Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Successful Marriage Must Go Through Thick And Thin

Dear Tazi:

You know the old stereotype that once a woman get married she lets her figure go? Well, my husband is the one in this marriage who has let himself go. “Mason” and I got married three years ago after dating for two years. While dating, he went to the gym every day, watched what he ate, and was actively involved in sports – he played softball for a local men’s league, soccer with the guys, and was always ready for a pick-up game of basketball. He even volunteered as an Assistant Coach for his nephew’s Little League team!  Together we would pack a picnic lunch and go bike riding or go roller-blading after dinner. We were healthy, athletic individuals and a healthy, athletic couple. Now, I am a healthy, athletic individual and Mason is a couch potato.

The first year of our marriage was great, but during our second year Mason got passed over for a promotion at work because he did not have an MBA and the person – the woman – who got the job did. This bruised Mason’s ego in more ways than one; I love my husband, but losing to a woman is not something he does very well. This prompted Mason to return to school to work towards his MBA. While I am supportive of this decision, he was not prepared for the strain of working full-time and going to school full-time.

Since returning to school Mason has been “too tired” to do anything but go to work, go to class, eat, and sleep. Oh, and of course he always manages to find the energy to have sex, even when I am no longer turned on by his bloated body! He has gained about fifty pounds over the last two years since he gave up the gym, softball, and other sports. He lo longer has the time to accompany me on an after dinner bike ride and our weekends consist of him working on projects while I take off with our friends.

I have told Mason that I want the man I married back, and that he needs to start making exercise and proper diet a priority again (that’s another thing; he eats a lot of fast food and cafeteria food now). Mason got very upset with me and told me that he knows he has gained weight, but that an MBA program is “no bicycle ride through the park”. (This comment hurt me!).  He went on to say that if we eventually have children I will gain weight and probably have a tough time taking it off, and then the shoe will be on the other foot.

Tazi, I would love to have children, but not until Mason gets back into better shape! I want the father of my children to be there for them, to coach their Little League teams and to simply be alive long enough to see them graduate high school, college, and even dance at their weddings! My father was a large man and he passed shortly before my wedding; I don’t want my future children to feel this same pain. How can I convince Mason to turn back the clock and return to being the man I married?

Athletic Abby

Dear Athletic Abby:

A dear friend of my Mommie is currently in an MBA program while working full-time, so I would say that I have seen first-hand the commitment it requires, but I cannot – I have not seen Mommie’s friend in quite some time because she is so swamped by school and work! An MBA program is a full-time job in and of itself, so to be working full-time and working towards an MBA full-time leaves precious little time for anything else.

If Mason signed up for an MBA program on a whim and was not prepared for the commitment it involved, I can see why he is feeling like he is spiraling through a dark tunnel with no light at the end of it. The fact that he was accepted into such a competitive program tells me that he has the background and the aptitude to succeed, and that solid time-management skills may be what are needed to help him find his way back to you and the life you created before school took over his.

As an athlete you already know how exercise can be a great stress reliever; I think it is time you gently remind your husband of how good working out made him feel. I suggest that instead of pressuring him to join you on a bike ride that you look into a set of stationary bicycles so you can work out side by side while allowing Mason to get some reading done at the same time. If he balks at this suggestion, suggest a treadmill, or a stair climber, or any other stationary exercise machine that will allow him to get his academic reading done while doing something other than lying on the couch! My Mommie and her classmates always used to read their Anatomy textbooks while on the treadmill – not only did it make the reading more interesting (Hey, look! I am exercising my gastrocnemius and soleus muscles!) it also made the time on the treadmill go a little bit quicker.

Most people just call them calves...

I realize that Mason has gained a significant amount of weight, but expressing the idea that you are “no longer turned on by his bloated body” (either verbally or by physically pushing him away) is not going to motivate him to start working out; rather, it is going to crush his ego and leave him feeling even more stressed than he already is. How did you feel when he suggested that you will be the one gaining weight if you were to have children? Do you think you will be able to maintain your high level of activity when motherhood becomes your primary focus?

I think you and Mason need to work towards better communication and understanding. You need to tell Mason what you told me – that you are concerned about his health and that you are afraid of losing him to a heart attack or stroke (leave out the part where you say you are no longer attracted to his bloated body!); Mason needs to communicate to you ways you can be supportive of his educational endeavors; and together you need to get back to common ground in order to make your marriage work. I think some sessions with a marriage counselor will be most helpful!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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