Both my wife Kara and I are convinced that honesty is core to our relationship, and I’ve always been committed to sharing everything with her.
So I was surprised when Kara got my attention last week by gravely stopping me and saying, “Adam, we need to talk.” Nervously I responded, “uh, ok.”
I was even more startled when she followed this with, “I need you to be honest with me, ok?”
Her visible concern shook me up a bit. She took a long breath, looking deeply into my eyes, and asked the question that was obviously weighing on her:
“How many Mountain Dews do you drink in a week?”
I let out a sigh of relief and tried not to smile. Kara knew I was amused by her question, so she pressed me. Turns out she had just read an article about the health risks of drinking too much soda, and it immediately made her think of my Mountain Dew cravings. And to be fair, that week she had some reasons to be concerned.
We had just gone on a long road trip, driving for a portion of it through the night. During those three days I drank five Mountain Dews. When we got home, I had been gifted a sixth because everyone knows how much I love drinking that sugary liquid adrenaline. Counting the one left over from the trip, I tallied up an impressive seven sodas in about five days.
I assured my wife this was really out of the ordinary, that usually I drink less than one a week, and even though I do also have quite the sweet tooth, I normally try to eat healthy foods. But she was still concerned my habit might be escalating into a full-blown addiction.
As we talked about my Mountain Dew intake we got to the underlying issue, which was my wife’s desire to take care of me, including looking out for my physical health. And to be honest, I got a little defensive. I’m a pretty independent person, and I hate feeling forced into something, even if it’s what is best for me.
Here’s what made me lower my guard: I realized my wife isn’t trying to control me; she is trying to support me—and that includes supporting my health. She always makes sure I have a chance to run during the week, and she dedicates her time to finding healthy but tasty recipes for our family. Her concern about my Mountain Dew habit was another act of love and care for me.
Now I knew before our conversation that my wife simply wants the best for me, but it was good to be reminded of how much she cares. It’s easy to dismiss someone’s concern for you as simply ‘nagging.’ But since our conversation I’ve been more attentive to the small acts of love that Kara does for me everyday—like buying me carbonated water to help me keep the Mountain Dew cravings at bay.
Being married isn’t about controlling someone’s life, it’s about sharing it to help bring out the best in each other. And in Kara’s little acts of love I’m reminded that sharing our life together has always brought me a ton of joy … and it’s made me a little healthier too!