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Dr. David: “Can I tell my wife she needs to lose weight?”

Dr. David: “Can I tell my wife she needs to lose weight?”

My wife has a BMI over 30 and I'm concerned about her health, but she thinks I'm criticizing her appearance. What do I do?

The Irish playwright and debater George Bernhard Shaw had as his host at a dinner party a flamboyant and somewhat foolish woman. Her only positive quality was her beautiful exterior. After a while, the woman excitedly suggests that she and Shu have children together because the combination of her looks and his mind will produce absolutely perfect children. Shaw then answers brusquely: “Yes, but think how much worse it would be if it were the other way around.”

One might rightfully wonder what this has to do with your question at all. I see it as an important foundation for how we as humans interact. The humor in the answer shows how tradition often gets in the way of truth. I'm not urging anyone to be completely impolite or rude, but genuine interest cannot be hampered by too much social veneer. Especially when it comes to the person you're with and who you really care about.

There is no patented solution, but there are many strategies that are not directly suitable. One I definitely think you should avoid: Never precede the problem you want to talk about with another George Bernhard Shaw quote.

“There is no truer love than the love of food.”