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She says: “He’s gained weight and I’m not attracted to him anymore.”

Susan says: Ken was fit and handsome when we got married. We used to spend a lot of time outdoors playing tennis and hiking. Now, the only exercise he gets is the weekly walk around the yard behind the lawn mower. The rest of the time he does nothing but watch sports on TV – and it shows. This is becoming a “deal-breaker” for me.

He says: “I’m too stressed to exercise.”

Ken says: Susan didn’t mention that I got a new job a couple of years ago. I work long days and have a three-hour daily commute. When I get home, I am absolutely exhausted. All I want is a few minutes of quiet time on the couch in front of the TV before I go to bed and start the whole thing over again in the morning. I’d like a little support, instead of constant nagging to work out.

Tom says, “Most of us were fit and handsome when we got married, but time, our natural maturing cycle and the stress associated with daily life tend to modify us.”
    Along with the inevitable pull of gravity and the normal changes of time, having a new job with a long commute and no time for exercise can take a physical toll and put a stress on marriages, as well.
    Ken and Susan need to become intentional about the adjustments both need to make. The fact that Ken has a daily three-hour commute most certainly will cut down on the time both will have to spend together nurturing their relationship. When we marry, the vows we take, in part, say, “in sickness and in health.” Jo thinks they should also say, “... and especially when our bodies change due to difficult schedules and lack of the right activities.”
    We remember all too well the time in our life together when Tom was faced with a long commute each day and the toll it took on our family life and on our relationship. It, too, became a deal-breaker for us; it forced us into making a difficult, life-altering change. As Jo pointed out, it was only after a lot of heart-to-heart communicating between the two of us, and then taking it to prayer, that we were we able to come to a solution we could both accept.
    Ken and Susan, this is a time for the two of you to be open to each other in your communications. Ask what can you do for each other to keep your relationship number one in each other’s heart. We both believe the real issue for Ken and Susan is not Ken’s weight! That is a manifestation of something deeper: a loss of feeling special in each other’s eyes. For example, if it was only about the lawn not being mowed, Jo suggests you could hire someone to mow the yard, thus creating some time for the two of you to go hiking, or play a game of tennis, or maybe just planning a 30-minute walk  twice a week so you can share some events of your day.
    Paradoxically, Ken also may find he has more energy just by expending a little energy. Even a short walk in the evening with Susan, after the daily commute, would be enough to gain additional energy. While they are walking and talking, they should refrain from put-downs and innuendoes. Focus, instead, on what made your relationship grow, why you fell in love with each other, why you are proud of each other and what makes your spouse special. Remember that loving someone means helping them see new ways to grow. In fact, when you rekindle that special feeling for each other, you will once again see Jesus in the face of your beloved and it will become a whole lot easier to forgive each other for the weight redistribution that mother nature inflicts on all of us. 

Deacon Tom and JoAnne Fogle

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