The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


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Aug 20, 2009

FOTF Women & Mid-Life Crisis

This is a radio broadcast from Focus on the Family. This was a fascinating and informative broadcast, for both men & women. This is part 5 of a 6 part series. Very quick, 5 minute segments. I will try & publish the rest but if you want the link to the broadcast (and numerous others on ALL topics of life) let me know.


John Fuller (JF) & James Dobson (JD) interview Jim Conway (JC) and his wife Sally Conway (SC). They are experts on the middle years and they are discussing ways to help women manage that mid life crisis.

"There’s a common understanding that men go through a mid life crisis sometime in mid 30’s early 40’s. But women also go through a mid life crisis."

JD: Let’s get specific – how do you head off a mid-life crisis?

JC: If we can get husbands first of all to realize his wife, as well as he a little later on, are both going to go through a transition where they are going to be rethinking who they are, what they want to do with their life and what their values will be. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not an unspiritual thing but it’s a normal rethinking process. He needs to be prepared to have time enough to allow that to happen in her life so that he is not just using her to make his career successful. See that is what I was doing with Sally, I was using her to keep my church ministry going - now don’t demand any time of your own because you’ll take that away from my ministry.

JD: I think one of the most difficult realities that a young man has to face is that he is brought up to see his career as an all consuming effort and he marries this helpmate, who is going to stand side by side with him and together, they will conquer the world. He buys in to that and he sets himself to go out to do it, pours himself in to it and he thinks in his little mind “I’m doing this for her – this is for you babe! Together, we’re gonna buy a house because I’m working hard and we’re going to raise our kids – because I’m working hard – and I’m going to provide for you” – and he thinks of that as his mission. Then it dawns on him she not only doesn’t appreciate that, she considers his job a competitor. She resents that work - instead of feeling like “well I appreciate what you're doing for us” – she sees the job as another woman, practically and that’s a blow to him when that comes.

JC: And if the man is reflective enough, he’ll see that he wasn’t doing it for her at all. He was doing it for himself. And he never faced that. That’s devastating. She’s faced it – “you're out doing that for you, it’s not for me”.

SC: Well a lot of time she’d be more willing to trade some of those things he’s providing, for time that she’d like to have from him.

JD: I’ve watched medical students go in to their post graduate education with great zeal – this is something we’re going to do together!” but by the junior year, the third year of school, the wife realizes “hey, I’ve been replaced. This guys’ married to medicine. This isn’t something we’re doing together, this is something he’s doing for himself. And furthermore, I’m a has been”. And divorces occur right there.

SC: And it happens to the seminary students we work with too. They realize their husband likes Hebrew & Greek and Theology more then he does with a relationship with them. Or he feels like he must put it first in order to get A’s at school.

JD: I hate to really bomb the men because I didn’t get the PHD without some sweat and you’ve got to work hard to make it in life. So what’s the answer? How do men take this challenge that they feel God has called them to, whether it’s the ministry or something else, without sacrificing what their wives need?

SC: It would be better if a seminary student took B’s and had one of his majors in personal relationships. Especially with his wife. Even if it took longer to finish school.

JD: I had to do that. There was a point in my doctorate program in USC that I felt the obligations in classwork had eroded my relationship with Shirley. We came to a point where I didn’t know her as well as I wanted to and I knew she needed me. I took a semester off in order to make contact with her again and cooled down my outside responsibilities because I wanted my family to be higher on my list of priorities. So we can do both.

JC: I think we need to point out to men that quite often the younger men is not focused on his direction. When he gets into his mid 40’s he’s going to throw a lot of junk away because he’s going to say “that’s a dumb thing, I wish I’d never started that”. If we can get them to focus in their mid 20’s then their not going to take on every job. i.e. working on doctoral program. If a professor says “I need someone to take on this project”, quite often a doctoral student will accept that project because politically it is an advantage for him. It may not be his interest, it may not be where he want to spend his time but he does it for a political end. If we can get people to focus away from their political ends and focus on their gifts & abilities and narrow, then they can take lesser amount of energy to accomplish without taking on the world.

SC: Some other things to help the woman get through it quicker – besides her husband being the right kind of guy. She too needs to look at her own gifts and abilities are. Yes, if she’s a mother right now & the children are still home, she’s got her priorities right in front of her. She too may have taken on an awful lot she doesn’t need, such as PTA, teaching or several things at church, to where she’s a fragmented person too. And she may be ready to throw it all over. Or she could be the other way to where she’s grown stale and doesn’t have any outside interests, kind of sogging away in front of the soaps every day. In any case, she needs to be evaluating what God intends for her to do with her time & abilities.

JD: Just as a husband has a responsibility to reserve some time effort & energy for his wife, no woman should depend on any man, including her husband, to meet her emotional needs. That was another very important milestone in my relationship with Shirley. No matter how loving I was, how attentive I was, how involved I was with the children, I was gone throughout the day and she needed more than that. And it was when she started to develop a ministry in the community, a whole network of friends and her conversation was not totally with me but with a lot of other people, then her world began to to open up. It’s a dual thing, staying alive emotionally.

SC: That’s right! Another thing you can be doing to help this time go smoother, is getting some guidance in helping her relationship with her children. They may be going through a traumatic time as teenagers, having their own identity & independence problems. If she can be understanding what they are going through so the relationship with them goes as smooth as possible, it will be helping her own time.

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