“Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third” ~ Marge Piercy
Often as a woman reaches her forties, and her children are a little more independent, she feels a desire to explore new paths. She may get involved in fitness, artistic pursuits, a new job, or a spiritual journey.
This happens because while raising children the focus is so much more on home and family, so a woman’s own interests are often set aside. Another factor is that a woman is much different at mid-life than she was in her twenties. She has gained wisdom and experience, and perhaps even confidence. She may feel that she wants to spread her wings, and experience more of what is in the world.
Understandably, this change can be difficult for her husband. He has known her for many years and thinks he knows what to expect. When she starts going off in a different direction he may feel confused, threatened or even afraid.
Often the defensive response when these emotions come up involves putting down or criticizing what she is doing, making sarcastic comments, speaking negatively of her new friends, or becoming more controlling of her time. This will only serve to create distance in the relationship, and drive her further away. What began as a normal growth spurt evolves into a mid-life crisis.
It does not have to be this way. Recognize that many women have a strong need and the energy to begin new pursuits at mid-life. Yes, it is a little scary because she will undoubtedly change somewhat. The best approach is to be interested in what she is learning or doing, and to encourage and support her. If she invites you to join her, do it! This approach allows you to stay connected to her, and perhaps even to grow and change yourself.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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