“For years my husband cared little about exercise. I would give lectures and meaningful talks, leave magazine articles in his path, and plead and cry about how I didn’t want to be a widow, but it all fell on glazed eyes and deaf ears. Then one day I got the brilliant idea that if praying worked for other parts of his life, it might work for this, too. I decided to employ my ‘shut up and pray’ method and ask God to give him the desire to exercise regular. I prayed for a number of month without any results, but then one morning I heard an unfamiliar noise coming from another room. I followed the sound and much to my amazement, it was my husband on the treadmill. I didn’t say a word. He has been using the treadmill and lifting weights about three days a week ever since.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, page 103)
I could have written this passage. When my husband and I were first dating, he weighed 315 pounds. He lifted weights, but did no cardiovascular exercise and the years he spent in college eating out every day took its toll on his body. His weight gain started back in junior high and continued through college. Being overweight and picked on, he became the funny guy, always throwing out jokes before people had time to make fun of him. His sense of humor was one of the things that attracted me to him. I was also attracted to his frame. I love that he was big and made me feel safe when he held me or when we were out in public. There is something comforting when you are with the biggest guy in the room.
After we had dated for a while and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man, I started to pray about his weight and health. I looked down the road and imagined us having children and him not being able to play with them because of his weight. I imagined being widowed because he had a heart attack. We had a few conversations about his health and I assured him of my reasons for wanting him to lose the weight – it wasn’t that I was not attracted to him, it was that I was scared, scared of losing him. One day he decided he didn’t want to be fat anymore. I was so proud of him! When we got engaged he started losing some weight. He lost about 30 pounds before we tied the knot. His suit was way too big on him on our wedding day; I had to pin it back with a chip clip for pictures.
After we got married, he continued to lose weight. Over the course of about four years, he lost a total of 130 pounds! It really helped that I try to cook as healthful as possible and encourage him to keep at it. In the last month or so he has started running at least 3 days a week and is in the best shape of his life. He started running to support me since I took a leap of faith and am training to run a 5K. He knows the difficult task I’ve set before myself (If you are not familiar with my story or disability, check out the About Me page!) and he has stepped up and supported my running by jumping in with me! I love to watch him with our son; sometimes it make me emotional remembering my fears about him not being able to keep up with our future children.
I do realize that this may not be the case with your husband. Your husband may not be interested in losing weight or taking care of himself. Don’t give up! Keep praying and try to include him (and your whole family!!) in activities that promote good health. Take family walks, challenge him to a game of horse on the basket ball court at the park, join a gym together and ask him to help you tone up. He will probably be excited to be able to show off his big muscles and his knowledge of weight lifting (Ask him to walk with you on the treadmills while you are there!) Have him help you pick out healthy recipes you can make together or tweak your existing ones to make them healthier. But above all, PRAY! Another point I want to touch on, one that Stormie also mentions in this chapter is health that is out of our control. My husband has tinnitus (Tinnitus is the medical term for “hearing” noises in your ears when there is no outside source of the sounds. The noises you hear can be soft or loud. They may sound like ringing, blowing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, humming, whistling, or sizzling.) This creates big problem for my husband since he is a musician. He also has Tendinitis in his wrists (Tendinitis is inflammation, irritation, and swelling of a tendon, which is the fibrous structure that joins muscle to bone.) and it causes so much pain sometimes that my husband can’t use his hands. I pray that the Lord takes away these diseases, takes away the pain and discomfort from my sweet man, but as Stormie writes,
“Remember, however, that even though we pray and have faith, the outcome and timing are God’s decisions. He says there is ‘a time to heal’ (Ecclesiastes 3:3). If you pray for healing and nothing happens, don’t beat yourself up for it. God sometimes uses a man’s physical ailments to get his attention so He can speak to him. Keep praying, but know God’s decision is the bottom line.” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, Pages 104,105)
I understand how hard it can be to pray for healing and have God answer with a response we don’t want. I’ve been praying for healing for myself for over 11 years. God’s answer has always been “no” and it’s so difficult at times. I write this because it’s easy to give advice about praying for healing when it doesn’t intimately affect you, so I want you to know that what I write comes from a place of quiet desperation for healing, for both myself and my husband. We do our very best to take care of our bodies because we know so much of our health is due to living in a fallen world and I feel that I am responsible to doing everything I can to live as healthy as possible and keep on keepin’ on when God’s answer for healing is “no”. I am praying the Lord gives you comfort in those times when you so desperately want good health for your husbands and it just isn’t happening whether it’s due to your husband’s choices or just living in this world where sickness and disease is a sad reality. Keep praying, keep seeking the Lord, keep keepin’ on.
“Lord, I pray for Your healing touch on (husband’s name) Make every part of his body function the way you designed it to. Wherever there is anything out of balance, set it in perfect working order. Heal him of any disease, illness, injury, infirmity, or weakness. Strengthen his body to successfully endure his workload, and when he sleeps may he awake completely rested, rejuvenated and refreshed. give him a strong heart that doesn’t fail. I don’t want him to have heart failure at any time. I pray that he will have the desire to take care of his body, to eat the kind of food that brings health, to get regular exercise and avoid anything that would be harmful to him. Help him to understand that his body is Your temple and he should care for it as such (1 Corinthians 3:16). I pray that he will present it as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You (Romans 12:1).” (The Power Of A Praying Wife, pages 104,105)