It’s no secret that many Americans have a weight problem. I’m not pointing any fingers here, but the data doesn’t lie – the CDC reports that 35.7% of American adults are “obese.”
And while there are plenty of health concerns related to weight (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.), it can also have a serious effect on the quality of your marriage – and many people simply don’t recognize this fact.
In terms of a marriage, weight (and more specifically, being unhealthily overweight) plays an important role in both the physical and psychological components of your relationship. Here’s how:
Being overweight can certainly have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Body image is an important part of our psychological makeup, and if we aren’t happy with the way we look and feel, it starts to take a toll on other areas of our lives. This isn’t to say that you need to have a perfect body, or that everyone who is even remotely overweight is going to have self-esteem issues – but this is a very real problem for many, many people.
When your self-esteem suffers and you don’t think very highly of yourself, it can make it difficult to accept affection from others. Even if you don’t recognize that it’s happening, if you don’t love yourself, you tend to act as though others shouldn’t either.
Needless to say, if you’re rejecting affection and love from your spouse, it can create some troubles in your marriage.
There’s no delicate way to put this: when you’re not in shape, your energy levels suffer, plain and simple. Your body has to work harder, and the systems at work (your muscles, heart, lungs, etc.) probably aren’t the most efficient. The end result is that you get tired more easily, shy away from challenging or strenuous activity, or worse, settle into sedentary lifestyle.
It takes energy and effort to maintain your marriage though. You and your spouse should be having fun! More energy means more interest in activities with your spouse, more gusto for playing with the kids, and simply more vigor for everyday life!
Just the amount of “get up and go” you have on a daily basis has a direct influence on your marriage. When you’re getting things done around the house, excited about going new places, energetic about new projects, and the like, this kind of forward thinking breeds happiness and marital satisfaction.
The opposite of energetic is stagnant – and that’s definitely something you don’t want your marriage to be.
This is related to #1, but deserves its own entry. Just as low self-esteem can affect the way you react to the affection of others, it can also manifest itself in an outward projection of negativity. In other words, if you’re critical of yourself, you’re more likely to be critical of others.
Projecting that kind of negativity onto your spouse can turn into a vicious cycle, where you both suffer from low self-esteem, project it onto one another, and continually reduce each other’s feelings of confidence (along with your own).
To take it a step further, when you take this negativity out into your daily life, it clouds everything you do, from interactions with strangers to stress at work, which means an even worse mood, damaged relationships, and a landslide of negative backlash – all stemming from personal criticisms you project onto others.
4. Sex Life
Ok, this one’s the doozie. The effect that weight has on sex life is a culmination of the points mentioned above – and more. First and foremost, the issue of self-esteem has everything to do with how sexy you feel, and in turn the level of confidence and sex appeal you show your spouse.
Sure, your outward appearance will have an impact on how your spouse sees you, but the way you feel about yourself (and how that changes the way you present yourself) is a huge component of how attractive you are to your spouse.
Secondly, the relationship between low energy and problems with your sex life should be pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t have the energy, you might not even want to engage – and when you do, you may be less than satisfied if it just seems difficult and tiring.
Now, here’s where it goes even further. Beyond the behavioral and psychological downsides, your physical health has a direct impact on your sex drive. Exercise releases endorphins (feel good chemicals) into your brain, which make you happier and more attractive, but that’s not all. Exercise also boosts the amount of testosterone in your body, which directly affects libido.
So, if exercise has these positive effects, the opposite is also true. Without much physical activity, those levels of testosterone can dwindle – and take your libido down with them. Not only does your health affect the quality of your sex life, it also affects your desire to have a sex life in the first place.
The long and short of the matter is this: the healthier you are, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the better spouse you can be. From damaging your sex life to damaging your perception of yourself and others around you, ignoring your health (and with it, your weight) is irresponsible – and may be causing more trouble in your marriage than you know.
Remember, we’re not saying you need to have a perfect body, or that being a little overweight is going to ruin your marriage or destroy your sex life. Instead, this message is about awareness, to let you know that health and weight issues actually run a lot deeper than most people assume.
Don’t let your marriage fall victim to these problems! Keep an eye on your weight, and make your health (and with it, your marriage) a priority in your life!