The movement toward a healthier lifestyle comes when we've decided to change our lives for the better. For those of us that have committed to such a change, the sensation is one of profound catharsis, so much so that we feel the urge to “spread the word” to all who’d listen, especially our loved ones. It can be something like discovering the joys of yoga, or reaping the benefits of a diet that cuts out sugar in favour of more fruits and vegetables. However, words along rarely amount to much.
We live everyday with great vigour and get excited when we try to rope in our spouses into join in our latest lifestyle. Perhaps we’ve noticed the rewards we’re experiencing and begin to worry about our partner’s weight, stress levels, and overall health. One of the most difficult issues some couples encounter is that when they have lived a certain way together for a long time, only to have it disrupted when one party "gets healthy" and tries to “save” the other, friction occurs and conflict develops. Handled improperly, this will only result in disaster.
Eager beavers have a way of coming on to strong on certain things, and this includes fitness as well. Whatever circumstances that led to your transformation, you must understand that the same would not necessarily have the same effect on your partner, both short-term and long-term. Here are four suggestions that you can use to ease your partner into joining you in your new way of living.
1. Share your struggles and avoid criticisms
Build your partner up for greatness and success. Shaming and hurtful comments are terrible motivators and guilt is the least effective way to inspire someone to adopt change. Talk about your own experiences without turning it into a lesson or preaching session for your partner. It can sometimes be helpful to share your own struggles rather than playing the part of an overly enthusiastic cheerleader.
2. Show genuine concern and speak with sincerity
Show and share your concerns about your partner's health out of love and appreciation. Telling them that you care about their health and want them to be healthy will be much more effective than berating or making fun of them for gaining extra weight. Simple things such as stocking healthier foods in your house, cooking more meals, and inviting your partner to join you on walks and workouts because you enjoy their company will go a lot further than nagging and endless insults.
3. Encourage your partner when they are doing something right
Appreciate and support small changes without requiring them to change everything at the outset. It's important for you to remember that a healthy lifestyle comprises more than just physical fitness as it also involves things like generosity, emotional intelligence, and positive social relationships. Remember, they are not you and will not experience a lifestyle change the same way you did. Let them progress at their own pace, help them when they stumble and remind them that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
The decision to embrace a healthier lifestyle is often difficult. It requires a sense of discipline to turn away from pleasure foods and to consciously work to replace a sedentary lifestyle with an active one. Things like practicing mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude in a society that breeds competitiveness is another challenge in its own right. Using empathy, appreciation, and the spirit of invitation will help you and your partner to achieve so much more and may even inspire you to pay it forward to several others!