Your spouse, regardless of their weight, is a human being that deserves empathy, compassion, and respect. Bullying, emotionally abusing, and/or manipulating your spouse into losing weight is unacceptable behavior that can cause trauma. Even if it’s a matter of life and death, you cannot control another person, especially when it comes to something as personal as their weight. 

Why Is It So Hard for My Wife to Lose Weight? 

If your partner has put on weight, regardless of whether or not they’re happy about it, it’s important to treat your partner with respect, compassion, empathy, and overall care for their physical and emotional well-being. That being said, it’s important to approach the subject of weight with an understanding that certain biological factors and certain social factors can make it more difficult for women to lose weight, or maintain a very low body weight. Not only do they tend to be shorter (which usually means a lower caloric intake), but they also tend to have slower metabolisms due to lower muscle mass. On top of all that, women are generally the primary caregivers of the children and they’re the ones who go through pregnancy—both things that can cause weight fluctuation. Because of all this, mandating that your wife be able to zip up the same jeans that she wore in high-school is unrealistic for many women. Aging can also cause both men and women to gain weight. Because injuries can be more severe and take longer to heal, older adults may have a more difficult time staying in shape due to injuries, aches, and pains. 

How Can I Convince My Wife to Lose Weight? 

You can’t —and you shouldn’t try to either. If a person wants to lose weight, they need to come to that decision by themselves—not because their spouse has made them feel so terrible about themselves that there’s nothing left to do but lose weight. If your spouse does not want to lose weight, you should not be trying to get them to lose weight. Pestering them, making passive-aggressive comments, and nagging can all have a decidedly negative impact on a person’s self esteem. In some cases, spouses have resorted to manipulative and emotionally abusive behaviors in order to get their spouses to lose weight. Such behaviors can cause the other spouse to develop eating disorders and other mental health concerns. 

Does Weight Matter in a Marriage? 

While fluctuations in weight can change cause fluctuation in physical attraction alone, many people in happy marriages report that they love their spouse just as much as they did when their spouse was at a lower weight. If your spouse’s weight gain is significantly distressing, it may be a sign that there are other problems in the relationship. Generally, “relationship problems” aren’t easy to see with your eyes. Weight gain, on the other hand, can be spotted with the naked eye. Because of this, weight gain may be treated as a scapegoat for other problems in the marriage. For example, a person may think that their spouse’s weight gain is the reason they’re unhappy in a marriage when, in reality, it’s the lack of dates that’s causing the dissatisfaction. However, the person who’s unsatisfied is fixating on the weight because it’s a tangible and visible difference. 

Is Weight Gain Grounds for Divorce? 

Only you can decide for yourself what you’re willing to put up with in a marriage and what you’re not willing to put up with. However, it should be noted that divorce is messy, and while it may solve one problem, it often brings along many more problems. While you may want to change your spouse’s appearance, it’s important to remember that you (hopefully) married them for reasons other than their physical appearance. If mental or emotional changes have caused your spouse to become a different person, it may be worth it to seek out help from a qualified mental health professional to heal the rift between you and your spouse instead of getting divorced over weight gain. 

Support Your Spouse in Their Goals 

You can’t force your spouse to lose weight if they don’t want to. However, if your spouse does want to lose weight, it’s important for you to be a supportive spouse. Note: supportive does not mean bullying and emotionally abusing your spouse into losing weight! If your spouse does want to lose weight, make sure they have time to engage in a physical activity that they find to be fun and fulfilling. This may mean that you watch the kids while they’re at the gym, or you make room in the budget for them to be able to go to the gym. Many people struggle to lose weight if they’re constantly eating out and surrounded by junk food. This may mean that you refrain from buying junk food, and help your spouse cook healthy meals at home.