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 | By Steve and Bridget Patton

He says: She’s become obsessed with her health and diet

She's at the gym several hours a day. Can't we have a pizza and a movie together occasionally and not count the calories?

She says: It’s the most important thing; he should care more

He should care about his health as much as I do. Why isn't he at the gym more?

Everyone agrees that maintaining one’s health and fitness are worthy goals. The quarrel here is not about that, but about how much is good enough versus how much is too much.

The problem is that there’s not necessarily one right answer. Two reasonable, healthy and fit people can have very different and equally valid perspectives. For example, what might seem to her to be just the right amount of time and attention given to diet and exercise could seem “obsessive” to him, while what’s just right for him could seem careless and irresponsible to her.

Try this: Start by seeing your doctor(s) to establish basic, objective standards for your health and fitness. From the sound of it, she’s probably doing fine in this regard. Now, if he actually has some health issues related to diet and exercise, then he should make some changes, not just for his sake but for hers, too. As her husband, his body belongs not just to him but to her. Sure, she took him “for better and for worse,” but that’s no license for him to be unconcerned about his health. On the contrary, out of love for her he should always be striving to maximize all that is “better” about him while minimizing the “worse.”

But if he’s in basic, objectively good health, then she needs to give it a rest. His obligation to maintain his health doesn’t mean he has to approach it with the same vigor that she does. Bottom line: They don’t necessarily have to eat the same things or spend the same number of hours exercising.

Now look at the flip side. Might she need to scale back her intensity a bit? What he says does raise a flag potentially if maintaining top physical form is more important to her than maintaining top form in their relationship. The quality of their relationship matters far more than the health of their bodies.

And most important of all is the health of their relationship(s) with God: “While physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future.” (1 Tm 4: 8-9)

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