Nearly a decade ago I began my healthy living journey. (Holy crap, has it seriously been that long already?) Or, as some might say, I started turning into a hippie. You know, whatever.
The point is, I’ve been at this for a while now. (Even though I grew up on an organic herb farm, it took me a long time to figure out that this healthy living stuff has its merits. I’m slow sometimes, ok? Also, I really like parentheses.)
Along the way I’ve learned a few things. For one, there are certain places you should just never put straight tea tree essential oil. Ever.
Also, I’ve found that I tend to catch the vision for something before my husband (and the rest of my family), so I spend a good amount of time feeling like the lone weirdo. But it’s ok. They catch on. Eventually. Mostly.
Plus, I’m used to being weird. So it’s ok.
Eventually, I learned how to get my spouse on board with healthy living and my crazy ideas. It was so hard at first, mostly because I was trying to force him into something he thought was crazy and I thought he had to be all-in before I could make the changes I wanted to.
But that didn’t work. I had to woo him.
Focus on easy wins
Often, our spouses feel overwhelmed and resistant when they think we’re trying to force them into a bunch of unwanted changes at once. Keep it small, simple and painless.
I’m a huge fan of simple, easy wins. You know, those tiny actions that give you immediate results. Instant gratification has its place, like when you’re trying to create new habits that will stick or show your spouse that living healthier doesn’t suck.
So what are some easy wins you could give your spouse?
- Give them a foot bath with some homemade bath salts and rub their feet afterward
- Make a treat they’ll love and sub in some healthier ingredients
- Offer essential oils that will help them right away when they need it and don’t say “I told you so” when it works (or get offended when they decline)
I’m not suggesting these things to promote manipulation. Instead, find ways you can love on your spouse that fall in line with your healthy living changes. Simple.
Start with yourself
If these changes are your idea, you have to start with yourself first. You can’t nag anyone into wanting to change – it’ll just do the opposite. So do what you can for you.
Make changes to what you eat. Use essential oils and natural remedies on yourself. And know that being content with that will do so much more for you long-term than trying to convince your spouse ever will.
Share the benefits
But don’t sound like a sales person. Instead, replace complaints with gratitude. For instance, I would go to bed every. single. night with a stomach ache. And I complained to my husband.
But soon after I made the switch to real food and natural remedies, that wasn’t the case anymore. So I would say things, like, “I’m so grateful I don’t hurt!” or “I have so much energy today, how awesome is that?”
He was much more open to the changes I made when he saw that it was actually working (and that I wasn’t complaining nearly as much).
Have more fun together
As my body got healthier and I became more active, I was more interested in trying new things – often the more active outdoorsy stuff my husband had wanted me to do with him for years. So I tried it. And he loved that I wanted to do fun things with him.
Just this morning, eight years into this journey, we went on a run together. And he told me how much it delights him that I like to take part in his interests.
After awhile, my husband started using essential oils for certain ailments. He also became more interested in real food. Was he all in like I was? No. But it was a step in the right direction.
If you want to live healthier with a spouse who’s resistant to the idea, be flexible. If they agree to something that isn’t exactly in line with your vision, but is closer than you are now, go for it. Some people need more time to warm up to healthy living than others (and some will only go so far).
It took my husband five years to get on board with living in a bus. It took six months for him to stop calling essential oils crazy. He still thinks some of my ideas are crazy.
I’m pretty all or nothing. When I learned about something new, I want to be all in. The next day. But when you’re married it takes some time to transition to that lifestyle. And that’s ok.
Part of this process means building patience and practicing contentment no matter where you are on the journey. Because if you don’t, no amount of change will ever be good enough.
It’s a journey.
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Nina, I love this article! I am vegan and my fiancé is not, but slowly and surely I am winning him over to my side. It takes a lot of patience and you have to celebrate the wins. He now drinks almond milk, uses coconut oil instead of butter and even likes some of my dairy-free ice cream! And he actually eats the Gardein meals I prepare (SCORE!). Even if he is never a 100% vegetarian or vegan, I still love the baby steps he’s taken!
Great and unique post. Thanks for this update. Keep it up