A little red Corvette.
A sudden new interest in fitness, dressing well, and cologne.
Either those are signs of an affair, symptoms of a midlife crisis…or both.
And that’s what we think of, isn’t it? We think of men having midlife crises, possibly trading in their wife of 20-something years for the dreaded “new, younger model”, blowing mad stacks on trips, jewelry, gym memberships, a new wardrobe, and the typical new sports car.
It suddenly seems like this particular man is trying to relive his youth, start all over again and fill in the blanks with what he feels he may have missed because instead of being “wild”, he got responsible and settled down. He married and had children and a mortgage, works long hours and comes home to still more responsibilities. (That thing we do called normal life, right?)
But maybe they feel the weight of the expectations on them. Maybe they feel that with all their roles they’re juggling, that they’re not doing great at any of them, that they’re letting people down. Or maybe they just want to do something grand with their lives before it slips away.
They look in the mirror morning after morning and watch those love handles grow bigger and their hair grow sparser and they long to escape. Throw off the “chains” of their lives and be “free”.
For some, the thoughts are fleeting. They feel bogged down, like their lives are just regular and they long for spectacular. But then they look at their wife and remember all they’ve been through–good and not so good–and survived. He remembers his vows and how she’s always had his back. He looks at his children who look up to him. He takes some pride in the fact that they’re all fed, clothed, and housed because of his efforts. And he realizes he’s got it pretty good after all and that raising a family and keeping a marriage intact is, in fact, quite spectacular.
Some though, act on it that burning desire for something new, something exciting, for someone to dote on them and make them feel young again and more alive than they’ve felt in a long time. This effectively destroys a family or at the very least causes tremendous damage.
Then why do they do it?
They think all their troubles will go away with a new start. But it doesn’t, right? If you’re leaving a family behind, you’re causing terrible pain to them. Your wife isn’t perfect and neither is your marriage. Because perfection is a myth. Guess what? Most of the time, it’s a whole lot easier to put in the effort to fix what you have than to start over.
They think the grass is greener. Refer back to what I just said: sometimes it’s easier and better to fix what you have than to try to start over. That old love who resurfaced on Facebook and is making you feel like a million bucks, so much so that you’re ready to ditch your life of family and stability to run away with her? She has problems too, maybe even a husband and children. A new relationship is going to make you feel that high excitement again but then reality will set in when you’re dealing with custody and her children and yours and schedules and bills.
They may feel they’ve failed and want to just cut and run. Abandon his family entirely and walk away. How brutally selfish. Maybe you have failed, guys. Maybe. But if you have, instead of bolting, grab your second chance and do something with it! Romance your wife. Get into counseling. Spend more time getting to know your children. Take some classes to help you advance at work. Whatever is broken, fix it. Don’t just leave it laying there…broken…in desperate need of attention and care…and walk away, possibly leaving it beyond repair.
Guys, you’re loved. Even with that spare tire and receding hairline. Even if you didn’t get that promotion or you missed that piano recital. If you’re truly doing your best, we know it! We want you around. We want you to step up and be responsible and be part of your marriage and family. That little red Corvette is not going to make you look younger or better looking. If you’re 45 years old in your family car, you’re just going to look like that same 45-year-old guy just driving a different car. It’s not going to change you one bit.
How about pick up a new hobby that’s exciting? Maybe even include your wife in it and do something cool like learn salsa dancing together. It’s sexy, it’s exciting, and it’s great exercise. Save up for a special trip with your spouse. Or smaller trips with one child at a time. Shake up your life in the best possible way, but your life. Not some fantasy life you’ve created in your head that doesn’t play out so well.
Men, we want you around. We need you to step up, not walk out.
You are valued,
Melanie Pickett is a mom, wife, writer, blogger, and Jesus girl. Melanie spends most of her time at her own blog, melaniespickett.com where she writes about her domestic abuse survival, healthy relationships, life, and faith. Melanie contributes to Sonoma Christian Home, Huffington Post, and The Mighty. Melanie has been featured on BlogHer.com, Splickety Magazine, Whole Magazine, and Breathe Writers Conference blog. Melanie lives in Michigan with her husband, two teen children, and her pug Gracie. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 and one of her favorite quotes is: “They call us the dreamers, but we’re the ones who never sleep.”