Love Is Good For You

A friend once told me about a corollary to the “freshman fifteen.” The “newlywed fifteen.” Get married, gain weight.

Well, it was certainly true in my case. I try not to do the chick thing of obsessing about my figure, because really, it’s not like my work is dependent on my hips being a certain circumference. But when I was single, I rarely ate more than a bowl of pasta or a salad every day. I subsisted on coffee and the day-old bagel bin at my friend Steve’s bakery. Then I moved in with Mr. Athenae, got hitched, and suddenly it was Frozen Pizza Night every night.

Part of it was that when I was single, I was freelancing and had no money for food. Part of it was that I rarely adhered to meal rules: I’d nibble all day on some lettuce and cheese or eat peanut butter out of the jar all weekend instead of having dinner with potatoes and veggies and meat every night. And part of it was that Mr. Athenae likes things like franks and beans and fish sticks and mac and cheese that I never would buy for myself anyway. Plus, I was driving a lot instead of biking or walking up to 10 miles a day to get places. Having a car automatically adds a few pounds.

It wasn’t all bad, of course, though I’d been the same size since high school and buying new clothes instead of the books I wanted sucked. I really was about 10 pounds underweight and noticed I got sick a lot less during the winter after my newfound marital status kicked in in the form of an extra clothes size.

So the idea that marriage should be supported as something that is generally good for you doesn’t come as a complete surprise. When you’re married or with someone, you have somebody to nag you to quit drinking all that coffee or beer, to get some sleep, to get that lingering back pain checked out, to just quit the online chatting already and come and have some spaghetti.

Much as I mourn the antique silk dress I can’t get into anymore, it is generally beneficial to have someone who’ll bring me a popsicle when I have a sore throat.