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We've talked about the "mid-life crisis" or M.L.C. and some of the stressors of middle age that can bring it on. I'm going to talk more in-depth about how to deal with M.L.C. scripturally once it hits and even how to prevent the temptation of M.L.C. from ever becoming a crisis in your life.

One thing everyone wants to know about M.L.C. is how long it lasts. That depends on how you deal with it! Some people may be able to handle it in a matter of a week and some could even probably do it in a day. It may take others a few months to get through it, and, some, years because they're in denial. They either don't want to face it or they don't want to admit they're going through M.L.C.

Then there are those few rare cases of people who go into M.L.C. and never seem to come out of it. They just pitch their tents and set up camp. But you can't just stay in it. You have to go in and go out. That's why they call it "going through mid-life crisis"!

Now for the Christian, M.L.C. is something that you don't have to go through. I'm not saying that it won't happen, but the level of crisis depends on your prayer life. In other words, it doesn't have to be a negative thing or something that destroys your life, especially if you spend time in prayer and handle it according to the Word of God.

Some people have come up on M.L.C., but because they had a strong prayer life, the Holy Ghost would tell them what to do, so they were able to sidestep and avoid a lot of the things we've been talking about. It wasn't a crisis for them after all, because their whole attitude about it was different. They looked at it as a challenge, an opportunity to do something else with their lives that they've always dreamed of doing.

When you try to deal with M.L.C. according to the world's standards, it can be a very negative experience. But when you examine yourself and do the things that the Word instructs you to do on a daily basis, when M.L.C. comes, you'll find yourself going straight through it.

Survival Traits
A survey was given to couples experiencing M.L.C., and the following traits were what they listed as crucial keys to their holding their marriages together:

1. A commitment to stay married and to keep their marriage as a high priority
2. The ability to communicate
3. A personal spiritual life
4. The ability to resolve conflicts
5. Relationships with other people
6. Sexual intimacy
7. Sharing fun, leisure, and humor
8. Realistic expectations
9. Serving each other and sharing leadership
10. Growing personally

Preventive Measures
As we said, you don't have to have a crisis if you know what the Word has to say. But there are a few practical things you can do to help take the "crisis" out of mid-life crisis.

First, you need to identify the seed problem. The feelings that surface in M.L.C. are usually the by-product of a deeper problem. For example, if you say, "I'm not where I should be or wanted to be by now," you've only expressed the frustration. But if you recognize that you haven't obtained your goals because you never finished your schooling, then you've just identified the seed problem.

Second, you have to communicate your needs. Communication is very important. For instance, you could tell your spouse, "Honey, we got married so early that I never got to finish college. I would really like to go back to school." It may surprise you to find that when you communicate your needs, your spouse will be in agreement with you.

You need to be able to tell others what is happening in your life, so you should find someone you trust to talk to. The best person is not a friend. It's usually a minister or your spouse. Depending on what the seed problem is, you might want to talk to your spouse in front of a minister.

Third, you have to do something to make up for the deficit or sense of lack that you're feeling in your life. After you identify the seed problem, you need to make a decision what to do about it. If it's career reentry that you desire, go back to school and get your degree (even if you have to take one class at a time). If it's attention that you're lacking, get a new haircut or try a new look. If you're going bald, shave your head and shine it up good! Whatever you decided to do, go for it.

Fourth, always strive for balance in your life. Stay on the middle road. One way to keep balance in your relationship is by serving your spouse and sharing the leadership role. Sometimes when a partner goes through a crisis, he or she doesn't want to make the decisions. That's when you need to step in. You need to help share the load.

You can also help your spouse through this time by being extra supportive and seeking to continually grow with him or her personally, not just spiritually. This is crucial in a marriage, because many times you'll have one spouse who is growing personally while the other one stays at the same level, which happens many times with wives who stay at home.

Their husbands work and they're home with the children. He's out in the work force, interacting with people, reading the newspaper, and so forth. And she's stuck in the laundry room, interacting with the baby, and reading homework papers. The husband is growing, and the wife is left behind. (That's why a man sometimes gets personally involved with his secretary—because the secretary has to constantly stay at a close level with him intellectually to know what he's talking about.)

So the husband comes home and his wife wants to talk about what the kids did all day. He wants to talk about the decisions he has to make at work tomorrow. He doesn't want to hear about the kids, which is wrong, and she doesn't want to hear about his decisions, which is just as wrong. Pretty soon, they're growing further apart and staying mad at each other all the time. At this point, it's very easy for a third party to be introduced into the relationship.

It's very important for you and your spouse to grow together. Don't allow your mate to outgrow you personally. Make it your business to always keep up with your partner.

Finally, reinforce your personal spiritual life. Your spiritual life is the thread that keeps everything in place. If that's not together, then nothing else will be together. It's important that you keep your commitment to God and your relationship with Him alive. It also helps to have realistic expectations for your mate. But always look to God to meet your expectations, not your spouse.

Source: Establishing Godly Relationships Through Marriage & Family
by Deborah L. Butler
Excerpt permission granted by Word of Faith Publishing

Author Biography

Deborah Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
Pastor Deborah is a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel. Her encouraging, yet down-to-earth teaching imparts wisdom from the Word of God to all that hear her speak. One of Pastor Butler's many duties is serving as the Director of God's BeYOUties, the women's ministry at Word of Faith in Southfield, and Faith4Life in Toledo. Pastor Deborah is often called to travel to other ministries to teach and admonish women to walk in the wisdom of God and to experience peace in every area of their lives.

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