There is a fabulous conversation going on a blog I have just discovered.
The blogger has a very interesting post that says, in summary, that it is wrong to gain excessive weight (through neglect or a lack of caring, obviously not through reasons beyond one’s control) after you have married, because that is false advertising in a way. You got married when you were slim and trim and now a few years later you’ve let yourself go. Actually, go read her post, she articulated it very well.
Then my NBF L wrote a blog post in response – go read hers, because she almost presents the reality of the other side.
Ok, read both posts? Good.
(please see below for more bloggers blogging about the topic, let me know if there are any more)
Now, I agree with MIM to an extent. I don’t think that being married is an excuse to let yourself go completely. Unfortunately I see this too often. Women taking less pride in themselves once they are married. Where I disagree with her somewhat, is that I don’t think you should do it for your husband, I think you should look after yourself for yourself! Excessive weight gain often results in low self esteem, which can make you feel depressed, which makes you feel less sexy and sexual, which leads to all sorts of other problems etc. And yes, you do want to look nice for your husband; but just as you would hopefully stick with him through thick and thin, literally and figuratively, hopefully he should do the same for you. In theory. But again, the marriage vow is not a guarantee or an excuse. I should hope that we would want to maintain at least some level of attractiveness and attraction in our relationships. So yes, I don’t think we should let ourselves go. But do you ‘owe’ your spouse a certain level of attractiveness or a certain weight or shape? I don’t know.
The reason why this post was particularly pertinent is that I was at my neighbours house for a braai on Sunday, there were three couples there, all us women are in our (very) late 30’s. One women’s husband was overweight, but Marko and my neighbour’s husband are both very slim and athletic. My neighbour is probably about 20 pounds overweight. Maybe less. The three of us women were moaning about what a pain it is to have to diet, and how all three of us were on some kind of weight loss effort.
Then my neighbour said that she has a real motivation to lose weight in that her husband gave her a present for her birthday, it is a full wardrobe make over. But only if she loses 20 pounds.
My initial reaction was WHAT THE FUCK! I would kill my husband if he did that. How DARE he have something to say about my weight. My neighbour has three kids, her twins are 22 months and she is hardly overweight. Perhaps he is just being supportive, or kind, or trying to motivate her, but I would have been pissed off.
Same goes for my friend L, I would be mortified if my husband made remarks about my weight, even in a joking way. I would never be able to shrug it off. But perhaps she is more confident within herself. In fact she probably is. Good for her.
It made me think: would I love my husband less if he put on weight? No. But I will be honest and say that if he was grossly overweight I would probably find him less physically attractive; I have always been attracted to skinny blokes. However, if he let himself go to the point of personal hygiene, then yes, I would love him less because I would interpret that as a lack of respect for me.
So, I guess I am a bit all over the place on this one. Yes, I agree that one shouldn’t let oneself go after getting married. But I disagree that you owe your husband a certain weight or shape. I think you owe it to yourself to be a shape or weight that you truly feel comfortable in. After all, part of the great thing about marriage is the ability to be comfortable with each other, to look past the external flaws and love the person as they are, warts and all. Like it or not, we do change; we get heavier, older, wrinklier, balder, saggier. But you can be all of that and still take pride in yourself and look and be attractive; and I think that is the trick.
It doesn’t matter if you are 10, 15 or 50 pounds heavier than you were when you got married; if you take pride in yourself and dress nicely, do your hair, spray some perfume on, wear pretty earrings etc, you will feel nice and you will look nice. And I am sure that is all that most men want. They want us to like ourselves and to be happy. Because they know, the happier we are within ourselves the sexier we will feel, and that can only mean good things for the long suffering husband. A happy wife makes a happy husband.
So false advertising? Maybe not. But you do owe it to yourself and consequently your relationship to look after yourself and to be happy within yourself. Comfortable yes; letting yourself go, no.
A fascinating debate.
NOTE: We are not talking about a few pounds heavier, that happens as a matter of course (it’s called middle aged spread!), we are talking about significant weight gain.
More bloggers weighing in on the debate
Please note: I am looking for your own experiences or feelings. Please do NOT make personal remarks about any of the people mentioned in my post, not about them, their husbands or their relationships. Please respect that.