Q: Recently my husband's parents came to visit after an absence of several years. I found that his obese father was even more unbearable than usual and even the kids were uncomfortable around him. He was unable to move around very well so he only got up to rifle through my cupboards and shovel handfuls of food into his mouth.
My husband is also overweight and is heading in the same direction as his father. His weight has always bothered me, but now I realize I absolutely couldn't be married to what his father has become.
My attempts for the last five years to lovingly help him exercise — "Hey let's get fit together this year!" or, "Want to go on a walk? It's beautiful outside," or, "I'm worried about your health sweetie; maybe we should pack you some healthy lunches at work" — have all fallen flat.
How can I be honest about my feelings without hurting his?
A: Have you considered how you'll respond if he does go the way of his dad? Will you leave him? Will you continue sharing a home but in a state of polite alienation? Will you wear it on you in any way that you find him "unbearable"?
Any of these would hurt him more, ultimately, than full truth-telling would now. Using his father's visit as a nudge to say what you want to say would at least give both of you the information you need while you have the most possible lifetime ahead of you to figure out how to use it.
A weight issue that's (1) on course to become a mobility issue for him and, with that, a serious quality-of-life issue for you, and (2) due at least in part to negligence because his self-care effort is apparently nil, tips the argument toward letting him know exactly where you stand.
It also points to professional help, so ask your doctor for referrals. The nature of the excess or deficit is beside the point when self-destruction becomes the point.