Over­com­ing vices

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Annie Lane

When my hus­band and I got mar­ried a lit­tle over three years ago, we both had our vices. Mine was that I was smok­ing a pack a day of cig­a­rettes, and his was that he was 20 pounds over­weight and did not watch what he ate. On our wed­ding night, we vowed to re­ally try to over­come our un­healthy habits. I quit smok­ing within six months of be­ing mar­ried (it took a few tries), and he started eat­ing bet­ter and run­ning five times a week. Within the year, he had lost his 20 pounds. We were both feel­ing great. I have not had a cig­a­rette in three years, and he had kept off the weight un­til re­cently.

About a year ago, he was laid off from his job, and he’s not been able to find a new one since. He has been try­ing re­ally hard but with no luck. Need­less to say, he has been very dis­cour­aged and is not feel­ing great about him­self — which has caused him to start back with some of his old un­healthy eat­ing habits. He has stopped run­ning and is eat­ing close to a pint of ice cream al­most ev­ery night be­fore we go to bed.

I don’t want to say any­thing to him about our pact be­cause I know that this is a stress­ful time for him and I want to be sup­port­ive, but it hurts me to see him go­ing down a self­de­struc­tive path. Should I say any­thing to him about our pact, or should I wait to see whether he gets a job and starts to feel good again?

When is the ideal time to im­prove my phys­i­cal fit­ness? No mat­ter when you ask the ques­tion, the an­swer is al­ways the same: Now.

Your hus­band doesn’t need to wait to get a job to start get­ting back in shape. In fact, if he starts eat­ing bet­ter and ex­er­cis­ing more, he will prob­a­bly have a bet­ter chance of find­ing a job, be­cause he’ll feel bet­ter about him­self and ex­ude more con­fi­dence. Gently re­mind him about the pact, and help him put down the pint of rocky road for some health­ful bed­time snacks, such as an ap­ple, a ba­nana or ce­real.

Make clear that you’re com­ing from a place of love, not judg­ment. Keep an open line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and check in on his emo­tional well­be­ing, as men­tal health im­pacts phys­i­cal health, and vice versa.

And con­grats to you on quit­ting smok­ing. That is no small feat.

One of your read­ers asked what the ben­e­fit is of putting your­self out there to heal wounds be­tween sib­lings. I can tell her.

My sib­lings and I got into a long-last­ing ar­gu­ment. Fi­nally, when my hus­band be­came ill, each be­gan to talk to me. They were not, how­ever, talk­ing to each other.

When my hus­band passed away and my brother got ill, I moved back home to take care of him in July. Still, I only saw one at a time un­til, at Christ­mas­time, I had a party and in­vited both of them. I told each the other would be com­ing, and I ex­pected both to be there and act de­cently to­ward each other.

Imag­ine my de­light when my sis­ter came in, went di­rectly to my brother and gave him a huge hug, which he re­turned! They only needed a ref­eree to pull them to­gether.

Since that time, we have all been close to one an­other, help­ing when­ever it’s needed, en­joy­ing fun times and re­al­iz­ing how much we missed with the pre­vi­ous quar­rels. The quar­rels were not about mi­nor things, but the com­ing to­gether as brother and sis­ters was so much larger.

It’s worth the ef­fort, be­cause fam­ily is the one thing we need around us.

— Happy to Ref­eree

Send your ques­tions for Annie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com

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