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Rick was biting his fingernails while waiting in the block-long Starbucks cue. It wasn’t until he was finally seated and gulping his double espresso latte, licking the cruller icing off his trembling fingers and gazing out the window that he could again wonder: how can I fix my marriage?
Instead of seeking another traditional couples counselor, he may just need to tilt his head down 90 degrees.
Rick’s answer may just lie in that 12-ounce dose of caffeine and an oversized lump of sugar-coated lard. Why might he be starting his day with 1,000 blood pressure-elevating, diabetes-generating inflammatory calories?
Maybe he needs a jolt of energy to battle the blues before work. Maybe he and his wife Melinda’s shouting match damaged his hearing last night. Maybe the two of them haven’t spoken at all in three days. Or maybe they’re talking, but more like roommates than lovers, or daring adventurers in family-hood. Either way, he’ll just keep craving more quick-fix sugar, no matter how many calories he consumes. Why? Because his body will be breaking down that refined sugar at lightning speed, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket.
As Rick rushes through his day he may realize the lunch hour has come and gone, but he’s late to a client presentation, so he grabs a drive-thru bundle of cholesterol, carbs, and preservatives. By the time he comes home to Melinda, the sugar high will be long gone and his digestive track may be reeling, begging for robust protein, nutrients, and antioxidants.
Rick’s hunger may turn him into a cranky, compassionless curmudgeon right at the moment when he needs to turn relations around with some rational communication. Instead, in this state of mind, he’s likely to explode at the slightest annoyance and pick up where he and Melinda left off the night before. And if neither of them has had a nutritious, balanced meal in 24 hours they may very likely be too exhausted to fight it out. They may just order a pizza and scarf it down with a few beers and sitcoms, then go to bed hurt, angry and disconnected. Again.
How can they rescue their relationship?
First of all, skip the TV, get more sleep and wake up early enough to have a real breakfast. Together. Dump the crueler in the garden for the birds, grab an egg white-veggie (the greenest veggie you can enjoy) and sit down together to eat eye-to-eye, ear-to- ear. By no means does this mean you have to speak. Just listen to each other chew and breathe for a while. Hear the wind against the broken window. Watch last night’s SNL monologue. Chew slowly, and with each bite become more comfortable with each other’s presence. Slowly, gradually you can boost your immune system, alter your mood, notice the sun. If you can sit together every morning for a week listening to endorphin-releasing music or comedy while eating patience-generating nutrients, who can gradually begin to reroute the neurotransmitter highways in your brain, and silently, gingerly begin to reconnect.
Have you ever reconnected with your spouse over a meal? Did it work? I’m squirming with curiosity;)
Thanks for sharing your stories – they help me rescue relationships all over the world!
Cheers – to less talk and more love!
Philip DeLuca MSW, LCSW is a couples counselor and relationship expert in Matthews, North Carolina.
To talk to Phil about your relationship, or individual counseling, call today, or fill out the contact form and click Send.