First of all, the bad news. As someone who’s been married for several decades and been a life coach and couples therapist for as many years, there’s one thing I’ve learned: We cannot “get” our partner to do anything. One of the most important things I know is that we are not in charge of our partner’s choices; we cannot convince, shame, or bribe true change in another person.
For some of us, the movement toward a healthier lifestyle comes gradually as we integrate new ways of living into how we’ve done it for most of our lives. We discover yoga helps our body with flexibility, or that a diet with less gluten and more greens makes us feel better, or that a gratitude journal offers better payoffs than a resentment log. Other times, a moment of revelation like a personal or medical crisis causes us to revamp our lifestyle and make changes quickly.
However we get there, once we experience the benefits of healthy living, we want our partner to join us. Perhaps we’ve noticed the rewards we’re experiencing and begin to worry about our partner’s weight, stress levels, and overall health. One of the most difficult issues I see among couples is when they have lived in a certain way together for a long time and then one person “gets healthy,” then tries to save the other by preaching the gospel of a healthy lifestyle. I promise you, this will not go over well.
However, there are still some things you can do. Here are four suggestions, from the easiest to the hardest: