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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Midlife Crises



What on earth is going on with all of these men I know? Men whom I thought were good strong Husbands, Fathers and in many cases Christians, are dumping their wives for younger versions. I’m in my fifties and many of my longtime friends are as well, and this trend is a recent one. Friends whom I never thought would split up and done and already moving on. In most cases the split is caused by the man, though not in every one. I’m a fifty year old man, and I must be a very strange one at that, because I just don’t get it!

Is it because we men wake up one day and suddenly realize we haven’t accomplished anything of value? This explanation has been used many times, but it doesn’t explain why men who have accomplished great things dump their wives at about the same age. Is it because the pressures of society cause us to make decisions that would have been unthinkable in the past? No, I have never been one to buy into the “society made me do it” argument. Is it the sex thing? Women’s sexual desires slow down faster than men’s. Maybe it’s simply because we men want to keep our twenties going into our fifties. I am astounded at how many men I know who have started new families after remarrying. When I’m seventy, I want to hang out with my grandchildren, not with my preteens.

I can’t help but conclude that I’m the weird one. I believe in faithfulness and sacrifice. If I believed that I had not accomplished enough in my life, then I will suffer in silence and not take my negative feelings out on my family. If I am bombarded with images of youth and vitality and long for those days to return, then I will change my way of thinking and let those feelings roll off of my back. If my wife does not have the sexual desires that she once had, I will wait patiently for those times when the desires return. I will be faithful to my wife and my family above all else. If need be I will sacrifice everything for them. I guess I am a weird person. I hope that I am not alone.

Jesus’ teachings on marriage are difficult for us to understand. Consider this passage from the Book of Matthew 5:31-32 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” This passage has caused a lot of strife with people who seek to remarry in the church after a divorce. I think where we have gone wrong in our interpretations of it is the idea that Jesus is giving us some hard and fast rule. Jesus repeatedly criticizes people who carefully follow the religious rules of the day, because despite following the rules they do not love the people around them. I do not think Jesus is giving us a new rule to follow. I think Jesus is telling us to be faithful to our spouses, unless they are unfaithful towards us. With the exception of betrayal, Jesus is urging us to hang in through the problems and challenges of life together and cast off the temptations to bolt for the door. Our loved ones make life all the more wonderful. We need to hang onto them as long as we can.

I still don’t get it. My wife and I have gone through many challenges in our lives together. We are still very much in love. I hope that you all experience the same joy that we have.


Pastor Bill

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