Healthy You: Healthy Husbands – How to Help Your Husband Live Healthier Without Nagging Him to Death

Women are the caretakers of health, constantly watching out for the health interests of the family – whether they like it or not. Like all well-meaning advice-givers, sometimes the ‘help’ isn’t well received. You say, “Maybe that’s enough, honey” when your husband is on his fourth glass of wine. He hears, “You are a fat, lazy, drunken cow.”

The problem is women and men have a completely different approach to health. Women tend to be pro-active and ask a lot of questions for themselves and their family. Even when the appointment is about her peri-menopausal weight gain, she will ask about her husband’s love handles and her child’s aversion to cheese. We can’t seem to help ourselves; we want to spread the wealth.

Men wish to come in once a year and be told the three things they can do better that will solve the problem at hand. If those things make sense to them and are easy to do, they will do them. Period. Our constant barrage of unsolicited health advice is perceived as ‘nagging’ or criticism.

Behind the Friction: Why Men and Women Approach Health Differently

She does not think her husband is stupid or lazy she tries to help – well at least the first 25 times anyway. She is biologically designed and socially driven to take care of her husband. What her “nagging” is, really, is worry.

She worries what will happen to her, how the kids will be if they have to grow up without a father. She worries that if she doesn’t say something his habits will get worse. She also does not like acting like his mother and wishes that he would accept responsibility for himself so she can start worrying about herself again and leave him alone. Win-win.

He is biologically designed differently. He is made and socialized to ignore the feelings of hunger, thirst and use of the bathroom so he learns from an early age to shut these distractions out. If you think about it in an anthropological sense, he has to ignore these sensations in order to keep hunting or gathering or protecting the pack.

Slowing down to poop is a dangerous, smelly proposition (which also explains why he feels the need to hide in the bathroom/cave until the job is done and the danger is past). He wants to be healthy and safe. He also wants to hear advice from his caring wife, but he needs the information to be simple and framed in the positive.

How to Help Your Husband Live a Healthier Life

#1: Know and accept that men and women are different in how they approach health, neither is wrong and both can do better.

#2: She needs to limit her “tips” to three.

#3: He needs to hear her tips as love rather than nag.

#4: She needs to frame her tips in the positive tone of voice (saying “you can’t” or “you shouldn’t” doesn’t work, he needs to hear the plan and the goal):

  • Let’s get a special bottle of wine for Friday nights so we can look forward to it!
  • If I stopped drinking wine during the week, will you help me and do it too?
  • I am going to make more vegetables and show the kids we can do better! Which one would you like to see more of?
  • You did so well last week! Let’s do it again!

As pathetic as it sounds, we all need positive reinforcement and someone has to start it. I wish it weren’t true and I know it isn’t always easy but, man, does it work.

#5: He needs to listen. Nod and smile and appreciate. That’s simple, right?

Laugh, eat well and be inspired at www.myfriendinfood.com where Theresa shares her weekly meal solutions!

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About Theresa Albert
THERESA ALBERT, DHN, RNCP, is a registered nutritional consulting practitioner with a busy private practice in Toronto. Her new book Ace Your Health: 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck (McClelland & Stewart) is a fun, practical guide to making healthy, weekly changes for improved health using morsels of information and tasty, healthy recipes. Her television show "Just One Bite" aired on the Food Network for over two years in a daily time slot and introduced her energetic style to millions. She is also the author of Cook Once a Week, Eat Well Every Day. Theresa is a recognizable news media and online face as a resource for consumers and marketers who seek to remove the bologna from their lunchboxes and their news. She writes a free weekly newsletter to make you laugh, eat well and be inspired at www.myfriendinfood.com

  • http://solushunz.in Web Designer Company India

    Hi Theresa ,
    nice post for wife’s n i think they like it n thanx for sharing.

  • Nunja

     You need to write a companion column…”How to Help Your Wife Live Healthier Without Nagging Her to Death” There ARE us healthier husbands out there who have wives who lead an unhealthy life style. There are such people, you know?

  • Now very fit with wife’s help

    Yes Nunja, I agree some men have wives living unhealthy lives as well, but those are fewer than the opposite (i.e. there are probably a lot more wives having unhealthy husband) as women are usually more interested in healthy living and fitness than men, so why shouldn’t wive’s give their husbands tips on how to become more healthy and fit? As long as she does it with respect and in a constructive way, I don’t see the problem.

    Before I met my wife, I found it hard to motivate myself to live healthier and fitter. Now, 5 years after I’m as fit as I’ve never been before and feel good with a lot of energy to spend throughout the day. She’s been helping with fitness routine, and she’s taken charge of the kitchen in terms of finding healthy stuff to eat. And the results from her knowhow apart from the aforementioned extra energy? More stamina and strength and also visible results, I even have a six pack, albeit still somewhat weakly defined. (working on that)

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