How do you encourage your spouse – husband or wife – to be healthy?
Health is a tricky topic. Being healthy in mind, body and spirit means something different to each person, yet being a husband and wife, and leading your life together, health is never a solo endeavor.
Yes. Each person is responsible for their own health. You can’t be healthy for your spouse… However.
Being healthy is not a solo act in marriage.
Your actions make an impact on your spouse.
I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty – I’m just bringing up a topic we all might prefer to put back on the shelf, and to deal with another day.
Over the years, Robert and I have seen many couples criticize each other because one person’s view of a state of health differed from the other spouse. Rarely did that criticism bring any positive change. Often it brought the opposite of what was intended.
What did the criticism bring? Anger – Hurt – Reciprocal Criticism – Deceit – Provocation… and many other negative reactions.
Health is one of those tender spots in marriage. And criticism never works to change a situation.
“Health” can mean any of these:
- healthy habits
- healthy relationships
- healthy hobbies
- healthy body weight
- healthy work/life balance
- healthy sex life
- healthy finances
- healthy communication
- healthy parenting
- healthy spiritual connection
- healthy mental state/outlook on life
- and more
What will encourage your spouse to adopt health in any of these areas?
There’s no magic pill, cleansing aroma or hypnotic sound to miraculously transform a mind, body, or spirit to perfect health. (But you already knew that.)
Your actions can encourage your spouse.
Yes. Your actions. It’s not the words you use – although they are helpful. It’s not what you can buy – although that might support your actions.
Supporting your spouse with your actions to become healthy – in any area of life – isn’t going to be an overnight success.
But it is one positive way you can impact your life; encouraging a healthy life for both of you.
You don’t have control over your spouse – you do have control over you! You can take the initiative until you find a good solution.
What kinds of actions can you take?
- invite your spouse to be active… with you. A walk, a swim, taking photos at the park, strolling through the exhibits at a museum or shopping at a flea market, etc. The key is to choose something you know your husband or wife already enjoys – or has been always wishing to do. Then invite her or him to be active, with you!
- invite your spouse to get more sleep… with you. If finding the off button on the TV, gaming console or computer is difficult, offer a bit of personal incentive, with a massage, a shared midnight snack in bed, or a more intimate and affectionate offer. Sometimes, it could be as simple as a kiss, and an invitation to join you in bed. Letting your spouse know you value their presence is a greater incentive than you might think.
- provide some mental health… with or without you. Is your spouse an introvert – needing time alone to recharge? Take yourself (and maybe the kids) away for a long while, leaving your spouse to revel in the quiet and “alone” time you’ve arranged. That’s a wonderful gift for your introverted spouse. What if your spouse is an extrovert and needs to be surrounded by people to charge up? Invite your spouse to a conference, or arrange a get-together with friends. Your pro-active behavior can make a difference in the mental health of your spouse.
I don’t want to make these issues of health – our health or the health of our spouse – seem trite. Or simple. Because they’re not.
This is a topic that’s close to home.
Robert has a constant challenge to encourage me to be healthy – to move and be active. He’s not always successful and I’m sure it’s disheartening. However, even after 30 years, he hasn’t given up. He’s still encouraging me, even when it means a personal sacrifice.
As a real-life current example, he encouraged me to take the opportunity to swim. (He knows I love to swim, but am self-conscious.) He came with me to the pool in the RV park where we’re staying, and sat with his computer while I enjoyed the water. It shouldn’t have been hard to encourage me to do something I love to do… but it was. And it took his participation, when I’m sure he could have been doing something else. He didn’t push – but he did encourage through his actions.
Rob doesn’t complain or criticize. He encourages.
By encouraging me to be active, and making it possible by overcoming all the barriers, (and there were more than I’ve listed here) I have a happy memory. Plus, I’ve been swimming twice more since then!
Sometimes words aren’t enough – it takes some action on your part to encourage.
Don’t give up –
Encourage health by supporting with action!
Take a break from criticizing your spouse – even if it’s only in your thoughts. Be a little creative…
What positive experience – today – can you encourage through your actions?