A busy 40- to 50-hour work week, kids that need shuttling to and from school and extra-curriculars … and a gradually decreasing metabolism.
Young, working couples with no kids may have more time to be active and healthy. Long morning walks, three trips to the gym every week playing sport with friends cooking their way through gourmet recipes.
Then life happens. Children, promotions at work that lead to more responsibility and longer hours.
A couple’s free time together begins to dry up. Five-a- side night turns into crashing on the couch for a few hours before bed. Weekend bike trips or trivia nights turn into weekend rushes to and from kids’ parties or sporting activities and gourmet cookbooks are replaced by fast food menus.
Then there’s the money crunch. Even couples with a financial plan in place tend to worry more about money once a mortgage, car payments, and children enter the picture. Many couples start pinching pennies at the expense of their creature comforts and well-being. New clothes and a replacement for that worn-out mattress aren’t as important as saving for college tuition or eventual retirement. Frozen meals and take-aways are quick fixes when there’s so little time to cook a good meal before your daughter’s dance lessons.
The risks involved when we start neglecting our health are real, and harder to correct as we continue to age. But there are emotional consequences as well, especially if one spouse slips out of shape faster than the other. Innocuous suggestions like, “Let’s take a trip to the farmer’s market” or “How about we re-start our gym membership?” can feel laced with criticism. A loss of confidence, feelings of depression, and inattentiveness to basic hygiene and appearance can follow. Money – already the most common source of marital friction – will continue to be a barrier to self-improvement. Unhealthy people don’t like being told they’re unhealthy, and will often put off preventative care, like annual checkups.
If you or your spouse are struggling with a similar scenario, take a moment to work through the following questions and suggestions together:
Questions to Ask
Are you and your spouse able to maintain your health without any financial stress?
Do you and your spouse regularly confirm your health and overall well-being with your doctors?
Is your level of physical activity higher or lower now than it used to be? If you’re about to retire, do you anticipate a more or less active lifestyle?
What are some physical recreational activities that you enjoy?
What is a recreational activity you’ve never tried, but deep down always wanted to try?
How old is your furniture, especially your bed and mattress?
How many fresh meals do you and your spouse cook and eat at home every week?