Dear Debra: September 2014
By Debra Darvick
Got a burning question? Need some advice? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and look for an answer in next month’s issue.
When my husband and I were first married, we both stayed physically active. But over the years his interest has waned. He makes no time for exercise now and put on weight — A LOT of weight. The more weight he gains, the less interested and able he is to participate in the activities we one enjoyed together. I make sure that our meals are well-balanced, but whenever we dine out he chooses very rich dishes and dessert.
I know I cannot make him do what he doesn’t want to do; I know that nagging makes him resentful. But I am afraid for my husband’s health and fear that his weight could prompt health conditions that will shorten his life. I love my husband and want us to have many happy years together. What can I do?
— Overeater’s Wife
Dear Overeater’s Wife:
Your concerns for your husband’s health and future weight-related diseases are valid. You are also wise to realize that nagging is counterproductive. The first order of business would be for your husband to schedule a physical with his physician to rule out any metabolic or glandular changes that might be playing havoc with his body.
Once you have in hand a clear picture of his health, it is time to have as gentle a discussion with him as possible. Keep it loving and positive. Remind him of the fun you two used to have and suggest that the two of you start walking together. Maybe just a short walk after dinner each evening. Perhaps on one of those walks you can get him to open up about why his habits have changed. Let him know how much you love him and how much you are counting on having as many years together as possible.
Check out the website — www.plantbasednutritionsupportgroup.org — for information about nutrition, reversing heart disease (why not do all you can to prevent it?), walking clubs and restaurant events featuring specially designed menus. The group was created by local resident Paul Chatlin who has reversed his heart disease by changing his lifestyle. The man is pure inspiration.
In the end, though, as you realize, it will be up to your husband to make the changes. I hope that he can find his way to doing so.
My husband and I are considering moving back to Michigan. Our in-laws are looking to downsize and my husband joked that we would buy their house if and when we move back. They jumped on this idea and it seems to be a done deal. I really don’t know if this is such a good plan. I get along well enough with my in-laws and don’t foresee any difficulties should we return. But I can also envision potential issues that could arise if I wanted to make changes to “their” house. My husband thinks I am looking for trouble where none exists.
— House Hesitant
What one calls looking for trouble where none exists, others might see as wisdom and foresight. On the plus side, you seem to have a good relationship with your in-laws, and I am sure they are thrilled by the possibility of having you two back in town. On the other hand, you must be able to feel you are living in your own home, which includes the freedom to repaint, redecorate or renovate without worrying you are desecrating holy ground.
The next time you and your mother-in-law are chatting, guide the discussion to the what- ifs of purchasing their home. Sandwich any concerns about making changes to the family homestead between slices of praise for the bones of the house and your eagerness to make a comfortable home for you and your husband back in Michigan.
Most important is the discussion with your husband. You need to move forward together, making the home your own. If you do purchase your in-laws’ home, (which in many ways sounds very sweet), perhaps create some sort of l’dor vador (from generation to generation) rituals. As part of the chanukat habayit (dedication of your new home when you affix the mezzuzot) ask your in-laws to share some stories of raising your husband and his siblings in the house. Incorporate a photo or two of your husband as a child into your home decor. Or create a then and now montage — pair childhood photos with ones of your husband recreating the same scenes today, thus giving a nod to family history while focusing on the present. RT
Debra Darvick shares her unique take on life, books and more at debradarvick.com.