Midlife Marriage: Rejoicing in the Spouse of Your Youth
- Friday, April 04, 2008
Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. ~ Malachi 2: 15
We both stood with our teens at the “To Go” order desk waiting for our dinners so we could jump back into the fast lane of family life. Two strangers, two moms, engaged in conversation to bide the time. As with most conversations among midlife women, the topic soon turned to stress. It didn’t take long before this very together-looking leader with whom I chatted asked me what I did for a living. When I shared that my husband Bill and I have a relationship ministry, she said, “Well maybe you can help me with mine.” Then my new friend did what many women in midlife do -- she spilled her story of all the stressors, all the responsibilities, and all the built up frustrations that accompany many midlife marriages. She was ready to throw in the towel.
Our culture seems to place a high value on the euphoria of young love and early romance, rarely taking into account the challenges that come as we advance through the decades together. So what’s a midlife married couple to do?
Get Real: Midlife marriages experience more stress because of the season of life we are in. When I shared this news with my new friend, she seemed to gain hope.
Think about it: Midlife moms are either older moms with little kids (exhausting), raising teens (more exhausting) or paying for graduations, cars, college, or weddings (expensively exhausting!)
This doesn’t even take into account the rising number of grandparents raising their grandchildren (expensive and exhausting a second time around!) Or, how about the pressures resulting from success: people want your wisdom, your connections, your volunteer time, your expertise in business or life. And for some, add in pressures like: corporate downsizing, retirement transitions, and health challenges like menopause or midlife crisis issues. In addition, many parents in midlife marriages must deal with prodigal young adults sowing their wild oats.
It’s not uncommon for the midlife marriage to seem dull and lifeless. But what you're really experiencing is extreme pressure and the need for a vacation! If the midlife couple will commit to hang on, get those kids out of the house and go on a second honeymoon, things might look a whole lot better!
Get educated: Midlife comes with a prepackaged set of obstacles to overcome -- the biggest issue being your age. High blood pressure, rising cholesterol levels, weight gain and diabetes, menopause and the growing need for medications like Premarin, Prozac, Levitra, and Viagra are just a few of the hundreds of physical issues that midlifers could face. But If you get educated and get equipped, what looked like a negative can turn into a positive.
When Bill and I hit 45, his blood pressure was up and my cholesterol was rising so we took this opportunity to add more personal time into our schedules in the form of “workout dates.” We lost a little weight and gained some much needed romantic time. For our anniversary last year, we bought each other bikes and now we try to ride to romantic spots.
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