I came across an article the other day that purported to list numerous ways to deal with the spouse who has chosen not to live a Paleo or Primal lifestyle. It gave me pause for a moment on several levels, even the title made me think. Do I really need all of these coping mechanisms to deal with a supposedly troublesome spouse? And the more I read the article and thought about it, the more I realized there really was only one coping mechanism that mattered.
Just love them.
And that didn’t even make the list.
I realize that a lot of you are dealing with resistance. Resistance from loved ones who don’t understand why you’ve chosen to change your life. Resistance from loved ones whose lifelong conception of you is being changed just as abruptly as your body. Resistance from the spouse who has held your weight or body shape over you like a weapon. I get that. I understand, I really do. What I would suggest though is that if you need 36 ways to deal with your husband who’s constantly browbeating you because you’ve dropped 20 pounds in the last six months and you’re newly regained confidence is an obstacle to you both; they really may not be loved ones after all.
I understand that any relationship is a complex, intertwined, irrational milieu of emotions and history. I also understand that disagreement is part and parcel to any relationship. I also understand that if your life changes have set off a barrage of negativity and difficulty then perhaps there’s something deeper here than what can be fixed by 36 points in a 1000 word article. We love our lists. We love our tips and tricks. The unfortunate thing is that life is generally more complex than that 99.99% of the time.
I’m also not suggesting that you instantly jettison a troublesome relationship at the first sign of it taking on water. What I am saying is that for a lot of people change is shocking and the way we often deal with shock is aggression. It’s an evolutionary product. If you were living in a cave somewhere in prehistory and you came home to the shocking find of a bear in it, you reacted with aggression. And for a lot of you out there, the bear in the cave for your spouse or loved one is you suddenly dropping 20 lbs and looking great. I think that one simple thing can give you a lot of clarity on the topic. As a whole, Humans hate change. We can pretend that we would be loving and accepting if the shoe was on the other foot but I know, at least for me, it would be a total lie. I can be honest with myself enough to understand that I can be a complete jerk about change. Can’t you?
So remember, for now, just love them. There are no 36 magic steps to tolerance or acceptance. If, somewhere down the road, a reasonable amount of time has expired (and you’ll know when that is), it might be time for a change. In the mean time, remember that change is hard.
And isn’t remembering one step a lot easier than 36?