Often in my writing, I tend to throw a quotation from a historical figure, or an old friend, or my Dad. I have been recently been reminded of two that I have had to utilize in a way that I did not anticipate in nearly 16 years of marriage:
- “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln.
- “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” – Proverbs 29:11
For the past two years, my wife has been involved in an exercise regimen at a local fitness center (actually a “wellness center” but I won’t go down that bunny trail again). Like many, she has fallen off the proverbial horse only to get back on and kick it harder. She has made tremendous strides and I am very proud of her. The problem is that with every milestone she hits, the muscles of my restraint are tested to the breaking point.
It all started innocently enough today. My wife comes home from the gym…umm…fitness…that is…wellness center. She then goes into her post-exercise ritual. She pulls at the elastic waistband on her gym clothes (or is it wellness center apparel?). She stretches the waistband about a foot from her body. At this point, she reminds me that when she first bought those pants, they fit like a tourniquet and made her eyes pop out like she was Marty Feldman. Next, she steps on the scale. She screams with the enthusiastic glee of a schoolgirl watching her favorite teenybopper star on TV. Now, I am no proverbial fool. I will not disclose the reading. Let’s just say she has lost more than 50 lbs. and it shows.
So far through these rituals, I believe I have acted with kindness and support. That was until she whipped out two more items: a “Body Composition Profile” and a tape measure. She begins measuring various parts of her body and recording the results. She begins to measure her waist and asked me to read the measurements. I began laughing because she was using the metric side. I pointed this out to her because I didn’t really want to state that her waist size was 124. Unfortunately, the laughter wore on my restraint. She asked me to read the measurement of upper arm. I looked at the measurement and said “Lessee now, if you carry the 6….” She then asked me to surf the net for a body mass index (BMI) scale. I asked her if she needed standard, metric, or Kelvin. Mind you the question made no sense and it got dirty stares from my wife and daughter. Nonetheless, it made me laugh. I gave her the reading from the BMI scale. She then recorded this result in her Body Composition Profile. Her girlish joy returns as she read the profile’s results: “I’VE GONE FROM BEING OVER FAT TO FAT”. Now, I am trying to be supportive but I cannot control my laughter. I try to picture the average husband looking his wife in the eye and saying the following: “Baby, you look great. This week you’re fat. At the rate you’re going, you’ll just be fatter than average in two weeks”. Such an utterance can only lead to the husband winding up in the doghouse. The dog will glance at him and ask “So, what are YOU in for? I chewed up her running shoes.”
In the end , I managed to get through this ordeal without my wife thinking I was a cretin. It is with this in mind I address husbands worldwide. Gentlemen, if you wife takes (or has taken) such a venture, be supportive and encouraging. The trick is in being careful about HOW you support and encourage. I’ll leave you with a final quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One: “The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life”.