I’m overweight to keep my wife happy.
By Tom Burns — Last updated on Sep 06, 2023
Photo: Krakenimages.com | leolintang | Shutterstock
I am an overweight 39-year-old man.
I don’t exercise consistently, I sneak junk food more often than I should, and, if you asked me to describe my physique in one word, I would probably go for “doughy.” (Imagine a Pillsbury crescent roll that you took out of the oven five minutes early. That’s what I look like on the beach.)
And yet, I’ve been with my wife for 17 years and we have a deliriously happy marriage.
COINCIDENCE? I think not.
My overall lack of physical definition is all part of a long-term strategy I have to keep my marriage healthy.
And, so far, my flabby little plan has been going great.
Let me explain — there’s been a lot of online talk about a YourTango article that writer Amanda Lauren wrote.
Lauren admits that, during her wedding, she vowed to remain “hot” for her husband to keep him a happy and engaged partner. She stressed that keeping herself attractive also boosted her own self-confidence, but, more than anything, it was meeting her husband’s unspoken needs.
His need to desire her, to have his friends feel a little jealous, and so on.
When I read the article, I immediately sympathized with Lauren, because I have a similar strategy for keeping my partner happy, though, I do approach it from a decidedly different angle.
Basically, to keep my wife satisfied in our marriage, I like to keep my body looking like, what I’d describe as, a “barely contained garbage fire.”
Why do I do this?
I do it for MY WIFE’S BENEFIT.
My gut, my bald spot, my ear hair — ALL FOR HER.
Because my wife never has to worry about what I’ve hidden from her. Trust is paramount to a secure relationship and, when my wife sees me lumbering out of bed in the morning, I know, deep down, that she is 100% confident that I am being open and honest with her.
I don’t put on any airs or try to conceal anything from her. I want my wife to know, in every second of every day, that what she sees is what she gets.
Every day, I lay myself bare for her and silently ask, “Well, will this do?”
And every day that she responds with a silent “Yes” is the happiest day of my life.
Confidence also plays into my decision to forego visits to the gym and any or all things quinoa. I think it’s attractive to have a confident wife. And what could make her more confident than walking into a fancy dinner party with ME on her arm?
Standing side-by-side with me, my wife looks amazing.
I mean, she always looks amazing — like many dumpy men, I lucked out in marrying way above my pay grade in the looks department – but she looks particularly lovely when contrasted with everything tragic that I’m keeping locked down behind an Oxford shirt and pair of Dockers.
I’ve read that self-esteem can be an issue for women. I don’t have any hard science to back that up, but I’m sure a few seconds on Google could allow me to prove that. (Or not.)
So, knowing that many women suffer from esteem issues (and regarding myself as a die-hard feminist), I have worked hard to make sure that my wife truly feels empowered and proud of her physical appearance.
The best way that I’ve found to accomplish this (and, admittedly, the only way I’ve tried) is by showing her how vivacious she is when contrasted against whatever is going on with my body on the day in question.
It’s been a remarkably effective strategy so far.
Because all relationships require work. Amanda Lauren knows this and I do too.
If I’ve learned anything after almost two decades of marriage, it is that it takes serious effort to “come as you are.”
Putting all your foibles faults and insecurities on display for the world is a tremendously difficult thing to do. It makes you feel ashamed.
It makes you burn with humiliation, like Cersei Lannister during her walk of shame on Game of Thrones.
And, in my experience, feeling that shame in front of the person you LOVE more than anything else in the world is even harder to do.
Because I couldn’t care less what any of you think of my physique. I don’t know you. I don’t love you.
But, dear lord, I care so much about what my wife thinks of me.
So, allowing her to see me as I really am — as a scruffy balding, pudgy, red-faced goon — can be really difficult.
I want to be attractive to her.
But, when I lay myself bare and I let her see the real me, and she smiles back… It’s the best thing in the world. That is WHY our marriage has survived so long. Because we really, truly love what we both REALLY look like down-deep and we’re both confident enough in our love to show it.
So, yes, this is one of MANY ways I justify eating more than my fair share of pizza for lunch. And dinner. And sometimes breakfast.
Is some of my “Why I stay fat” reasoning a lie? Sure, it is. Fat guys love to make excuses.
But I truly do believe in the message at the core — not my core, which I haven’t seen since the ‘90s, but rather THE core.
If you love someone, show them who you are, warts and all.
If there’s not enough of you to love under everything you’re ashamed of, it wasn’t meant to be.
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Tom Burns has served as a contributing editor for 8BitDad and The Good Men Project, and his writing has been featured on Babble, Brightly, Mom.me, Time Magazine, and various other sites.