How to Help An Unhealthy Spouse

A client told me…

“Craig, I’ve been trying to convince my husband to take his health seriously. Nothing I’ve said has gotten through to him.”

My reply:

Regarding hubby’s health…

If we look at the problem with my “discipline through subtraction” approach…

What are the 3 biggest health sins he’s committing against his body?

Start there… cutting back or eliminating, and then not worry about the 100 other things he could do to improve. 

Just remove the things that have the greatest catastrophic consequences.

One other thing… he needs to do an exec physical like the one I just did… It’s a comprehensive series of tests that will wake him up if there’s anything to worry about. Plus, it’s a great reference to review over time… Same reason I get bloodwork done every 6 months.

Her reply:

I’m going to talk to him today.

I’m also going to pray at church first because he’s in such a bad place with this right now and sometimes these conversations don’t go well.

I found an exec physical. I’m going to have my assistant call tomorrow and get the info.

Right now, he refuses to go to the doc at all because according to him,

“They just tell me I’m fat and my cholesterol is high and that I need meds and I don’t want to take meds.”

And then I ask him what our next steps are, and he shuts down. So here we are.

My Jedi Mind Trick reply:

Something I have learned from dealing with people who have problems but are not acting on them…

Is that you must spend a lot of time asking other questions, generally about emotions, before you start asking rational questions about “What they plan to do”

They must get all the emotions out first.

For example, if an overweight man is doing nothing about his health, and doesn’t want to go to the doctor because the doctor will just “tell me I’m fat”…

When he says that line, we must ask “how or what” questions (use “Why” if you have to, but try to avoid it and stick with “how or what” questions):

For example,

“How would that make you feel when the doctor says that?”

He’d reply with some emotion-based response.

So you follow-up with:

“What would you want the doctor to say instead?”

He’d reply with something.

So you say:

“How do you think we can get the doctor to say that?”

Your husband might then reply with a plan.

You might need one or two more questions, but eventually most people come up with a plan on their own.

And that’s the “Jedi secret”…

When it’s their idea, they tend to be more open to doing it, and following through on it.

Now, it’s your turn… Who in your life can you use this question process with? Is this something you can reflect on to make changes in YOUR life?

Let me know if I can help!