Am I wrong to want my husband to lose weight to save our marriage?

I was hot right before I got married, or at least my version of hot: fifteen pounds down from when I first met my husband, teetering on the edge of a size 8 (a milestone for me). In our wedding photos, my stomach looks flat in my fitted dress, my arms toned, my cheekbones visible.

Real advice: This is How I Saved My Marriage – Pete Menoi – Medium

That sounds nice, but I'm not pleased I've gone up a size (or two). I can tell that Randy, my high-energy/low-body-fat husband, doesn't like it much either. The other day, I mentioned how I missed having a gym membership since moving to our new town. "Well, why don't I pay for you to get a personal trainerit will be your birthday present!" he offered. I was about to thank him profusely, when he continued, "It will be a present that benefits both of us."

"Well, you'll feel better and I'll enjoy looking at you." I gave him an icy smile, which, lucky for him, he interpreted correctly, because he quickly backtracked. "It's not that I don't love looking at you now, it's just that..."

There have been other tiny humiliations. When I asked Randy to guess my weight (bad ideadon't try it at home), he was right on the nose. So much for my thinking I look thinner than I am. And I admit: When the scale disappoints me, I'm more likely to slip under the covers and reach for a book than for him. Instead of marriage making me feel secure in my body, I am vaguely ashamed that I'm not the woman I was on the day we tied the knot. Marriage is an ever-evolving entity, but when those changes occur around the waistline, marital tensions get bigger, too.

The couple did what many do when they're having difficulties: They withdrew emotionally. "I felt like he was a shallow person, someone I didn't know at all," Melanie says. "Frankly, I thought that it was only a matter of time before I left him. In my heart, I knew he had a point," she concedes. "But I was still pissed off."

That shame is corrosive. "The problem isn't the extra pounds but the withdrawal that follows," says Mary Beth George, a couples counselor in Houston. When Kara Richardson, 40, of Summit, NJ, gained back the 120 pounds she'd lost a few years into her marriage, she and her husbandastoundinglydidn't discuss it. "I didn't bring it up, because I didn't want to give him a reason to bring it up," she says.

Just as a major weight gain can divide a couple, so can a dramatic weight loss. "I was more than 250 pounds when my husband and I met and he totally wanted me, which was thrilling," says Christina (not her real name), 35, who lives in California. But when she started thinking about having a baby, she realized she'd have to lose weight. "If I couldn't take care of myself, how could I take care of a child?" she asks.

I get that too. I'm a feminist, dammit, and I'm not about to lose weight for a man. But if my extra pounds are making me unhappy, it's time to do something about them. Because whatever Randy thinks about how I look naked, I want to feel the way I felt on my wedding day: proud of my body, of my strength. As my husband likes to tell me, one of the reasons he fell in love with me is that I'm a strong woman, a woman who can do amazing things when she sets her mind to them.


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