Is Your Spouse Having a Mid-Life Crisis?
Marriage is difficult enough due to its very nature: you are trying to manage a changing relationship between two complex people.
However, when you add in the fact that each individual him and herself are changing all the time as well, things become even more complex and complicated!
Anyone who has been married to a husband or wife who is in the throes of a mid-life crisis can attest that it can be a very trying time for their relationship.
Still, it is your job to be supportive of your spouse (just as it is their job to be supportive of you) in any way that you can to help your spouse not only cope, but also to protect your marriage.
It is extremely important to take care of your marriage, as anyone would agree. Therefore, it is similarly important to understand your spouse’s mid-life crisis and try to be sensitive to what he or she is going through, instead of dismissive.
It is easy to get annoyed with a spouse who is going through such a time, and it’s true that popular culture at large has made kind of a joke of the male mid-life crisis. You know, the whole “balding guy driving a convertible” thing.
However, this kind of situation is a serious one for many men and women alike, but especially men who are going through a kind of identity confusion because of the crisis itself.
Obviously, this affects the relationship, too, as any kind of personal crisis will affect all of a person’s interpersonal relationships, especially the closest one of all, to you – the spouse.
Fortunately, as you can see at the link below, I have a friend who has a lot of experience in this area and has devised a perfect system for mending your marriage properly. Take a look:
If you really think about it, the main problem associated with having a spouse trapped in a mid-life crisis comes down to tension.
A person going through such a period feels a lot of tension, and that tension will naturally manifest itself in your marriage, causing problems.
Therefore, your role during a mid-life crisis will revolve more around support (I’m guessing you’re not a board-certified therapist), here are some ways to ease the tension and preserve your marriage (and your sanity):
1. Don’t forget to laugh!
A little laughter can really add some levity to both you and your spouse’s life.
Hopefully, you married a person with a good sense of humor, which will come in handy during this time. If not, you’ll have to supply the laughter for the both of you!
A little self-deprecation can go a long way and make your spouse feel at ease. If your spouse feels like they are going through this hard time and you’re not having any trouble at all, they may feel as if they are being judged, even though they are not.
Also, laughter is a proven stress reliever, which is something you can use no matter what, whether your marriage is rock solid or just plain rocky.
2. Keep your history alive.
It may seem counter-productive to remind a person who is knee-deep in a mid-life crisis about your past with them, but it’s actually quite the opposite.
Reminding your spouse of your times together and your shared history will help to maintain your connection with them, even as they questions heavy things like their own mortality and accomplishments throughout the first half (or so) of their life.
You want to make sure that your spouse understands that you are one of the decisions they made that was DEFINITELY a good choice. Your memories, via pictures, videos, old letters, or even places that you’ve always enjoyed going to together, can help you do that.
3. Find time to be together.
It can be easy and very tempting to rest on your laurels when you’re in a long-term relationship such as your marriage.
However, it is vitally important to continue making time together a priority all throughout your life, not just during the “honeymoon phase”.
Break the routine now and then by doing something new. Try a new activity, go to a new restaurant, visit a new place. Make new friends and do things together. The options are endless, and you should explore them all.
You don’t have to always be doing new things, of course. Continue doing things that you have always enjoyed sharing with one another, too. A strong relationship can easily outlast a mid-life crisis.
4. Give a little space.
When your spouse is seemingly evaluating every aspect of their life as part of a mid-life crisis, it’s easy to feel a little threatened.
“Will my spouse realize that made a mistake marrying me?”
These and other fears come to mind.
However, it is important to be confident in the strength of your marriage, and give your spouse some space from time to time. Though you are a couple, a person going through an identity crisis like a mid-life crisis needs some time now and then to sort things out for themselves.
If your spouse needs therapy or to talk to an expert, or even a close friend who your spouse likes to confide in, don’t feel threatened or jealous by the fact that they are confiding in someone else.
Instead, give your spouse space knowing that the sooner the mid-life crisis ends and passes, the sooner your marriage can become stronger than ever.
Mending your marriage takes work even on the best of terms, but when a mid-life crisis is complicating things for your spouse, it becomes extra tricky. That’s why we all need strategies like in the Mend Your Marriage system from time to time.
Sometimes what seems like a mid-life crisis can actually end up being something else, like depression, for instance. Though I don’t have the time to get into all of the possibilities here, they are also covered in the book!