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Free Look: 10 Secrets for a Christian Marriage

For Nov.6, 2017

>>>>8th through 9th last time stage>>>>

The Eighth Time Stage. [25 to 30 years.]  I think it’s interesting to note that in my private counseling experience, couples who married later in life (late twenties, early thirties), although experiencing an unsuccessful marriage, make it to this stage more than others. Persons marrying at nineteen or twenty years of age often don’t make it past the 15 to 20 time-stage, especially if they receive no guidance to work through hard places of the marriage structure.

         In this cycle, all the health concerns loom large. Retirement questions arise about every day. Retirement or just about ANY subject for decisions that affect you both, becomes a false hope that the new lifestyle proposition might help the marriage. You may think, “Finally, we’ll get our retirement check and in retirement we’ll have more time to work on our marriage more than we ever had before.” The trouble is you may say that about your garden as well. And usually, the garden gets the care before marriage issues do.

         You search for things to look and feel young again or you look to vitamins, remedies, cures for more zestful living. While not bad in themselves, none of those permanently help a marriage because those themes are not the problem.

         Saving money, losing weight, making yourself better might help you as an individual, but it does not automatically follow that if you help yourself, you help the marriage.  Sorry. . .it just doesn’t work that way. Marriage behaves like a life entity of its own. It tastes, touches, smells, feels, and hears just like a human being. So, you must focus upon the proposition that marriage pleads for vital life whether you sustain good health or not. You must use all your resources, until life gets as successful as possible. And it takes two people cooperating as a unit for that to happen.

         A powerful, underlying emotional difficulty resides during this term. Early in your marriage, unresolved anger turned into a very subtle resentment. You will resent your mate that certain expectations were not met, promises were broken, and youth was robbed, individual resources wasted on a failed relationship that took this long to die. The end consequence of this subtle emotion results that you may separate from just “drifting apart”. On the surface, you will end the marriage because you are dazed, confused, tired of trying. In your mind’s eye, life just must offer something better. Deep down inside, you feel SO ALONE that you reason you might as well be alone outside, then maybe something new can happen.

         Amazingly, there are those of you who stay together with the above problems. Maybe you’re just too scared, thinking you might get into something worse. Or, you may be too tired of trying on your own. You’ve run out of the right tools to change anything so you go along the best you can with whatever resources you have. So, some of you make it to the next span of time.

        The Ninth Time Stage [30 to 35 plus years]. I chose to end with a thirty-five-year tenure of marriage because so few rarely make this era compared to the many failures. I realize marriages exist that last 50 years or more, but happy ones that last this long are rare indeed. Many that have stuck it out for 50 years possess the same characteristics as the 30 to 35 year ones. The persons are just much older in age and circumstance. I often think of this era as the “pancake years”, round because they go in circles and flat because they’ve resigned to never acquire the best.

         If you are in an unsuccessful relationship that makes it to here, you have the following struggles. You grapple with health, retirement, finances, recreation, church, leisure time, and role changes. A very strong emotional factor rears its head called generativity tendencies.

         Basically, generativity displays itself as the condition when you look back over life and ponder what you feel you can leave behind. Some of you want to leave buildings with your names on them. Some want to leave a style of life, like truthfulness [ Some say, “I don’t care about everybody else, but I’m going to be known as one who told the truth no matter what”.] Some people want to leave some legacy to their children, a worthy cause, or an institution. The condition of generativity takes on many forms. If you’ve been married thirty years or more you will feel a strong urge to leave something tangible and worthwhile to be remembered when you’re gone.

         Unfortunately, you may not realize that your thirty plus years of unrest and unsuccessful marriage might be what gets left in the minds of the very ones you meant to impress favorably. You might be surprised how many children of bad marriages grow up to imitate another bad marriage. The legacy left was a poor definition of how to have a shared, intimate life with a mate. I’ve personally seen the cycle go on for four generations.

 

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         After reading the time stages, you may feel like just going out and eating some worms. My intention was not to make you feel bad or worse than already. Again, the main purpose of the nine time-stages above are to give a quick, snapshot glimpse at where you might find the negatives. In each of these time categories, there may appear a one to two-year variance of the crisis, but most generally, a major crisis will emerge every five years. If difficulties do not get resolved, they build upon each other and carry over into the next time stage. Time-stage jumping explains one of the reasons most marriages are complicated after ten or fifteen years. Stack upon stack of unresolved conflicts pile up, then get buried to lie there and stink.

         The picture would seem tragic indeed if this were the end of the process: unsuccessful people being stuck in unsuccessful marriages. TAKE HEART! You do not have to endure, especially if you are willing to follow some of the interventions for getting out of trouble.