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A Dying Marriage

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Dear Life Coach,

I am a 50-year-old woman and my husband is 53. We got married 30 years ago and we have three children ages 25, 20 and 18. Our first child is married and on her own, the second is away at university, and the third is attending college. I have always been a homemaker and over the years, my marriage was wonderful, and we have been very close as a family. I have noticed, however, that since the past 5, things have been sliding downward.{{more}} While I believe that my husband still loves me, he does not show as much interest in me as he used to; he is always busy with work, hobbies, the newspaper, sleeping or something else. Somehow, I do not feel as if I am as important to him as I once was. To be honest, I sometimes feel like a servant or a piece of furniture. I believe that if things continue this way, I will be tempted to withdraw from my marriage. I feel like after investing everything in my marriage for all this time, this is the thanks I get. Please help me.

Disappointed Wife (DW)

Dear DW,

I am sorry to learn that your marriage has lost its lustre.

Your Situation:

Several factors are at work here: midlife, menopause/metapause, family/marital life cycle, marital satisfaction/dissatisfaction, poor communication, among others. I will address these briefly.

Middle Adulthood

You are in the midlife stage of your development (age 40-65) and making a valuable contribution to the younger generation is important for your healthy adjustment, otherwise you will feel unfulfilled.

Menopause/Metapause

During midlife women experience menopause (the inability to produce children). In addition, women tend to become more outgoing. Also, men experience metapause (a reduction in testosterone, the male hormone), although they can still father children. In addition, men become more reserved. So, there is a role-reversal for spouses during midlife. See more at: http://www.dynacii.blogspot.com

Family/Marital Life Cycle

You are in stage 6 of the family/marital life cycle, where the family is launching young adults. This stage usually lasts several years (from the time the oldest child leaves home and the youngest one leaves and all the children are living independently away from home).

Marital Satisfaction/ Dissatisfaction

In early adulthood when relationships are new, physical attraction, romantic love and passion tend to be strong. As the relationship matures (during midlife) however, affectionate love increases, and security, loyalty, and mutual emotional interest tend to be more important. Middle-aged partners also tend to experience more marital satisfaction and view their marriage as positive if they engage in mutual activities.

Poor Communication/ Synchrony

Your husband is unaware of how you feel about him and your relationship. In marriage, couples need to be in synchrony – moving together in what they do (similar goals and interests) as well as maintain open communication about their feelings, desires, activities etc. It is this openness and sharing that binds two souls together and makes the relationship special and different from all others. Once open communication declines, the relationship begins to decline also.

What to Do

Adjust to Midlife. Understand your stage of development and the changes that are taking place in yourself and in your husband: menopause, metapause and role-reversal and make adjustments.

Take the Initiative. Consider making the first move in showing affection and interest in your husband instead of waiting on him; talk to him about your feelings, spend time with him, plan special times to be together.

Create Synchrony. Find ways to show interest in your husband’s work and leisure activities. Many men have demanding jobs e.g. teachers who mark papers at home. Others may be seeking to accomplish that youthful dream before time runs out. If possible, help your husband to accomplish his dreams by lending support or assisting.

Create New Goals. Couples who maintain successful marriages have common goals, activities and interests. Talk with your husband about new goals you wish to accomplish together.

Be Generative. Understand your stage in the family/marital life cycle; young adult children being launched from the nest. The dynamics of your marriage and family life are different and you need to make adjustments. Find ways of contributing your skills and knowledge to youths in your community e.g. participating as a leader in a youth group or 4H club. This will refresh you mentally, boost your self-esteem, give you a new focus outside your home and family, and create new contacts and new experiences.

DW, here’s hoping you will be able to rekindle the flames of love.

Life Coach

DYNACII

Need help with relationship and other problems? Ask DYNACII’s Life Coach. Email your questions to dynacii@gmail.com. To Chat with the Life Coach, visit: http://www.dynacinternational.com. Dynamic Action Center International Inc. (DYNACII) a non-governmental organization committed to social and spiritual empowerment.

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