I think every man and woman going through midlife asks the question “Will my marriage survive this midlife transition?’ I know I have asked myself that question at least once daily. While there are many variables that can factor in to the answer, statistics show that 60% percent of divorces are initiated by women between the age of 40 through 60 and even beyond. Now that doesn’t look very promising does it?
Most of us have spent 15, 20, 25, 30 years with our spouses. We have children and grandchildren together, memories we’ve shared and a life we have built together. Now I don’t believe that we have spent all this time building a life, a home and a family just to turn 50 and walk away from it all. Do you? Do you feel that while building this life it was always the intention to leave it all behind when times became trying? We have all had trying times during this life building thing. Raising children can be trying. Financial strife can be trying. Caring for aging parents can be trying. Illnesses can be trying, too. But, we got through all that tough stuff. Why does it seem that midlife is the one trying time that we seem to want to throw in the towel? Give up … move on?
One answer, when men and women hit midlife they are also faced with the realization of their own mortality. The term, “the last chapter of my life” becomes reality. The feeling of young immortality leaves us as quickly as the leaves fall off a tree. We begin to hear the tick, tick of time. We haven’t accomplished anything on our bucket lists nor have we wrote that book or traveled to the Andes. We begin to feel a sense of urgency to make it all happen in, what we perceive as, the short time we have left.
Women, particularly, no longer feel the need to nurture. We are faced with the question, “Who am I?’ We have lost ourselves during the times of child rearing, nurturing and caring for a family. We haven’t been given the chance in our lives to focus on us. Until now. With all the distractions of rearing, nurturing and caring we find that there is a communication break down with our spouses. I believe we thought we were communicating and maybe we were. We were communicating about the finances, the children, career choices but we were not communicating on an intimate one on one basis with our spouses. It became normal, which in reality was not communicating at all.
A side note to Men: If you’re perplexed and looking for answers on how to deal with your wife in menopause, please stop right here and read my post Menopause, Are Men Really The Victims? The Astonishing Answer Hopefully this will give you some clarity and make sure you come back to finish reading on Midlife and Marriage.
In my extensive research, I have read countless comments on the menopause blogs from men who state “I just want the woman I married back” “I want us to be like we used to be.” Mr. R has been guilty of this as well. But, so have I. I can recall many times when I was in a manic mood that I screamed “I want my husband back” “I want us to be like we used to be” it wasn’t until during a self reflection that I realized …
No, I don’t want it to be like it used to be. I want it to be BETTER than it use to be because I’m going to be BETTER than I was.
It all seems so confusing doesn’t it? How do we begin to communicate with a person we barely even know? How does life progress if the past continues to present itself? Like I said earlier, there are many variables that come to play. Are you in an abusive relationship? Infidelity? Addiction?, if so, these are definite factors to consider. However, if your variables are:
- I have been cleaning up after my husband for 20 years and I’m tired of it,
- My husband is as romantic as a tick in a dog’s ear,
- My husband loves his golf buddies more than me
Then I think the question you both need to ask yourselves is:
Are you still “IN” love? not just Love but IN Love like the day you first fell in love, like on your wedding day when you looked into each others eyes and said I do.
Sure, you have differences, I’m a huge foodie, Mr. R likes to eat out of a paper bag. Mr. R loves his NASCAR Racing, I find the fumes to be toxic. Essentially, the only common denominator in our marriage is “Love” other than that we are as different as night and day. Are we going to let these differences define the future of our marriage? I certainly hope not. Just because we don’t share the same interests doesn’t mean we don’t love one another nor does it mean we are no longer “IN” love with each other.
Communication has been a huge factor in our marriage. How do you communicate with someone in which you share no interests. So much so, we just simply forgot how to speak nicely to each other. Communication can be re-learned if both spouses are vested enough in the relationship.
A difference in interests only means we are human, born with the wonderful blessings of individuality. I can’t say this enough but each can be worked out if both spouses are vested. This is the little stuff which takes a huge amount of work if you’re still “IN” love.
I believe for a marriage to survive menopause and midlife the questions each spouse should be asking are:
- Are we still ‘IN‘ love?
- Are we willing to give our spouse the room to explore their own interests without feeling neglected?
- Are we vested enough in this relationship to re-learn communication?
- Can each of us understand that we are not going to be the same as we were before but with a little hard work and love we can be BETTER than we were before?
If you both answer yes to the questions above don’t throw in the towel, don’t give up but give it time. Most importantly, realize that life is NOT going to be the same as it once was and work together on making it BETTER than it ever was all in the name of LOVE.
Has your marriage been affected by the midlife transition?
See you in the comments,