Getting Fat: What's Love Got to Do With It?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I love my wife. I also love food. A new study shows if I want to steer clear of gaining even more weight I better keep on loving my wife and do everything necessary to avoid divorce.
You've probably seen the research that shows men who get divorced tend to get fatter.
Interestingly enough, women who get married get fatter; women who get divorced tend to lose weight.
This isn't news to my wife. She has long sworn by the divorce diet. Not that she has a lot of failed marriages to use as data for a personal study, but she was married once before and it was after that union that she got into perhaps the best shape of her life.
And then I came along to ruin it.
So now we face a conundrum: We stay married, and she has the better odds of gaining weight. Or we get divorced and she slims down while I pork up.
I don't mean to joke about divorce. I know it's a serious subject. But I just can't help taking jabs at this recent study.
The first headline I saw was, “Weight gain hits women after marriage, men after divorce.”
The accompanying story noted:
“Clearly, the effect of marital transitions on weight changes differs by gender," lead author Dmitry Tumin, a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University, said in a university news release.
His team looked at weight gain in the two years following a marriage or divorce among more than 10,000 people in the United States surveyed from 1986 to 2008."
The study didn't go into a lot of detail as to why major weight gain is more likely for men after a divorce and for women after marriage.
Study co-author  Zhenchao Qian, a sociology professor,  theorized, "Married women often have a larger role around the house than men do, and they may have less time to exercise and stay fit than similar unmarried women.
“On the other hand, studies show that married men get a health benefit from marriage, and they lose that benefit once they get divorced, which may lead to their weight gain."
Here's my theory: Bull....oney! From what I've seen – and experienced – it's marriage that makes both sexes gain weight. While my wife can blame the two kids for her weight gain, I can simply blame the fact I've been eating for two before, during and after her pregnancies.
For the sake of fair reporting, I have to say our kids are now closing in on 14 and 12. That old excuse excuse about “baby weight” ain't gonna cut it no more, honey. (Please don't tell her I said this – I tend to get real tough when I am writing but wouldn't say such a thing to her in person!)
OK, so why do we gain weight after marriage?
According to a story I stumbled upon while surfing the web, there are the nine major reasons. Um, I can check off just about EVERY reason except one! How about you?
Frank Sinatra sang, “Love and marriage, love and marriage. Go together like a horse and carriage.”
I'm not horsing around when I say that love and marriage go together like... well, like eating like a horse and growing a much bigger carriage!
The way around this is rather simple. Start working out together and make a vow to eat the same meals – and make those meals healthier!
Ready to divorce your bad habits and make a vow to shape up with the one you love?
I now pronounce you man (or woman) and life!
“Matrimony is a process by which a grocer acquired an account the florist had.”
 ~Francis Rodman
Did you and/or your partner gain weight after marriage? Do you agree with the study's findings?

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I am divorce with 2 kids and I have gane a lot of weight. And I'm having trouble losing it. I've added 115ld since my divorce. Report
I gained after marriage and he stayed thin, now that we are retired I am losing and he is gaining. Report
Been married and divorced twice and, yes, I fell within the statistic, certainly. I'm getting ready to embark upon my third (and hopefully LAST) marriage, but we've been living together for two years already and I don't see anything changing. Matter of fact, we both went vegetarian in March 2010, and I actually lost forty pounds since then.

I honestly think that the trick to not letting a marriage affect your weight is to remember that in all things you have to take care of (spouse, kids, house, bills, etc.), at the top of the list should always be YOURSELF. It's not selfish; it's practical. Report
I think time is the biggest factor. I gained after marriage---birthing five children, running a home and working. Taking care of everyone but myself. I now have one child at home and have lost 60 pounds..a lot more time for myself. My husband is genetically small, eats like a pig, and has only gone from a 32 waist to a 34 waist since he was 18 (he is now 56). He is not large, but he is not healthy. I am healthier even with the weight issues. Report
John Gray in Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus said happy marriedd women gain weight. Report
Thanks again for such a great number of comments! Love it! The reason I say baloney to ths study is I don't think it's a well planned-out survey. It seems a more 'headline grabbing" type study. And i happen to believe both mates tend to gain and lose together. On that note, I knew a woman who lost 150 pounds of nasty fat in one day -- she divorced her hubby! :o) Report
We have been married for 25 years and I have not gained weight. He has not really gained weight but the weight has shifted to his belly a bit. So don't agree with the study at all. I have looked after myself all my life, even with having 4 kids. If I am not healthy, I won't be there for my family. Report
I had just lost some weight in high school before I eventually met and married my first husband. But, stresses of it, I started gaining weight during marriage (and that kept being one of several "bones of contentions" between us and we eventually got divorced - the ex stayed skinny regardless.). Then I gained a lot of weight. Then I met and dated my present husband for six years before we got married and I gained a bit more, then lost some when we had our baby, but gained that back. And I've basically leveled off since then - still heavy but not just gaining and gaining more. Hubby gained weight after marriage. Report
We both gained weight. Since we were both extremely thin 30 years ago I would say that we both look normal weights now. However, I would say that I gain weight with stress and he gains weight from eating out 5 days a week. I am no cook believe me. Report
We both have gained a little weight in the 27 years we have been married. Report
I was 20 & gained 5# on our week-long honeymoon over 40 years ago!!! Report
Interesting article since it was true for both my husband and myself.But we are conquering the problem by doing just what the article said. We have embarked on a healthy lifestyle program that we are both working on. We spur each other on to go workout at the gym when one of us just does not feel like it.We support each other in our efforts to become fit. I believe this is , for us, the one activity that we can dotogether and have in common.It's been working for us and we have committed to continue. Report
I've been married so long.... who can remember???? Report
I have to agree with the study. My divorce was final in may and I've lost 35+ pounds since January. The 2 factors I've identified is; 1.I DO have a lot more time to exercise since I'm just taking care of myself. 2.I eat less since I'm only eating when I feel like it and what I want, which is quite a bit lighter than what my ex liked to eat. Report
So, is there an actual problem with the study's methodology that leads you to conclude it's baloney, or are you just rejecting the science in favor of your own anecdotal experience? Report
Yes, I did gain weight after we got married. He likes more meat and potatoes and eats more food than I did and now I tend to overeat even when I am not hungry just because I have to cook for him. Report
I hope this isn't gonna happen to me... I've been married for almost a month now :-) Report
I think the ticket is having a healthy lifestyle that is shared. Stresses are always going to happen . . . single or married, and THAT is many people's undoing. I have been married and fat and (still married!) and thin. SP helped me lose lots of weight and get in the best shape of my life. So, marriage had nothing to do with it (well, maybe not a lot anyway!)

And my kids are 16 and 19, so no "baby weight" excuses for me either, but SHHHH . . . I won't tell your wife! Report
I agree. The study is baloney! Report
Interesting! I wasn't married but ended a seven year live in relationship and have to say that that's the best thing I ever did for my health (both physical and mental!) Now I'm in great shape and he's getting fatter! Report
We both gained weight, but I believe it was because we were very happy and content with each other. We weren't worried that the other would be turned off by the weight gain. However, we both have lost that initial weight and enjoy living healthy lives. And we're still happy and content! Report
Divorced and lost weight. Remarried and gained. The new hubby lost weight. *sigh* I'm a statistic. Report
Humorous thoughts! We both gained weight - and both are losing it! Report
The Bosslady put on weight. And I didn't. (I didn't have much to lose). I think that it may just be that if a lady feels secure and loved then perhaps she tunes in on other things than appearance. The Bosslady has told me that she feels VERY secure and loved so there may be something to that. And the fact that, as a former restaurant cook, I do the cooking in the house (grin). Report
My husband and I, both gained weight, after marriage. I gained 25 lbs. Grrr!!! Hubby didn't gain as much, maybe 16 lbs. We are trying to get fit once again. Report
You are a wise man not to say those things to your wife!!! Women blame pregnancy for weight gain for YEARS! I know from experience! Report
I had been unhappily married and had a child...and weighed 110- 120 for ten years...I met my Hubby and married and the first year I was up to 140. I had never had to diet before. I was a very busy single Mom. I was a very busy new wife and was tight and the fresh foods were traded for something else. Anyway I gained and we are still married...I have been watching my weight for years and on diets and I still am heavy. Hubby has gained too but does not fight with his weight ...he gained but not like I did. Report
I LOVE the quote at the end of your article! My hubby & I both gained weight after we were married but he was quite a bit under-weight when we said I do. I become morbidly obese and he "just" obese! Today I'm happy to say we are both within high normal weight range but it took 37 years to get here. Report
My husband and i both gained weight after marrige. He likes to eat regularly vs I would not. We both love to eat out at restuarants so that doesn't help. I have influenced him to eat a bit better. Since we have been married more than 20 years you have to add in aging and a slowing metabolism. However I now have regular excercise rountin that has helped me slim down. He says he needs to participate but doesn't. I guess I am on the divorce diet without getting divorced! Report
When you are married, the wife tends to cook and thereby the husband is less likely to gain weight (otherwise he's scoffing down fast food). The woman on the other hand tends to gain because he is making (cooking) larger meals and desserts more often than if she was single. And also because a married woman feels more secure with the shape she's in than a single woman does. Report
I was always afraid I would end up fat if I got married. One of the big reasons I married my husband is that he was one of the most active people I have ever known. He was a professional triathlete some years back. Fifteen years into our relationship, we are in our 40s now, and he is competing in a series of uphill bike races, going up mountains, and he is as ripped and fatless as ever. It puts pressure on me not to gain weight, because his weight starts to close in on mine, and I don't want to weigh more than he does. Sometimes it's tiring, but overall, I am grateful that it will keep me fit in the long term.

I do think it's easy to forget that a smaller person needs smaller portion sizes. We often split things 50/50, but I've recently realized that it should be more like 60/40. Report
I can relate to my husband and I both gaining weight after getting married. Of course I had four kids and well he ate right along with me. He gained sympathy weight. But honestly, I have just as much time now as I did then to drop the weight and exercise. It's all about priorities. As for eating the same thing as my husband, being that I cook most of the meals he has no choice right now than to eat healthier. As I am making changes in what we eat and the whole family eats it or gets nothing. Not one of them has gone to bed hungry yet! ;) Report
It looks like a interresting study but it is false. but the only lbs i gained while married to my husband is when i got out of the hospital from having my appendix removed and 6-7 inches of intestine. and then my appetite came back with a vengence and that is how i gained the weight. and i have lost half of it i am down to a size 10 but i am going for one of my goal weight which is either 126lbs or 124 lbs. so i don't beleive that you gain weight after you marry your hubby that is just a little to left of center. Report
Men gain when they get into a longterm relationship! Period! Report
I was one of those women who lost weight on what your wife calls the 'divorce diet' but what I, at the time, called 'the return of my self confidence diet.'

A second marriage, childbirth and years of stress (as well as a stint doing advertising work for M&M/Mars candy and having too much product available) have all had an impact on my weight losses and gains.

I totally get the divorce-loss and comfy-married weight thing. Report
we both put on weight after we married Report
I think women lose weight when they divorce because they seem to suffer more than men do and then don't eat much until they find a new love in their life (this is not always true) - and men gain weight after a divorce because they have to start eating more at fast food places until they learn how to cook for themselves (again, this not the norm) - but I see the situation this way. Report
Well, I don't know, but it seems to me that men can eat more than women, and I think that we eat for all kinds of reasons, but sometimes we eat stuff because our husbands are eating it. That's not good. Report
I lost 65 pounds at age 19 and then met my husband. I had been basically starving myself so when we fell in love, it didn't take long for the pounds to creep back on me. My theory is that women tend to watch their weight more to find a man and once they get married they don't have as much time to take care of themselves. Men, as in the case of my husband, lose weight when they get married because they usually have a wife cooking meals for them instead of eating out all the time which is very fattening. Report
Yes, we did both gain after we got married, and then more so when I became pregnant....didn't lose all that and got pregnant the second "baby" is 22 now so I can't really blame the baby fat any more. I'm working on taking it off after all these years, but so far have yet to meet my goal. Report
Marriage didn't affect my weight, but menopause sure did. I can picture my husband gaining weight if anything happens to me because of the food choices he makes when I am away. Report
Interesting! Report
I gained weight after having five children.
I met a nurse recently who works for a plastic surgeon and she said their biggest group of patients are divorced men who want "it all." She laughed and said they need to look "younger" to date the women they want. No "love handles" I suppose. Report
my husband and I both gained weight after marriage... he jokes that it was my cooking (which is probably true since I love pasta!!) However, we did try to slim down together and it worked... then we stopped working out together and we both gained again! Since then we have adopted a healthier eating and life style and are committed to getting healthier! Good comments!! Report
I've never been divorced, but my husband was. He lost weight & got in good shape after the divorce. Since we've been married he's gained weight, he's says in part due to my cooking. I think it depends how people react to the stress. Some people bury it with food, where it spurs others to wanna make changes. Report
I definitely lost a lot of weight when I got divorced and now that I'm in another serious relationship, I've put a few pounds back on :S Report
I've never been married but every time I've entered a relationship I've put on weight. Once I moved in with my current bf (and last, we plan to get married) I gained even more weight. It's harder to lose when in a relationship too. It's a matter of having to consider someone else's schedule along with your own and eating with someone who probably should eat more than you do (but you tend to match bite for bite). Report
We BOTH gained weight after marriage (and during college)! But after the 1st year, we realized we had gained way more than we ever should have and we began eating healthier and adding exercise into our normal routine. Report
I eat more healthfully now that I'm married, but I also tend to eat/drink a little more - e.g., more dinners out at nice restaurants, and more complete meals more often. My husband is a very healthy eater but he also believes in sitting down to a complete meal: e.g., protein, starch, cooked vegetable and salad. Thankfully, he also cooks more than his fair share of those "complete" meals.

I notice that when I travel (which I do a lot for work), I eat less food but I also eat less healthfully (unless I really pay attention).

Exercise levels have been about the same before and after marriage. Report
I agree with the study! I gained all sorts of weight after getting married 5 years ago and am still struggling to get it off. My husband lost about the same amount I gained after we got married(about 50 pounds)! The thing is my good habits rubbed off on him, and his bad habits rubbed off on me! Neither of us are ever planning on divorce, but if I was single, I know I would find it easier to eat better and exercise more often. Report