Guys, is your wife constantly encouraging—or even nagging—you to take better care of yourself? I recently heard from a man who thought he was doing a decent job in that area. He—like you, perhaps—works out sometimes and tries to eat healthy when he can, although he does enjoy junk food and (literally!) gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar a bit too often. Lately, he’s noticed that his wife is less receptive to his advances and doesn’t seem to be as passionate about him as she was before. And almost every night after dinner she asks him to go to the gym or take walk with her. He asked me how to get her off his back and get the romantic side of their relationship back on track.
Well, I honestly think this guy is completely missing the point of what his wife has been trying to tell him! If he wants her to respond to his advances, he’s going to have to address her concerns. Because, believe it or not, husbands, how healthy you are really matters to your wife. And she might not think you’re doing as good a job at taking care of yourself as you think you are.
She’s not unusual in caring about this, by the way. Even though women aren’t as “visual” as men are, the effort men put into taking care of themselves and being healthy has a huge impact on women. Why? I saw two things in my research that you really need to know.
Your wife cares about your health because she wants you around!
First, your wife cares about whether you’re taking care of yourself because she loves you and wants you around! I have heard so many women say things like, “Doesn’t he understand how important it is to me that he stays healthy so I have the security that he is going to be around for a long time? I want to grow old together!”
Guys may not realize it, but when they’re in front of the TV multiple nights in a row, double-fisting Oreos, it can register in a woman’s heart as, “It must not matter to him how much I need him.” You might be surprised to know that it’s not just about what you eat, or about taking a walk after dinner, either. The big health issues matter too. Women need to see that their man will actually go to the doctor—and then do what they recommend—when something seems wrong, rather than being stubborn about it!
Taking care of yourself pays off in the bedroom.
The second reason your health matters to her gets back to that bedroom thing. I know from my research that every man wants to feel desired by his wife—and that feeling of being desired gives him confidence in every other area of his life. However, what many men don’t realize is how much their wives’ sexual desire is hindered by their own lack of effort to take care of themselves. In fact, in my women’s conferences I’ve heard a lot of women say, “Doesn’t he get it? It’s hard to find him desirable when he doesn’t take care of himself!”
As my husband, Jeff, puts it when he talks to men’s groups, “If we want our wives to find us desirable and provide them security, that means we have to make the effort to take care of ourselves, too. Most guys wish their wives would be more receptive in the bedroom, but we’re not seeing our role in the disconnect. In our interviews and surveys of women, many of them have privately said, ‘You know, it’s hard to be receptive and passionate towards a guy with a two-day-old beard and garlic breath!’”
Team up with your spouse to pursue your health goals together.
So men, what can you do about your wife’s concerns about your health? For starters, take her desire for your well-being seriously. And if she’s offered to support you by partnering up for walks, workouts, or other healthy endeavors, take her up on it! Be more active and watch what you eat. Even (gasp!) go to the doctor when you feel sick or you have some other health issue. These small gestures will make her feel really loved. And I bet that love will translate into a desire to be with you and receptiveness to your advances.
Having a shared goal towards health can be a real encouragement as you see the other person make the effort to care for themselves. What a great way to honor each other—now and for a very long time to come!
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Shaunti Feldhahn loves sharing eye-opening information that helps people thrive in life and relationships. She herself started out with a Harvard graduate degree and Wall Street credentials but no clue about life. After an unexpected shift into relationship research for average people like her, she now is a popular speaker and author of best-selling books about men, women and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).
Her latest book, Find Rest: A Women’s Devotional for Lasting Peace in Busy Life, focuses on a journey to rest even with life’s constant demands.
Visit www.shaunti.com for more.