Hmmm I fear that I may have to put a disclaimer on this post just to avoid having my head bitten off.
But seriously, I think I'm going to have to put, "I mean this...but I don't mean this," about fifty times. Here goes....
Duncan and I like to joke around about getting old. I say to him, "Will you still love me when I'm old and wrinkly and saggy baggy?"
He always replies with, "Yes, honey. I'll still love you, honey." Then he adds a joke about my boobs being down around my knees someday. Ha! I tell him that I don't have any now anyway so I've got nothing to worry about.
When Duncan asks me if I'll still love him when he's bald, I tell him, "Only if you go to Advanced Hair (yeah yeah)."
'Til death do us part' in marriage often involves growing old together. The aging process is part of life and, despite all the lotions and potions on the market these days, nothing can reverse that.
But you can grow old gracefully...or you can grow old disgracefully.
I honestly think there is a place for looking after yourself when you're married (or at any stage of life). Knowing that some people may take this the wrong way, I'd better proceed cautiously.
I do NOT mean a 1950s kind of idea where a woman is expected to put on makeup and a pretty dress to greet her husband when he gets home from work, despite having a busy, stressful day of raising kids.
I do NOT mean things about our bodies which may impossible to change (such as women regaining a pre-baby figure).
I am NOT advocating plastic surgery, liposuction, tummy tucks, boob jobs etc.
I am NOT suggesting you need to spend hundreds of dollars on a designer wardrobe.
Now that's out of the way, I DO mean that each spouse should make an effort to look after themselves. Yes, this is not a woman being told, "You need to look good for your husband." The onus is on the husband as well.
Look after yourself and your body.
For women, this might mean foregoing that extra block of chocolate (especially if you are going to complain about your weight afterwards). Comfort eating does not work!
For men, this might mean taking your health seriously and going to see a doctor, rather than assuming, "It's all good, mate." And that beer gut didn't appear on its own.
Nearly two years ago now, Duncan decided he was fed up with his weight and that he was going to do something about it. So during harvest 2009, he gave up eating cake, biscuits etc while he was driving the truck, and replaced them with fruit. He said it was hard going at first and he felt so tired, but his body eventually adjusted and he lost 10-15kg. He has managed to keep it off! Now Duncan didn't lose weight for me (he primarily did it for himself), but I benefited from a happier and less-snoring husband.
We expect our spouse's love to be unconditional (and it should be to an extent), but that doesn't give ourselves the right to just let ourselves go and demand love anyway. Duncan would still love me even if I put on 50kg, but he would be concerned if it was because of my own poor diet. Yes, we will face difficult seasons in life such as running around after small children, illness or injuries. Putting in the time to look after ourselves will be a struggle. The irreversible effects of aging will creep in. But there is a vast difference between not being able to do anything about the scars or wrinkles on our body and scoffing more chocolate (which you can do something about).
When you are married, your body is no longer your own. It also belongs to your spouse.
We are friends with a couple who have a regular date night where they get really dressed up. Yes, they are only at home having a candlelit dinner. And before anyone asks, yes they have three children. But they make the effort.
Some things are unavoidable, but you can look after yourself so that even after 50 years of marriage, your spouse says, "You look as good as you did on the day I married you."