated with 6 pregnancies. I lost 78 pounds a couple of years ago with lots of nutritious food and exercise, and am a new person. He loves what I have done, but would have loved me regardless. I have a keeper!


At 12:04 AM , Blogger E. Tyler Rowan said…

I am blessed with a hubby who has never, ever, ever said anything remotely negative about my appearance. He cheers me on and encourages me in my efforts to lose weight, yet always tells me he thinks I'm sexy. (Which is quite the compliment, considering I'm about 50 lb heavier than when we married 13 years and five kids ago.)

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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