Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Encourage Healthy Habits in your Spouse

Good habits are contagious. Over my married life, Zeke has instilled great habits in me and vice-versa. 6 years ago when I wrote "Should my Man Diet with Me?" we were in a different place in life. Today I want to tell you about some things that happened in our relationship so that we both could start and stick with a healthier lifestyle. 
I'm so proud of my husband. 
Encouragement first and always - births, deaths, moving, changing jobs, losing friends, gaining friends, joy and disappointment have happened to us these past 6 years. I have found that encouraging my husband in his health journey is the best way to see positive results. It's not always easy but I am a witness that it is worth it. I learned that you can't force someone to change but you sure can be their source of encouragement, assurance and support. 
Perseverance pays great dividends - most people won't do what you say but you can't argue with results. I believe that my perseverance over these past 6 years were a great witness to my husband that what I was doing worked. I started our married life frustrated with my extra 66 pounds so I proceeded to lose them. Once I lost them, I got happily pregnant and gained weight again (repeat that process 2 more times in 3 years). My steady persistence to a healthy lifestyle has made an impact in the way we live. I can't point to a diet or a specific exercise program for success. I can point to a God who created my body and who told me exactly what I should do in order to enjoy optimum health. Even my failures were used as teachable moments. I don't always succeed but I can always start where I am. In the face of challenges, be sure to persevere my friend. 
Prayer is the secret weapon - I have prayed for my husband's health for years and I will continue to do so. My desire is for him to enjoy optimum health. My prayer is that God will help him live a lifestyle that glorifies God through his body. My prayer is not that God will help Zeke change on the outside (the man is GREAT looking already!) but that God will change his heart so that his health can come from the inside out. When I wrote Should my Man Diet with Me? in 2008 Zeke disliked running. Today Zeke is getting ready to run his first half marathon. I never prayed that Zeke would like everything I do but as I keep living my life I see that we are discovering new common interests as a couple. All glory to God who is the only One who can really change people (starting with me). I know that my duty is to be a faithful intercessor. I pray until I see the answer. 
God gave me a second chance and I took it.

One of the most heart-warming things I hear my husband say when people ask about his health journey is that I never made him feel bad for not being a runner. He is always there for 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, you name it. I feel blessed and because of God's work in my heart, Zeke never felt condemned. 
I'll be honest with you and tell you that my heart condition has not always been like this. I tried to manipulate him to change. I've left books and random articles laying around the house. I've dragged him to nutrition education meetings and none of this worked. The day I realized that only God can initiate and cause real change, I was free from the need of making my husband's health makeover happen.
Our fist 10K together in April of 2014. God is good!
I want to encourage those of you who hope that your family will be healthier. Start by submitting yourself to God. He has the plan you need because He created you. The Creator has the right to tell the creation how it is supposed to work for maximum impact. As you see positive results in your life, encourage your spouse. Life is not perfect so remember that perseverance is necessary. Lastly, pray until you see the answer. 
May God bless you and your family to live long, healthy and abundant lives.

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