Your Christian Wife's Midlife Crisis

(reprint from 2015)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12(NIV)

Two are better than one,

    because they have a good return for their labor:

If either of them falls down,

    one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

    and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

    But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,

    two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Is your Christian wife going through a mid-life crisis?  

If your wife is in midlife and perhaps approaching menopause, part of her crisis-like feelings can be hormonally and life-stage related.  

Do you remember having turbulent early teen years?  Maybe not, maybe so. Boys and girls face a lot of physical changes during puberty that sometimes come with turbulent emotions and the change of life at midlife for a woman is a little like going through puberty again only in reverse.

Hormonal changes do affect brain chemistry which affects a woman's mood. When combined with a life phase transitions, focusing on negatives becomes easy.  

Negative focus also changes brain chemistry. So midlife can become a long period of struggle. Many midlife women find themselves stuck under a cloud. Even if it isn't a cloud of depression, it can be a cloud of boredom, a cloud of exhaustion, a cloud of disappointment, a cloud of disillusionment, or of foreboding feelings. This cloud threatens to shroud a woman's sense of hope and joy.

She doesn't invite this cloud. She doesn't like feeling stuck. She just finds herself in a mire that doesn't clear away easily. 

Midlife's Deceiving Thoughts

A midlife woman's thoughts can easily deceive her.  Choices she made long ago no longer look smart and brave.  She questions some very good or normal choices and considers making drastic changes.

A woman may fall prey to infatuation syndrome. She remembers the feelings of infatuation she had perhaps with you or an old boyfriend. These thoughts tease her. A woman with infatuation syndrome crave that feeling just one more time. As a result, far too many marriages have been ruined by infatuation syndrome.  

Some women are deceived at the idea of there being a perfect soulmate. They conclude the man they're with isn't him. But this soulmate idea is largely based on fantasy. The best soulmate is the person committed to the other and willing to walk through the highs and lows of life, whether they share mutual interests or not. 

A Few Tips To Implement

If your wife is in crisis, here are a few tips that may help:
  • Pray for her and for patience toward her. 
  • Listen to her and try to understand how she's feeling. Separate yourself from what she says, that is, it's not about you.  Try not to provide solutions.
  • Affirm her.  A husband's affirmation goes a long way. Affirm her for the roles she holds, has held, and for what she brings to the relationship.  
  • Remind her that God is in control of her days. Remind her that right where she is, is God's plan if she trusts in him. God has reasons for where she is right now. He is always with her. 
  • Encourage healthful choices.  She probably won't want you telling her to go exercise, but she might appreciate you going for a walk with her.  She might not want you to tell her to see her doctor for some "crazy" pills, but she will appreciate your interest in her health checkup reports. 
  • Take an interest in the things she likes. She needs to see hope that you're going to be a good long-term mate and companion.  
  • Step away from your own interests and invite her to do something new with you.
  • Bring joy home. Tell her something interesting, funny, or sweet. 
  • Ask her, "What can I help you with today." But be ready to pitch in too.
  • Compliment her.
  • Ask her, "How was your day?"
  • Ask her, "What do you need me to do?"
  • Comment on things she's working on or achievements she's made even if it is making dinner. 
  • Give her hugs, back rubs, serve her a beverage or meal once in a while.
  • Comfort her. 
  • Speak Scripture to her.  Remind her of God's interest in her. 

What Not to Do

  • Don't become distant. 
  • Don't take your own anger and resentment out on her. 
  • Don't assign blame.  
  • Don't accuse her.  
  • Don't criticize her. 
  • Don't make her feel like she's a problem in your life, not bringing in enough money, not pitching in enough, not thin enough, etc. 
  • Don't set ultimatums. 
  • Don't walk away. 
  • Don't retaliate.
  • Don't give up on your relationship.  
There are a number of dimensions to a woman's mid-life crisis.  Men like to solve problems and a midlife crisis isn't easily solvable.  

Be prepared, your wife may break down in tears now and then. She may complain about the same things several times. She may say she feels lost or sad and you may feel powerless to help. Just listen and hug her.

She will need to grieve.  She may grieve her younger days, her youthful figure, her children growing up, her old career, her former house, her long-lost friends.  Let her grieve and be there for her.  

Until later, trust in God to make you into the man you need to be at this stage of your marriage.  

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