You love your partner deeply. That means you love everything about her. The way she makes you laugh, the sparkle in her eyes when she smiles, and her always upbeat attitude.
But wait…on second thought, you love almost everything. You just wish that she wasn’t so heavy. Sure, she’s a great woman already, but she’d be perfect if she’d just lose those extra pounds.
Weight makes a difference in many relationships. Popular culture sets unrealistic expectations for women, and they’re expected to confirm. The standard for beauty is being rail thin, while in reality 64 percent of American women are overweight, according to the government’s Weight Control Information Network.
If you’re dating a woman who’s overweight, or your wife is carrying some extra pounds, what does that mean to you? Does her weight really make a difference? If so, you need to honestly ask yourself, “Why?”
A Variety of Reasons
Men wish their partners weren’t so heavy for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is that unrealistic beauty standard. They’re bombarded with media images of slim, sexy women, and they wish their partners could be the same. Often they conveniently forget that they probably don’t measure up to the toned and muscled male perfection stereotype. Ironically, men are even more likely to be overweight than women, with 74 percent of American males carrying extra body baggage.
Sometimes, men want their girlfriends or wives to be thinner because of the impression it gives to others. They like the thought of impressing other guys by showing them, “Look at this hottie, and all she’s all mine!”
Not all reasons are so self-centered. Some men worry about their partners’ health. It’s a fact that being overweight carries an increased risk for problems like diabetes, strokes and heart disease. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute warns of those and many other potential issues. When you love someone, you want that person to take care of her health because you want to be with her for as long as possible.
This is especially true if you’re dating someone with marriage seriously on your mind. Traditional marriage vows join a couple “until death do you part.” Jesus himself said of married couples:
So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don’t let man tear apart. Matthew 19:6
No man wants to be torn apart from the woman he loves by a premature heart attack or complications from diabetes or another obesity-related illness. He might want her to lose weight to improve her health rather than to make her more pleasing to his eyes.
Give the Right Encouragement
If your partner’s weight matters to you for the right reasons, there’s a certain way to talk to her about it. Many women are very sensitive about their weight, and you can hurt them deeply if they feel you’re verbally attacking them.
Approach the topic in a way that shows your concern and that invites her partner to share her own views on the topic. For example, you could say, “I love you so much, and I want us to be together for a lifetime. That means I want you to be as healthy as you possibly can. Have you ever thought about making any lifestyle changes for better health?”
This lets your girlfriend or wife know how much you care about her, setting up a positive mind frame for the question. Then you keep your query general instead of focusing directly on weight.
Instead of putting her on the spot, you can take the initiative to create a healthier lifestyle for both of you. Ask her if she’d like to join a health club together and visit as a couple on certain nights of the week. Suggest healthy date activities, like hiking and bicycling. Invite her on long, romantic walks that give you together time while also helping you both to get some exercise. Cook her a delicious but healthy meal.
Change Shouldn’t Be Necessary
While it’s nice to support your partner on a weight loss program, it shouldn’t be necessary condition of your relationship. God loves us unconditionally, so how can we extend anything less than that same attitude to someone we love?
If your girlfriend or wife’s weight bothers you, do a little soul searching. Maybe it’s just one of those things to accept in the same way she accepts your annoying habits or other things she doesn’t like about you. Consider it a bonus if she decides to lose weight, but don’t let it get in the way of an otherwise fulfilling relationship.