I’d never seen her look so good. The baggy sweat pants I was accustomed to spotting Renee in were replaced with white-stitched, jeweled designer jeans that fit. Nicely. In place of the stretched out signature T-Shirt she usually wore was a stunning sheer blouse with a solid camisole beneath. Gorgeous! And I don’t think it was just the new clothes, but I’d bet money she’s lost a few pounds too. Her new hairstyle was chic, trendy. And make-up? Gosh, not sure I remember her ever wearing any, except for the annual Christmas Concert and End-of-the-Year Teachers’ Appreciation Luncheon. This was a new girl stepping out and it was impressive. Things must be going VERY well!
Wowzer, wowzer, wowzer, where did this guy come from? There is NO way he is Derek’s dad, the one who barely fit into the auditorium seats for the Student Council Ceremony. I remember Todd had a hard time walking up the bleachers to watch the football game last fall. I was afraid he was going to take a tumble on sweet little Allie and her new baby girl. Scary stuff! Always scruffy and unkempt, he didn’t really fit in with the popular dads. I mean he was nice enough, but he just looked like…well…ummm…a slob. I’m not sure what has motivated this man but his wife must be thrilled. He’s definitely trimmed down, and dare I say it, is even sporting some bicep definition! There is a bit of a swagger going on and it’s really nice to see. More power to him!
Unfortunately, I learned things weren’t going well for Renee and power wasn’t what Todd needed. They were each separated from their spouses and transitioning into new lives. Lives that clearly were getting a lot more of their attention and effort than they were accustomed to previously. Todd and Renee each signed up for a new workout plan to help them survive and thrive during this difficult time.
It’s called ‘The Divorce Workout’.
Do the pre-separation images of Todd and Renee sound familiar? Even if you don’t have a specific person in mind, the stereotype is out there – and for good reason. There’s a lot of truth to support it. Wives who never make it out of their pajamas, day after day. Their husbands come home to frazzled looking messes who stopped caring about their appearance long ago. And husbands who fall into a lazy and pathetic abyss, buying into the false assumption that a ring guarantees forever so, “Eh, who cares?”
But the attraction fades. Respect dwindles. Carving out intimate time together doesn’t seem so important. Sometimes it might even seem downright gross. A real turnoff.
Dangerous territory has been entered.
The wife may try to shop and cook healthier, only to be met with sarcasm and disapproval from her husband. He’s a meat and potatoes guy after all and doesn’t understand the correlation. The husband may try ridiculing his wife into shape, but his words not only fall on deaf ears, but seem to send her spiraling in the opposite direction. The opportunity for wrong words and wrong actions is endless.
After years and years of effort, then laziness, and finally total apathy, they decide to divorce.
And then, they are faced with the reality of their situation. And the reality of the world.
So after the shock wears off and their pity party comes to a close, what do they do?
They get in shape, of course.
They do The Divorce Workout!
And why not? They’re going to be single again, and if their spouse doesn’t want them, no one else will either. Being overweight, disheveled, or otherwise unattractive won’t work. They’d better do something about it!
Eating healthy becomes exciting. Working out is exhilarating. The thought of shopping for new clothes with a new body is over-the-top sensational. If they are ever going to find someone to want them, they must make an excellent first impression. They must be the package. They must be worth having.
It’s scary, challenging, stimulating, fun, daunting, and exciting all at the same time. What a rush!
This entire scenario makes me crazy.
WHY DO PEOPLE WAIT UNTIL THEY GET DIVORCED TO GET INTO SHAPE?
Don’t they realize that if they made this effort for their spouse, they likely wouldn’t be in the position they’re in.
I’ve never understood the rationale behind it. After God, aren’t we to worry first and foremost about our spouse? What they think. How they feel. If their needs are being met. Why do some put more time, thought, and energy into preparing for a total stranger than their own husband or wife?
I just don’t get it!
But before I continue, let me interject a bit of reality here.
There are going to be pajama kind of days. And moments when pulling your hair back in a pony is as good as it’s going to get. Or a season where a few extra pounds found their way to your waistline. Juggling the kids is no small task and the demands of a high-stress job are many.
Life can be hard.
I’m not suggesting we have to be perfect all of the time. Or even perfect at all. I don’t think there’s anything particularly attractive about a plastic bod or appearance. But what we should be striving for here is our best effort. Being fake and unrealistic isn’t the goal, but there’s a big difference between making an effort to keep yourself healthy, fit, and attractive for your spouse, and throwing in the towel and completely giving up.
Don’t take your spouse or your marriage for granted. You have a responsibility not to.
When we marry our spouse, we are committing to take care of certain needs that they can no longer receive from ANYONE ELSE, EVER AGAIN! And we need to take that charge VERY SERIOUSLY. If they can’t get it from you (for example, an attractive wife or a fit husband), it leaves the door wide open that at some point, they may seek to fill this need from someone else.
Think that your spouse would never be disloyal? Betray you? Stoop to something so low?
That’s your first mistake. Think again.
Sin nature resides in all of us.
NO ONE is exempt from temptation. Satan studies us. Talk about unsettling! He knows exactly where we are challenged and he’s masterful at choosing just the right buttons to push to sink us and reel us in.
We must be alert, on guard, and proactive.
Don’t wait until the damage is done to care for yourself and your spouse. Work on it NOW, when you’re with the one you married. The one you love. The one who deserves your effort.
- Love yourself enough to care about yourself. Besides the personal benefit, confidence and self-worth are sexy!
- Say ‘I Love You’. A lot. And show it in your actions as well.
- Stay in shape. Walk together. Work out together. Plan healthy meals and shop together. Cooking together with some music in the background can be very romantic!
- Try a new hairstyle. Perhaps something your spouse has requested.
- Shop for a new outfit. Step out a little. Mix up your game. Try new colors or a trendy style. Make an impact. Get noticed…by your spouse! And plan a date night out to show off your effort.
- Forget the outfit, grab a new nightie and plan a night in…. And for the men, get your wife that nightie and surprise her with a romantic evening. Be creative!
- Make time for one another, and regardless of how difficult it may be, enjoy a date night together at least once a month. If money is an issue and you have little ones, trade for babysitting. Grab some frozen yogurt. Pack a picnic for the park. Take a drive and talk uninterrupted. Spending time together doesn’t have to be expensive.
- Flirt. A surprise note left in a lunchbox or a fun text message can send massive warm fuzzies that pave the way for loads of good stuff!
- Lighten up. Have fun. Life can be stressful, and left unchecked, that stress can overtake even the best of joyful intentions, so be deliberate in your endeavor to laugh, live, and love.
Don’t wait to ‘Workout’ until it’s too late. Give your spouse the best you’ve got and invest all the goodness you have into your marriage – NOW. Make every moment count.