“In sickness and health” is a beautiful standard. It reminds us that life isn’t easy.
I’ll leave it to someone whose opinion I cherish to briefly sum up one of the caveats that eluded me: “A cancer diagnosis falls under “in sickness and in health.” Choosing obesity does not.”
It’s also true for alcoholism or anything that is behavior-driven. Overcoming any of these problems is a lot of work. Of course it is!
This doesn’t imply that some people don’t have physical or emotional struggles that make it harder. I’m not discussing the outliers. I’m talking about most of us, the ones who fall into drinking and slowly drive our loved ones mad with concern and consequences. Or those who gain weight and instead of honestly addressing the issue, learn to accommodate the effects of their choices. Their partners might be the most loving people in the world. They might encourage, they might support, and they might also quietly watch the person they love lose sight of their health. But the partner with the behavioral issue is making the decision for both partners.
I’m reluctant to talk about weight for a lot of reasons, one of which is that it impacted me personally, both as the person guilty of it and then the person attempting to get my partner to see that the consequences of choosing to let it get worse were damaging our quality of life on multiple levels. The other thing that makes me hesitant is that we have such a huge taboo against openly and honestly talking about weight. It’s a global problem.
Love is a feeling. It is also action. And reciprocal and mutual action when it affects your partner. When the consequences of your choices rob both of you of the enjoyment of life and each other, it’s no shame for your partner to ask you to do something different. They wouldn’t ask if they didn’t love you.
I only equate alcoholism and obesity because of the complexities of both behaviors. They both require a realization on the part of the person affected by them. And both bring consequences to both partners attempting to lead a good, healthy life.
It shouldn’t be taboo to talk about either one. And if anger results from either conversation, you have a bigger problem. But the anger also acknowledges the severity of the underlying conversation.