A spouse who drinks too much, overeats, or smokes isn’t just harming their own health. They can also cause their partner distress by doing so.
We worry about the people we love, and it’s hard to watch them self-destruct by putting themselves at an increased risk for various diseases. But the topic of unhealthy habits is quite touchy
How can we handle it with grace and help our partner in the process?
In this article, we’ll try to answer this question and give you a few tips about the dos and don’ts of handling your spouse’s unhealthy habits.
1. Get involved Instead of criticizing
If your partner drinks or overeats after work, instead of starting an argument about it, find activities to do together. Look for things that would distract them from having another drink.
Consider a walk to a park, or visit a museum. Make sure you find activities that you both enjoy and keep your partner away from the means that fuel his or her unhealthy habits.
2. Don’t compare your spouse with others
One of the most hurtful things you can do is start making comparisons. Rather than comparing your partner to others, try making them excited about what they could be capable of or how their health would improve if they would just try a little harder to ditch some unhealthy habits.
Focus on their potential so that they’re more likely to open up to you and speak about what’s eating them on the inside. When you criticize and compare, instead of opening a conversation, you’ll only make your partner hide the way they feel even more.
3. Don’t get other family members involved
This tactic only leads to shaming, and it often isn’t a great motivator. Plus, your partner will feel betrayed because now you’re sharing what’s happening in your personal life with others without his or her approval.
If you want to have an “intervention” type of conversation, make sure you don’t get anyone else involved, because it will only damage your relationship with your spouse. It might be tempting to have other people backing you up, but in many cases, when someone has unhealthy habits, they’re aware of it. You won’t be needing someone to bring even further proof.
Are you afraid your spouse’s unhealthy habits put a strain on your relationship? Contact a professional to find out what can be done to help your partner without making them feel like you aren’t putting their interests first.