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There are a lot of things that my husband does that I know very little about. For example, buying and installing more ram for our computers. Or writing a marketing proposal and presenting a sales pitch to the CEO of a company. Or how to set up a set of drums, much less teach aspiring musicians how to play them.
There are a lot of things that I know about that my husband isn’t so well versed on. Like all of the benefits of soaking grains and the how-to of doing it. Or how to make a dinner that involves more than stir-fry or toast and cheese (but seriously, the man makes good stir-fry). Or how to use a canner and put up enough home-grown diced tomatoes to last the year.
This isn’t just because I am ignorant of electronics, marketing and music, and he is uninformed about nutrition, cooking and homemaking. While that’s true to a degree, it goes much deeper than that. We’re both intelligent people, capable of learning what we need to in order to fulfill the unique roles we’ve been given.
Why do I bring all of this up? I hear time and time again from women who want very much to make changes to their family’s food buying habits, their diet and their overall nutrition. The problem? Their husbands aren’t on board.
I think it’s important to point out one of the major reasons that husbands often don’t get on board, or at least not as quickly as we hope that they will. This is not their domain.
They are not homemakers. They are not cooks (most of them). They probably do not buy the groceries. They also do not spend the time that we may spend reading books, or blogs, or articles, teaching us why and how to improve our nutrition.
In our family, although my husband is on board, I am the one who pushes the healthy and natural lifestyle changes that we’ve been making. It’s not that my husband is opposed. But, 1) It’s not his passion and 2) He doesn’t have the time that I do to pour into it and really learn why it all matters. Over the years, I have learned to try to explain to him some of the things that I am learning, why I am making certain changes, why I’m preparing food in a different manner, why I don’t want to buy such-and-such anymore, etc. He still doesn’t “get it” to the same degree as me (because he’s not the one doing all the research), but he respects me and my opinions and he is generally amazing about allowing me to try out these things that I am learning as I seek to serve and care for my family.
For those who are struggling with a bit more resistance, or a husband who is even strongly opposed to changes that you would like to make, here are a few suggestions:
1) Don’t let this issue become a stumbling block in your marriage.
I think that nutrition, health, good stewardship and all the other issues that I write about are important (or else I wouldn’t have a blog devoted to them!). BUT, they are not more important than my husband or my marriage. If it comes down to it, surrender your desires to the Lord and trust Him to meet your needs as you put your marriage first!
2) Don’t undermine your husband’s authority as leader in your home.
Oh, we women struggle so much with wanting to grasp at that authority, don’t we? We often think that we know best and want to try to force it on our husbands. We need to remember that God, in His complete wisdom and sovereignty, has given us the exact husband that He wanted us to have and that He is the author of marriage and the designer of the concept of submission.
If your husband is truly opposed to something or you can tell it really displeases him, don’t do it! It just isn’t worth it to replace your conventional milk with raw milk if it requires you to undermine your man. You may have to get creative with how you add more veggies into your meals if he grew up on canned corn and iceberg lettuce. You might even need to just sit on your ideals and knowledge for a while, praying that your husband will come around, but trusting that God is ultimately in control of the situation and of your family’s health!
3) Give him good information in bite-sized pieces.
Most husbands work long days (or nights) before coming home to their precious families. Though they might be willing to read a book on nutrition to understand what you’ve been learning, they just might not have the time and the energy after they come home, eat a meal, help put the kids to bed and then take some downtime or time alone with you.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned that this is the best way to teach my husband about something: Find a brief article (a couple pages), or one really good chapter of a book, or a video (maybe 20 min. or less) every so often and offer it to him. Tell them that it explains some things that you think are really important and ask them to read/watch it and if you can, discuss it together after. I have found almost every time that my hubby is absolutely willing to do this. He walks away more informed about what I am learning and doing, and usually more convicted on whatever the issue was (raw milk, avoiding toxins, buying meat from clean sources, etc.).
4) Make it your priority to please him.
Next to your relationship with the Lord, your relationship with your husband ought to be the most important in your life. We need to show this in practical ways, and the food we serve is definitely one of them!
In the last couple of years, I have made a point of asking my husband about different meals or baking that I make so that I can find out how much he really likes it. If it’s a thumbs up, it goes on my regular list of things to make. If it’s so-so, we might have it very occasionally. If it’s thumbs down (even if I love it or it’s really good for us), I don’t make it again unless he’s out and won’t be eating it. I have also learned that we are all so much happier when I do my best to take my nutritional principles and apply them to styles of food that he loves. I try to cook in a way that will make my hubby arrive home pleased and eager to eat what I’ve prepared. I love it when he loves what I’ve cooked!
5) Start slow and implement change little by little.
I didn’t grow up eating the way I do now. It took many years and much determination to learn to eat healthfully as I do now, and to overcome a strong dislike of many wholesome foods (beans, brown bread, most veggies, some fruits).
Your husband may be the same. If so, it’s going to take patience and diligence to help him change his tastebuds and learn to like what’s better for him. Perhaps you could ask him if you could introduce a new meal or dish once a week? Or you could take some of his favorites and see if there are small things you can do to make them just a little bit better without removing all the pleasure. Or see if there are changes that he will willingly make, and a few compromise areas that you can just leave as they are for now (because some change is better than none!).