When I married my wife seven years ago, she was 20 pounds lighter. She’s unwilling to sacrifice a constant flow of sugary stuff, and lazy about working out. During our last conversation about her weight, she said I should be attracted to her no matter what, then said, “I’m happy with my weight, and don’t intend to change it.” This sent me into a panic. I’m somewhat and sometimes attracted to her at her current weight, but I would be greatly and frequently attracted if she lost the extra pounds. I want her to understand that being attracted to her is a basic need, and almost all of my crankiness stems from it not being met. I’ve been willing to sacrifice a lot — like working long hours to support our kids while she pursues a career she loves that generates almost no income. I have a strong preference for a certain body type — the one she used to have — and I’m willing to do virtually anything, and pay any amount of money, to see it again. The only thing I’m not willing to do is make her miserable.

—Weighed Down

In the dating phase, women do what it takes to attract and hang on to a man: looking after their looks and maintaining a figure that’s more hourglass than beer keg. While there are some wives whose medical issues prevent them from losing weight, too many interpret “Till death do us part” as “You’re stuck with me forever — more of me than you’d ever imagined.” In worst cases, a woman will eat herself so big that Greenpeace tries to save her — until they realize that’s a scrunchie on her head, not a decorative blowhole.

Beyond all the love hooha, marriage, especially as a child-farming enterprise, is a business partnership. Each partner has one end of the bargain to hold up, including not becoming substantially different from the person the other person married. Yes, I know it can be exhausting taking care of kids, and tedious lifting big old weights instead of Little Debbies. Well, it’s exhausting and tedious earning a living, too, but imagine countering your wife’s “I’m happy with my weight, and don’t intend to change it!” with “I’m happy with the money I’ve earned, and plan to take the rest of my life off to drink beer and wax my car.” Just guessing, but her response probably wouldn’t be turning the other chin.

The sad thing is, many women who are fat aren’t that way thanks to a diet that’s high in cupcakes, or because their fitness goal is avoiding ever going to the gym. In fact, their attempts to lose weight might be making them fat. Award-winning investigative science journalist Gary Taubes has discovered that we’ve been sold a bill of goods by the medical establishment, which based its advice to follow high-carb, low-fat diets on “science” instead of science. In Taubes’ exhaustively researched book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, he lays out substantive evidence that obesity is caused by carbs — from flour, sugars, and easily digested starches like potatoes — that cause insulin levels to rise. When insulin levels rise, we stockpile calories as fat. Eating foods with very low (or no) carbs — meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, butter and non-starchy veggies — decreases appetite and increases fat loss and weight loss.

Women have been brainwashed by feminism’s whacked contention that men “shouldn’t” care about women’s looks, that what’s inside is all that matters. And because women don’t care nearly as much about men’s looks, they can’t understand why men are so fixated on theirs. The truth is, male sexuality is different from female sexuality. It’s highly visual, which explains the vast porn industry for men, and the itsy bitsy — almost novelty — industry for women. And, while men go for nonstop body shots in their porn, Susan Dominus reports in The New York Times that not only do women want more plot, more emotion and more conversation, they want to know “Is the bedspread pretty?” and “Why is she wearing those shoes?”

You need to help your wife understand that you’re making this plea because you love her and want to keep the spark in your marriage (and sadly, you aren’t able to make do with the kind generated by her thighs rubbing together). Chapter 3 of evolutionary psychologist David Buss’ book The Evolution of Desire should help you explain that men are hard-wired to be looks-driven. After you get that out of the way, explain what you wrote above: You sacrifice a lot for her and your kids, without reservation. You ask only one thing from her — not that she meet some bizarro new need, just that she start acting like she said “I do” to being in a partnership with you, not “I dough.”

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)