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I’ve been married to my loving and hard-working husband for almost 10 years. We have a wonderful marriage and two beautiful kids. But one thing is causing friction and I’d love to get your opinion. My husband isn’t a big fan of doctors, and hasn’t gotten a physical in at least three years. He takes pretty good care of himself by eating healthy overall and working out regularly, but in my view, that doesn’t take the place of regular check-ups. I keep telling him how important it is to me that he get a new primary care physician and make an appointment (he decided he didn’t like his past PCP, which is part of what halted the physicals).
The discussions started off pretty calmly when I first realized he hadn’t gone in a long time, but have now sometimes gotten pretty heated. He keeps responding that he will, but still hasn’t many months later. He knows how important this is to me – I love him very much and want him around, and our kids need a healthy dad, too – but it doesn’t seem to rise to the level of importance for him to take time out from his busy life. He says he wants to be very selective of a new doctor, too, and I think he’s using that as an excuse for delaying reaching out to one. And I think he’s being stubborn and possibly rebelling against my request as a power struggle (though he denies this, of course). I do get that it’s HIS body in the end, and his choice. But I wish he’d take to heart how much his health affects our family, and how important this is to me as his wife. What do you suggest here?
– Don’t Keep the Doctor Away
The thing with a primary care physician is that they’re often the gateway to every other doctor you need. I understand why your husband might not think much of an annual visit where you get weighed, blood pressure, is checked, etc. – especially if his health is consistent – but what about the other tests that come with age? What about the colonoscopy you get at 45? A skin check by a dermatologist? I have to focus on the colonoscopy stuff because of family history, but I can’t do that without a primary care physician.
I suggest asking him about those bigger tests – the ones that often save lives. If it’s time for him to get those exams, what’s his plan?
I would also ask him if you can be helpful. Perhaps this is about not having the time and energy to call an insurance company or google a bunch of names. Maybe he’d be open to you making some calls.
This might make things worse for your argument (sorry), but I’ve read a lot about how often people should see doctors. I thought about it during lockdown times when so many people couldn’t get into an office, and after a few of my own medical appointments became virtual. One article from a Harvard Medical School publication suggested that these annual appointments aren’t vital, and that there are better ways to work with doctors for preventative plans. That would mean it’s important for your husband to really trust his next PCP.
Perhaps if you let your husband know he has a point, some of that resistance will go away. Then you can move on to practical next steps.
Readers? Have you had a similar issue at home? Married people: do you know when your spouse has last seen a doctor?
Everyone is calling you a nag and saying he takes care of himself and he’s an adult and to leave him alone. I’ll be the opposite. I take good care of myself, eat healthily, and I’m a runner….and I ended up in the ER with a blocked artery. A running friend didn’t see a doctor for close to 8 years and he finally went after tiring of the constant nagging from his wife and they found testicular cancer. My cardiologist told me that it’s because I’m active that I didn’t realize something was wrong, because the body adapts more for active people! Keep after him, LW, maybe he’ll get checked and say ‘see, told you so!’ He wins for proving you wrong, and you win for getting him to get checked.JonRunsGrafton
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