I like sweets. That comes as no surprise to those of you who know me. Did you know my husband hates to floss? Put those two things together and it gives us each plenty of nagging ammunition. But, here is something important that I have learned about marriage: I cannot complain about my weight or unhappiness about my body shape and continue to indulge my sweet tooth. I know there is a direct correlation. I cannot rebuff my husband’s affirmations that I am beautiful and get mad when he suggests that the slice of cake is contrary to my previously stated desire to lose weight. He is my accountability partner. And he loves me whether I fail at this or not.
But something else occurred to me this week, adding another layer of complexity to the choices I make individually and how they affect my marriage. I inflict my poor health choices on my husband. I mentioned before that my bestie and I are pregnant together. As we are both over 40, blood sugar issues are a big deal in pregnancy. We both failed our initial glucose screening and have had to monitor blood sugar. So far, so good! But sharing midwife appointments recently meant sharing a lecture on type 2 diabetes risk increased by gestational diabetes. And subsequently swapping those stories of what our husbands firmly, but lovingly snatched out of our hands when the temptation for pizza or chocolate overcame. Or at least strongly suggested we reconsider. Before you think that sounds mean, remember that they are protecting their children and their wives. And what hit me hard was the effect my poor eating choices could have on my husband. He has promised to love me and care for me in sickness and in health. And I have no doubt he will do that to the best of his ability as long as he is breathing. So loving him means making choices that make his life easier. If I can’t say no to sweets to protect myself from diabetes, what about the thought of him, old and feeble too, driving me to doctor appointments, wheeling me around because of my neuropathy, spending our retirement money on insulin. Wow, did that thought jolt my perspective on which are my personal choices and which are marriage decisions. Acting in my husband’s best interest is so intertwined in my own that it gives new meaning to 1 Corinthians 7:4, beyond the wink, wink that hubby and I like to tease each other about.
If he loves me in sickness and in health, and pregnancy and birth are a poignant reminder while we are young of what will happen when we are old, I want to ease his burden, not add to it. And so I exercise when I don’t feel like it. And think of how that extends to other areas of life and marriage. Frivolous spending while we are trying to work together for retirement savings. Not getting the oil changed or tires rotated when he mentions it needs to be done. For richer or for poorer. How I spend my time. What I commit our family to. For better or for worse. Love always protects. 1 Corinthians 13:7.