Quick Poll: Getting your partner on board. What turned it around for you?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2013-07-10 21:15:58 -0500
Started 2013-06-27 11:35:19 -0500


It seems like every few days I see a discussion post from a member whose partner is not all that supportive. After all, who likes change? Especially when it comes to the things that bring pleasure in life, like food?

But when one person in house is diagnosed with diabetes, everybody is diagnosed. Nobody knows that more than diabetics.

So, if you and your partner are finally on the same page — if your partner is working with you on help you to stay compliant with your diet and other lifestyle changes — maybe even changing their own eating habits for the better — how did you get them on board? Gentle encouragement? Tough love? Did you enlist somebody else to help you out, like your doctor? Or maybe you stayed on the path long enough without your partner's support that they finally decided to accept the new normal and started working with you. Or at least not getting in your way. .

It would be great to hear about your experiences with helping your partner to accept the changes that living with diabetes requires, and teaming up with you.

I'm all ears (eyes)!

25 replies

Poodle gal
Poodle gal 2013-07-10 21:15:58 -0500 Report

My husband has been a tremendous support for me—but what really helped was getting his input on what was best for both of us to eat. Eating as a diabetic is really just healthy eating! We look at recipes together and we fill-out the shopping list together. There are a few foods that my husband buys that I simply don't eat, but for the most part there are lots of healthy options for both of us. One thing I would encourage is eating a variety of foods, but eating them in a smaller quantity. Use a smaller plate for meals and occasionally have a dessert. Eating this way is a life changer! I don't feel deprived and also manage to keep my blood sugars at acceptable levels.

If a spouse feels included in the planning, shopping, and cooking of the meals, he or she will feel "included" in this new lifestyle change. In the long run, everyone benefits!!

I hope that this helps!

mkoullias73 2013-07-09 11:18:29 -0500 Report

My husband outta very supportive as much as he can or knows how to be. . He had trouble understanding that I have to eat at basically the same time every day. ..he is one of those people who eats not bc he had to buy bc he needs to. He had actually forgotten to eat and has gotten a headache from it. ..or schedules are very crazy especially with his work. ..I try too make sure I always carry food in my purse especially since we have kids. .. they eat cause I make sure of it but I was told I have to eat 6 Times a day and that's hard

BroadwayGirl 2013-07-09 01:12:06 -0500 Report

For me(although I'm not married, only dating) there was no struggle at all. Actually, my boyfriend initially approached me because I'm diabetic. His mother was a diabetic too and he said I reminded him a lot if her. It was also nice not to have to explain it all to him. He understands how much the influx in my blood sugars effect me, and when under him, he is always supportive and helpful. It's like a perfect situation. <33

GabbyPA 2013-07-05 07:58:13 -0500 Report

My husband is a mixed bag actually. But then, I guess we all are. He looks out for me in ways he understands, like making sure my tea is unsweetened in a restaurant. He will ask me if my levels are good and now that I am on insulin, he has been introduced to the "low". It scared him quite a bit.

So while he still doesn't totally understand what I am going through, he still loves me and looks out for me the best he knows how. I try not to inflict too much of my requirements on him, as he can eat anything and have a 76 fasting. However, our eating habits have changed enough to improve his lab reports in his high cholesterol and triglycerides. So we are both happy in that regard.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-07-06 20:40:28 -0500 Report

Hi Gabby,

It is great to hear from you. I always appreciate your honesty and wisdom.

Well said. Spouses often help in ways they can understand, where they feel comfortable, and feel like they are helping. Over time, and with some "patient" education, they can increase their knowledge and be more supportive. And yes, watching someone experiencing a low can be quite an education in itself.

And when spouses figure out that an optimal diabetic is good for them, too, then they can become an even more active partner.

Thanks for checking in!


Prprincess0923 2013-07-01 19:45:10 -0500 Report

The thought of not having my husband being supportive of my diabetes would of been upsetting to me. I thank God he's supportive and helps me in any way he can and reads about it and tell me thing that I need to do health wise and more too. He even makes sure I check my sugars and take my medication as well.he even checks my feet too. He's a great man/ husband too.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-07-02 16:35:46 -0500 Report

Hello Prprincess,it sounds like your husband is a real gem! It makes the road that much easier to travel when you have someone who is willing to share the challenges, and the celebrations. Excellent!

VRandy 2013-06-29 13:07:20 -0500 Report

My wife went with me to the initial training/information sessions. We learned together. I am blessed with a loving wife who wants me to be healthy. She lives what I call an 'unselfish' lifestyle…a practice of her faith in Christ. Glad to respond. It gives me an opportunity to express my gratitude!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-30 15:16:27 -0500 Report

Hi Randy,

Thanks for checking in, my friend. You're right, you are certainly blessed to have such a supportive wife. A reason to be gateful!


CassandraG 2013-06-29 12:25:52 -0500 Report

My husband was always you can do it babe. Then he would want mash potatoes, gravy and corn with his dinner. LOL Then one night he thought he was having a heart attack. I told him it was not a heart attack once we got to the hospital and he was hooked up. I asked the doctor to check his blood sugar and BANG it was 500+. I had tested his sugar about 3 months earlier and it was over 400 then but he would not listen. Now we both are and he is much more understanding of what I was going through when I was the only one in the house.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-30 15:15:23 -0500 Report

Hi Cassandra,

Wow, what an amazing story. And one that I have heard before (including the one from Carla48, just below yours). An opportunity for you to be a team together. I suspect he is looking to you for guidance at this point.

Thanks for sharing this with us. Keep us posted on how you're doing!


Carla48 2013-06-28 17:22:14 -0500 Report

What changed in my household was the day 2 years ago when I asked my hubby to let him test him, because he was very ill and I was trying to convince him he was showing Type 2 symptoms. He blew a 279 FASTING. I got him to accept my help getting him approved for SSDI, which he badly needed as he is disabled from other conditions.

There were more battles to come, between us and with ourselves. he found his way back to control much easier than I have, and sometimes doesn't get it when I explain that I cannot process rice or pasta like he does, and get a decent BS the next morning. He is beginning to be really helpful to me now, and wants to help me achieve the control he has, and that is a big help.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-29 10:36:10 -0500 Report

Hi Carla,

Wow, what a great story. A perfect example of a team approach to diabetic self-care, supporting each other, traveling the road together. Thanks a lot for sharing this!


Stuart1966 2013-06-28 14:02:04 -0500 Report

Decades of experience riding this dragon prior to marriage provides a certain perspective, detachment in some respects anyway.

The same way we must learn to sleep in the same bed, make mutual decisions about furniture… my diabetes is an issue which is common to both of us. We both have experience with its teeth and claws.

I believe at times… (with experience?) we may require protection from ourselves. Our dopey mistakes, our (@#&@#@ stupid errors, even our unbelievable screw-ups whatever they may be, our partners, spouses are witness to them.

As witnesses, as those who help us brush-off, and hopefully stand again they are given the right to help us. To whatever degree they are able, in whatever manner they are capable. Sometimes, I fear as diabetics… we may require "protection" from ourselves. A difficult place for one you love.

My best answer Gary is this… as diabetics we have many different channels. Some reach us easily, others do not. If there is a goal, defeating some stubbornness, a particular stupidity, a new habit to improve the quality of our health, sometimes a radically new approach may be needed.

Bribery, ignore the complaint(s), blatant seduction… if it is a new direction… it must be carefully done. The tools are endless. Old habits do not give way easily. If/when better ideas occur, I will try again…

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-29 10:30:13 -0500 Report

Hey Stuart,

Well said! When one member of the household is diagnosed, everybody in the house receives the diagnosis. Working together as a team requires a lot of patience, compassion, dedication, and being able to adjust to change. Compliance is a process, not a destination.

Thanks for checking in here, my friend.


msann 2013-06-27 21:30:31 -0500 Report

My hubby was that way so this month he also diabetic but he doing pretty good so far!!!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-28 16:17:29 -0500 Report

Hi msann,

So, now the two of you can be a team, helping each other to stay on the self-care path. Glad to hear your husband is doing well!


ShellyLargent 2013-06-27 15:19:41 -0500 Report

My diabetes was always just dollar signs to my husband. Always "How much is this?" or "How much does that cost?" We finally had it out one night and I told him that if he couldn't stop putting my diabetes care into terms of $$$ only, then I would find someone who could… The threat of me actually leaving him because of the lack of support was enough to open his eyes.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-28 16:16:30 -0500 Report

Hi Shelly,

I think that spouses can get hit by the fear factor, and then they focus on the most obvious effect of your diagnosis, in your husband's case, the cost. And then that's what they talk about.

Sounds like you woke him up by letting him know that, like it or not, this is the deal with diabetes.

Nice to see you!


Nick1962 2013-06-27 14:44:51 -0500 Report

I was lucky. My wife and I had both reached “married weight” and needed to seriously go on diets. I was diagnosed about a year prior (my year of hell), and we ended up taking a diet/nutrition challenge class and started a new eating plan that fits a diabetic perfectly. Only problem is she can fall off the wagon, I can’t.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-28 16:13:06 -0500 Report

Hi NIck,

A team approach to this, with both of you recognizing the potential benefit. Great idea! But you're right, backsliding is not an option for you.

Thanks for sharing this!


jigsaw 2013-06-27 14:23:06 -0500 Report

I continually passed along pertinent info to my wife, from news paper articles, computer links, books etc. A great deal of patience on my part was incorporated also. One last thing, I took up cooking our meals since she hates to cook and prepare foods. She definitely loves that result. Now, she lets me know when I eat anything unhealthy. We both eat healthier meals then in the past.
My daughter, that's another story. She is married, and when my wife and I went to visit her, and her husband, there was no telling what foods would end up on her table. Just recently she found out that her husband was pre-diabetic. It was the awakening call for her, her husband and kids. You'll never guess who she calls with questions concerning healthy diet now. How ironic life can be! Now I can even visit my daughter, and enjoy a healthy meal.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-28 16:11:35 -0500 Report

Hey jigsaw,

It sounds like you really took responsibility here, took charge of your self-care and invited your wife to join you. You didn't expect her to do the work, to manage your diet for you, to be the one to get informed. That is being an empowered patient.

And look at the results you got! She learned to appreciate a healthy diet.

Sounds like you really set a great example for your family. Now your daughter is also looking to you for guidance.

Great job! Thanks for letting us know how you made it happen.


Harlen 2013-06-27 13:35:18 -0500 Report

I am so lucky my wife is an RN and she's worked with me from day one Thank god
I don't think I would have gotten where I am with out he .
Support is the 2nd biggest thing you need the first is you making you do what you need too.so yep I an lucky when I slip she gives me a swift kick in the but to keep going lol

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-06-28 13:41:09 -0500 Report

Hey Harlen!

Nice to see you, my friend!

So glad to hear you have such great support. There is a whole lot to be said for accountability, someone standing by to help keep you on the path. Nice to have a RN in the house!


Next Discussion: test test »