When the man of the house is stubborn and thinks he’s Superman, the women end up throwing their hands in the air, after trying to explain and insist for the nth time that their man needs to put that hat on, lest they catch a cold.
Of course the men always leave without the hat, even after that entire show. Often they’re even confused and a bit upset at their wives, yelling for no reason about freezing and scarves.
What, don’t they know they can handle themselves ?
They know how cold it is outside, thank you very much.
And it’s just a short walk to get some milk, they’ll be back in 20 minutes.
Does this sound familiar ? Does this sound like your neighbors sometimes, or your parents, or maybe even you and your husband ?
I’ve had countless mornings where I ended up yelling at my boyfriend to put on a sweater, it’s freezing outside, and can’t he feel how cold it is outside ?!
So this is what I’ve seen works, whether it’s about an extra sweater, wet socks, medicine, eating slower, or going to the gym.
So what can you do when your husband doesn’t seem to care about his health ?
Now that’s a big statement, and I doubt men are oblivious to health hazards. However it is true that it’s the men who come up with the most dangerous ways to install an A.C. unit, and then go through with it.
I’ll go through a quick list of the things you can do when your husband doesn’t seem to care about his health, even after your pleas to take better care of himself. Then, we’ll to through them one by one in the rest of the article. You can try:
- Sitting down to talk it over, with clear examples and reasons why he needs to be more careful
- Appealing to emotions, like how the family will be impacted by his health
- Putting your worries into clear words, and again with examples
- Not being overbearing, leave him some room for independence
- Making some compromises together, and add on in time if needed
- Positive reinforcement when he actually does something for his health
- Not nagging or yelling, or insisting
- Thinking long and hard if you’re not worrying for nothing
- Accepting that you can’t win every battle, sometimes he just won’t be bothered
Some of these may work better than others for you, depending on your relationship and each of your personalities. Now let’s get into detail with each of these, so you can see what combination works best for you two.
1. Sit down for a talk
Maybe it seems obvious why your S.O. should take more care of himself, but in all honesty he might not be aware. And if you’ve been insisting on this or that, with no success, he probably really doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.
Worse still, he might chalk it up to ”women…” and leave it at that. Which is never acceptable, we’re trying to break out of that mold right ?
So let’s explain very very clearly and carefully why he needs to take his medicine on time, or not over-eat, maybe even why he should tuck his shirt in during winter.
Many of these things seem like very obvious things to you maybe, but not to him. Not to be sexist, but most men really do think they can take on most things. And the truth is that they can, actually.
Just not as much as they would maybe think at first. Sure they’ve survived winters with a stuffy nose before, but what does 50 years’ worth of stuffy nose winter do to a man ? The long term effects are more important than how well he’s fared til now.
So sit down with him, and talk over why you think he needs to be more careful, in his interest of course. Do be ready for him deflecting what you say, because he’s been fine til now, and what are you even worried about anyway ?
Have patience and talk it out, even it it takes a couple of hours. Try not to get angry if he doesn’t accept your points, he might really be right about some things.
For example Dragos and I are very different with medicine. I take medicine if I feel a cold coming on, or if I have a splitting headache, or whatever valid reason that comes up, like period cramps.
Dragos, on the other hand, managed to ride out colds and headaches by himself, with no medicine, and we’ve argued over it most of the time.
It is true that you should let your immune system do its job, without much outside help. However in some cases that help is necessary.
So make sure than when you insist on a health-related topic you take into account his stamina and immunity, since it really might be greater than yours.
Medicine prescribed by doctors should be taken anyway, since it was give out by a professional, so keep that in mind.
2. Appeal to his emotional side
Not for blackmail, or guilt-tripping. But to point out how the family – even if it’s just the two of you and a cat so far – would be affected emotionally when he ends up with a serious health issue.
How much it would impact his possibility of caring for the family, the worry his mother would be put through, and how much the cat would miss him if he had to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks.
No need to get dramatic or overly-emotional, but just to outline the outcome of what he does. Sometimes people (men and women) are simply unaware that things could be dangerous, or just how dangerous, or that it’s not alright in the long run.
So help your husband seem the bigger picture, by talking about the future effects of what he does.
If he overeats, or eats too much junk food, and has become severely overweight, help him see how that can lead to serious heart issues. How it could affect his health, well being, and everyone around him.
Many times appealing to a man’s emotional side might seem pointless at first, if he’s been used to shielding feelings all his life. He might not be open about it at first, or the first few times.
That’s understandable, since unfortunately men have a harder time expressing and accepting feelings. They’re usually raised to appear tough, and feelings seemingly don’t fit into that picture.
So have patience with him, and know that even if he seems to shrug it off at first, he will think about it. Trust that he does love you, and will take all that you’ve said into account.
3. Put your worries into clear words, with examples
This is something that might make you roll your eyes, but you really need to come up with very clear examples of how he has been careless in the past, and how it affected his health.
Otherwise, you’ll have a harder time getting through to him, since your worries might sound like you’re just being over-protective.
For example, Dragos has sensitive kidneys. Well, kidneys in general are sensitive, and you must be very careful with cold weather, drafts, how well your lower back is protected, and to keep your naked feet off very cold surfaces.
Often in the beginning of the cold season I’d insist on him wearing an extra sweater, so he can protect his kidneys, since he’s had problems with them before. He grumbles a bit, but ends up putting it on anyway, even if just for walking to work and then takes it off later.
The same goes with tucking in shirts or undershirts, and especially when he comes back from soccer all sweaty. Having a dry, spare shirt can help out greatly there.
Your husband might be in the same situation. Not with the kidneys, but with something else that impacts his health. He might not feel the effects immediately, but in time they will come, unless he takes care of himself.
So find some clear and very valid examples from his past, and bring it up without sounding like a drill sergeant.
4. Don’t be overbearing, leave him some room for independence
Do you remember how your mother or grandmother used to dress you up like a polar bear for winter and you couldn’t really move with all those mitts and big jackets on you ?
No one likes that, and neither would you husband like it when you force him to take his medicine that he doesn’t believe in.
So try not to force it on him, whether it’s about overeating, medicine, wet socks, or working out. Try and aim for more pleasant phrases, that make it sound like that wasn’t even the objective.
For example, instead of saying ”honey, do you really need that second helping tonight ?” try something more like “after we finish this, how about a walk to see the doggies at the lake ?“.
Note that the first phrase doesn’t sound very friendly, even if you husband really could do without that second helping. The second one sound like you’re doing something fun that you will both enjoy, and he won’t really notice that he’s not having another helping of the food.
Plus, it doesn’t even bring into discussion the idea of foregoing more food.
So that’s an example you can base your suggestions off of, and always put in something you know he will love or not refuse too easily. Maybe he likes seeing the cats on the window a few streets over, or playing Jenga with friends. Or, maybe his thing is something just the two of you know.
Whatever it is, it can be used in his benefit. And letting him have some wiggle room, or at least seem to, will make his decision stick.
5. Make some compromises together
He might not like you insisting on those pain relievers, he can do just fine without them. Even if you know that’s some serious pain he’s battling, reach a compromise together.
You’ll stop insisting on the medicine, if he agrees to rest for 30 extra minutes, so his leg can recover better. That way you know the pain will be lessened, since the leg had more time to recover.
Or, you’ll stop insisting on him putting on a sweater, if he agrees to get a warmer jacket for winter, since you’re out buying one anyway.
Another idea would be not insisting on him taking his medication as much, if he agrees in daily on weekly check-ups with the doctor. Who will decide better if your husband still needs his meds or not.
The point is to let go of some things, so you can achieve other things. Sort of like a trade, and choose the lesser evil.
Do try and make it as fair and even for both of you as possible. No one likes to feel like they’ve been cheated, and your husband will not appreciate it either.
For example, Dragos and I stopped arguing over how many sweaters he needs when we bought his latest winter jacket. We simply got a thicker, warmer one, that covers his lower back very well. So no need to insist on tucked shirts and more sweaters.
Some things can be fixed like that, simply, others need more time and thought on your part.
6. Positive reinforcement when he does something for his health
Even if it’s just a small “thanks for taking care with your food today honey, it means a lot to me to know you’re eating healthy” it will help immensely.
Don’t make it sound like he didn’t know what he was doing before, just praise what he did, and point out how it will help in the future.
Your husband will catch on and know why you said what you said, but he can’t really argue with a compliment.
You can mix it up with a foot massage, or going to see his favorite movie, or even just an extra-long hug. Whatever makes your husband feel like he’s being appreciated and loved will work.
Let’s say that the problem is that your husband doesn’t exercise very much. Try starting him off with smaller walks, and tell him how much you appreciate spending time outside together. Then, you can work your way up to exercises with him.
Or, another idea that seems to work well, is something like laser tag. Many men are attracted to the idea of being a hero, and laser tag is a great workout for beginners. You’ll both be sweaty and a bit sore after, but it’s a great way to start doing more exercise.
And doing that with the one he loves the most will be some great reinforcement of the habit. A few words from you will help even more.
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7. Not nagging, or yelling
Well, it’s obvious, but it needs to be here. This needs to be repeated over and over again, until everyone understands that yelling and nagging never got anyone anywhere.
He might do what you want, to a point. He might do like you did when you were little, and just throw the medicine into the trash when you’re not looking, pretend to put on an undershirt.
Whatever he needs to do for his health, he needs to do it because he wants to. And because he understands why it needs to be done. That’s how he will build the discipline to do any of those things even when you’re not looking.
Think about it. It might sound very obvious to you that this or that needs to be done, but take into account that he is not you. He has his own opinions, and they’re not always aligned with yours.
Your husband might need more or less persuading, depending on the topic, your relationship, each of your personalities, and how serious the issue is. But being annoying and breathing down his neck is never going to work.
It’s overbearing and generally a bad idea. Let him do it on his own, and if he needs some gentle nudging and guidance along the way, be pleasant about it.
Put yourself in his shoes, and think about it. What would it sound like to you if you were quietly eating and he suddenly snapped at you to stop eating so much bread already, it’s your third roll for the meal ?
You won’t really notice the words or that he’s right, you’ll immediately become defensive over his tone. So make an effort and be nice about it, even if you’ve been watching him for 5 minutes now and you see him getting his plate ready for a second helping.
8. Are your worries real ?
They may seem very real to you. Health issues are always a touchy topic, and it’s easy to worry over them. But sit down with yourself for a bit, and think it through.
Get some valid information of whatever illness your husband has, or the dangers of cardio-vascular disease, or whatever you’re worried might happen to him.
Check facts and see if he really is in any danger. Talk with his doctor if you need to, get some tests done if possible.
There may be things that you’re worried about, for no reason.
Maybe you’re worried he’ll catch a cold if he keeps going out like that. But maybe his immune system really if much better than yours, and it won’t be a problem for him, even 40 years from now ?
Often times we judge things based on our perspective. If our headache feels like it’s going to give us a nosebleed, it doesn’t mean your husband’s headache will be that severe. And even if the pain is objectively the same, maybe he has a higher pain tolerance.
So think about all that before you start asking your partner to be more careful with this or that. There might not be much need for it in the first place.
He is your best friend, and your lover. Of course you will want to protect him as best you can, and seeing him appear not to care about his health can be frustrating.
But make sure you don’t get overbearing and become his second mother.
9. Accept that sometimes it won’t be like you said
Sometimes you’re just not right, and sometimes even if you are, he won’t do it. No matter how hard you try or whatever you use to convince him.
He is his own person, and if absolutely nothing you’ve tried (including what’s in this list) works, then maybe it’s not something you can or even should try to change.
It might hurt, a lot. You’re trying to help him and he simply doesn’t get the idea that it’s something that needs to change, for his own good.
You’re better off trying to help him in other ways, like with better food, helping him relax, and generally making his life easier.
Some of the things you insist on changing might be valid, some of them not. But if he refuses to budge in any way, stop insisting.
You run the risk of alienating him otherwise. Would you like him insisting on a topic with you, and still going on about it even after you’ve made it very clear that you don’t want to ?
Best to just be by his side, and support him when he need you.
Being part of a couple is beautiful, but it can be stressful at times. You’re trying you best to make it work both for you and him. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes not, and that’s alright.
Relationships get rocky sometimes, and health concerns become a big topic, especially as we age.
So it’s important to take care of your partner as best you can. If he takes care of himself as well, that’s even better. But help him out as well.
If his problem is with junk food, you can see here what you can do to help him stop.
You can also look here for healthier alternatives to sweets for your S.O., that you can make together at home. Just scroll to the second half of the article and you’ll find them there.
Another idea would be this beginner’s 10 day meal plan, so you can get into healthier eating together.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that it requires time. Your husband getting to take care of himself more will take some time, if he’s been ignoring it until now. So have patience and don’t rush him.
I hope this article was helpful to you, and you’ll manage to help him out with what you’ve found here. Feel free to look at our other articles as well, you might find something useful there as well.