Does it happen as a result of marital bliss or due to some poor health choices?
It is something that a lot of Nigerians must have come across at some point - the idea that a woman will glow more, become better-looking when she marries the right guy; that a lanky groom will become rounder at the edges and his bride, curvier, as a testament to the happiness in their marriage.
I have heard it many times and you must have, too. And apparently, it’s not just a Nigerian/African thing as researchers in far-flung shores have also been trying to understand if there’s any truth to the concept, or if, like Okafor’s Law, it’s just one of those things that have become ‘established’ on the back of widespread repetition and not necessarily because there’s any proven truth to them.
According to a study conducted by psychology professor, Andrea Meltzer and her colleagues from Southern Methodist University, Texas:
“[Personal] and partner satisfaction were positively associated with changes in weight.”
This is a summation of a survey data collected biannually for four years from 169 newlywed couples.
They also note that:
“Spouses who were less satisfied than usual or had partners who were less satisfied than usual were more likely to consider divorce and thus less likely to gain weight,” and this brings us to a major point which resonates very emphatically with many Nigerians.
Public opinion has it that marrying the right person opens up a world of uninterrupted bliss for you and in that bliss is the tendency to look fresher, add some [or a lot of] weight, etc.
When asked, Teniola [not her real name], a 22-year-old Nigerian agrees with this idea.
“I recently saw my friend who just married and she has already added weight, looking all fresh and fine.”
27-year-old Nosa believes that the weight-gain is real and that it all boils down to the peace of mind one gets in the relationship/marriage.
“When you marry the right person and have contentment and peace of mind, it’s only normal to add weight.
“If, on the other hand, you are with the wrong person who cheats and runs around the place stressing you up, how is one even supposed to add weight?” she asks.
A 2009 study by researchers from the University of North Carolina considered 7,000 people over a span of years and found that once couples began co-habit, they were twice as likely to gain weight as compared to their single friends.
In 2013, a research sponsored by Diet Chef also say that more than 60 per cent of people put on weight when they are in a comfortable relationship. Diet Chef is a British company focused on providing people with healthy food.
Owing to Professor Meltzer’s Popular survey [quite a number of websites ran a story on it], other studies and of course, popular opinion, it is quite easy to plump for peace-of-mind as the reason for weight gain in happy marriages and relationships. And to a typical Nigerian’s ears, that sounds like a great thing.
Hey! Who doesn’t like or want peace of mind?
But sometimes, ‘peace of mind’ could be a connotation for something unpleasant, like a blatant disregard of good diets and a type of unhealthy complacence known to married folks who believe that since they are already married and everything in the marriage is good, their spouse is not complaining, why bother to look good or stay in shape for any reason?
Considered from this context, becoming plumper due to marital bliss is more the result of bad choices than a colourful, great life.
Whether or not the bae complains about that paunch that’s expanding in diameter; whether or not the boo complains about the increasing flabs and folds and slackening body, you should know that you are better suited for all life situations – relationships included - when you are healthy and in top physical condition.
This is what should be your motivation to look good and healthy at all times.
That you are happy and that all is good in your relationship should never lure you into believing that great health is ever expendable.
McShayn's Love Thread is a weekly column that aims at explaining modern relationship practices, and tries to demystify relationship myths while proffering useful advice for stronger relationships and modern marriages. You can read other articles here.