What to do When You and Your Spouse are on Opposite Sides of the Fence Regarding Natural Living

What to do When You and Your Spouse are on Opposite Sides of the Fence Regarding Natural Living

Not long ago, my daughters and I shopped at a favorite health and wellness store in our quaint little town. I love the products they sell in that store and could have looked around for a good hour, but on this particular day, I only needed toothpaste.

I placed the carton of fluoride-free toothpaste on the counter and reached for my wallet while my youngest daughter gave her classically adorable stink-face expression and exclaimed, "Eww, mommy, why are you buying that kind of toothpaste?!"

The woman helping us smiled wide, looked at her and asked, "What? You don't brush your teeth?" 

"Not with that! I use Crest!" 

There's nothing wrong with the brand I was buying. It's mint flavored like Crest, and does an excellent job keeping my teeth clean and my mouth fresh. The only difference to the brand of toothpaste my kids and husband use is that this one doesn't have any fluoride in it. To me, that's the healthier option.

My husband doesn't see it the way I do. After all, the argument over whether or not fluoride is safe has been going on for more than 50 years, and guess what, it's still in major brands of toothpaste, used at the dentist's office during a cleaning, and some children are even given fluoride at school.

By the way, I'm pretty sure I used to be one of those kids when I was in grade school. I'm still here, and lived to talk about it, so I understand my husband's skeptical point of view.

At the same time, I don't see how choosing healthier products with more natural ingredients, and less chemicals or toxins is a bad thing. I know we won't ever be able to completely eliminate all chemicals and toxins from our lives, but I'm determined to do what I can.

Does it really hurt to lessen the burden on our body when possible? I think not.

Other Natural Living Topics Hubby and I Don't Agree On:

  • Buying Organic
  • Avoiding Sugar
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Eating More Vegetables than Fruit, Protein, and Carbs
  • Coconut Oil and it's Benefits
  • Whole Grain Bread vs. White Bread
  • Gluten-Free
  • Naturopath Doctors and Functional Medicine
  • Natural Whole Food Supplements
  • The Danger of Certain Chemicals in Beauty Products
  • Triclosan in Hand Sanitizer and Other Antibacterial Products
  • Whether or Not Shakeology Really Works or is Healthy
  • The Power of Essential Oils
  • The Importance of Being Our Own Health Advocate
  • Hormone Imbalance and How Lifestyle Affects Hormones
  • Toxin Overload in the Body
  • The Importance of Quality, Uninterrupted Sleep

...and so much more.

Now, this is not a post meant to slam my husband or to say I'm right and he's wrong. I just want to authentically share with you that this is a real struggle in our home.

You see, I'm the one who really feels it's important to make certain lifestyle changes, and for our family to enjoy the health benefits of those changes, it would definitely help to be united with my husband in making it happen. But it's just not that big of a deal to him.

Of course, he has supported me in a lot of changes because he loves me and knows my heart is well-intentioned - not because he believes those changes are necessary or will make much of a difference. He won't change what he personally uses or consumes, so that is off limits for me to make adjustments to. Although, he did agree to the All-Natural Jif Peanut Butter. Grudgingly.

I love talking about natural health, natural healing, nutrition, and wellness, yet when I talk with my hubby about those topics it almost always turns into a near argument.  He has his very skeptical opinions. I have mine. The rub? Our kids learn by our example.

With young daughters watching both mom and dad, it can be challenging to teach and encourage them to choose healthier options for their long-term health and wellness when he and I are demonstrating two completely different lifestyles and opinions about those lifestyles.

Can you relate with what I'm sharing today? Is this struggle real in your home, too?

So What's a Health-Conscious Mom and Wife to Do?

In short - do what you can, when you can, as often as you can.

Here's what I've been doing...

What to do When You and Your Spouse are on Opposite Sides of the Fence Regarding Natural Living

Respect Your Husband

I don't agree with many of the lifestyle habits my husband turns to - Diet Coke, candy bars, endlessly munching on pretzels, not exercising, not getting enough quality sleep - but I respect and dearly love the good, honest, hard-working, honorable, and faithful man and husband that he is.

I'm not going to change his habits. He has to want to change his ways, otherwise it won't be a good or lasting change for him. My prayer is that as I strive to make healthy changes and he sees the benefits I enjoy from them, he'll jump on board too.

Accept that your husband is who he is. He's the man you fell in love with. If he changes, it will be because he chooses to on his own, not because you've made him do so. He's not a child. Don't treat him like one. 

Start Small With Unnoticeable Changes

I started with simple swaps for my every day beauty products. I switched to toxin-free makeup, shampoo, deodorant, body soap, and body lotion. I also significantly reduced my use of perfume. These were changes only recognizable to me. They didn't impact anyone in the family, so there was no grief or complaint involved.

Next, I moved on to household products like the hand soap at each bathroom sink, and the dishwasher detergent. I learned how to make my own toxin-free laundry detergent, swapped fabric softener out for vinegar, and switched all other cleaning products to more natural, toxin-free options.

♥  Try out a few behind-the-scene changes and see if anyone notices. Unless there's an unexpected allergic reaction to say...a different laundry detergent formula, I'll bet you hear not a word from anyone in the family about the healthier changes. You can always have a teaching-moment conversation with the kiddos later on if they ask about it.

Gradually Change the Foods You Purchase and Consume

I started a conversation with the family one evening about how many food colors were on our dinner plate, and how the more color we ate, the healthier the meal. It became kind of a game with my kids and I was surprised by my husband's willingness to participate, too. In doing this, I found adding more fruit and veggies to our meals was easier for everyone to accept.

Then I started looking for organic versions of the normal foods we tend to eat. If it was available in organic and looked fresh, I'd buy that versus non-organic. In our small town, I notice much of the organic produce in the grocery store is small in size and looks like it's only a moment away from turning rotten. So thankful for my summer garden!

One more thing I did was to look up recipes in the Paleo diet world because many of the ingredients they incorporate are clean, unprocessed, sugar-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. I found a few new recipes I knew everyone would eat that are now family favorites. (And they don't even realize they're eating *gasp* paleo!)

♥  Make healthy living a fun and positive experience for everyone in the family, and try out a new healthy recipe or two. It's really not as difficult as it seems to have 7 healthy dinners planned out for each week. Most veggies are simple to prepare and are actually best served raw.

Learn to Make Homemade

I started with salad dressing. I love a good Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing on my salad. My husband has always used fresh squeezed lemon juice with salt and pepper on his - nothing I need to change there. My daughters love Ranch dressing. So I found a few recipes online for homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette and was shocked by how simple and delicious it is to make! I have not yet made homemade Ranch, only because I keep forgetting to buy Buttermilk and we haven't run out of our current Ranch dressing yet, but it is on the list.

Same with homemade hamburger buns. Very quick and easy to make. The only time I'll buy burger buns now is if I don't have 45 extra minutes to prep and bake homemade buns. I'd love to venture into homemade sandwich bread but I know it has a more dense texture than store bought bread which I may get complaints about from the family. It's on the list to try later this month. Other things I love to make now are pizza dough, pizza sauce, and I'm playing around with homemade ice cream, although I have not perfected that one yet.

♥  This isn't for everyone, and I get it. I used to work full time outside of the home and had no time for making food from scratch. BUT, if you can find the time, learn to make a few things homemade to cut out unnecessary additives and chemicals. I've also discovered that it's cost-saving, too! 

Avoid Getting Crazy Over It

I have a very Type-A personality, and I know I'm perfectly capable of getting totally crazy about setting healthy living boundaries and forcing myself and everyone else in the family to adhere to them. I want this to be a positive shift in our life, though. I want my husband and my daughters to gradually experience that healthy living is not such a bad thing and they won't feel deprived of the things they love.

This means I have to give grace to them and to myself. It's okay to have a treat from time to time. Donuts for breakfast on a random Sunday morning won't kill us. It's okay to wear that favorite perfume every so often. Enjoying a margarita and some chips and guacamole for Cinco de mayo with my hubby is perfectly fine. A square of Ghirardelli dark chocolate a few nights per week isn't going to hurt.

♥  Change what you can, when you can, as often as you can. Don't fret about the rest. What's most important is making strides towards better health and wellness on a regular basis. You can do it!

Do you have this similar struggle in your home? What are your thoughts on this topic?

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Rosann Cunningham

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Author at Rosann Cunningham
Rosann is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in hormone health. She is also a fitness junkie, with a specific passion for mixed martial arts style kickboxing and is trained in Krav Maga - a military self-defense fighting system. After a Hashimotos diagnosis which turned out to be a very wrong call, Rosann became her own health advocate and fought her way back to optimal health and wellness. She is determined to help her clients dig deep to find the root cause of their hormone health struggles, so they too, can thrive and live the abundant life of health and happiness they deserve. Rosann believes nobody should be a victim in life or in their health, so in her coaching practice she loves to integrate a martial arts style and sense of accountability.

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