Renew Your Marriage at Midlifeby Steve Brody, Cathy Brody
In Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, husband-and-wife marriage counselors Steve and Cathy Brody recognize that couples approaching midlife may need a kick in the pants to bring their relationship back to the loving support that united them in the first place. As years pass, the relationship may have taken a backseat to children and careers, creating a chasm/i>… See more details below
In Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, husband-and-wife marriage counselors Steve and Cathy Brody recognize that couples approaching midlife may need a kick in the pants to bring their relationship back to the loving support that united them in the first place. As years pass, the relationship may have taken a backseat to children and careers, creating a chasm between husband and wife that seems impossible to cross.
In Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, husband-and-wife marriage counselors Steve and Cathy Brody recognize that couples approaching midlife may need a kick in the pants to bring their relationship back to the loving support that brought them together in the first place. As years pass, a relationship often takes a backseat to children and careers, creating a chasm between husband and wife that seems impossible to cross. How ironic: When there's finally time to spend together, two individuals have grown so far from the people they were on their wedding day that they might as well be in a whole new relationship.
"When you change, the marriage changes," warn the Brodys. A wife mourning the empty nest; a husband unhappy with his job; financial worries; or sexual boredom may account for marital conflict. The Brodys offer skills to apply to marriage at midlife, when couples can use this new season as an opportunity to accommodate whatever changes they face. The Brodys attest that the flame can be ignited again and burn even brighter when husbands and wives make their relationship the top priority.
Their advice is all the more poignant since the Brodys, parents of two adults, are in the process of renewing their own marriage. They share their experience as a couple threading their way through the "dark wood" of midlife with candor and humor, sometimes offering intimate situations when one or the other must tuck in his or her tail and take a taste of their own medicine. They take the reader through several personal conflicts point-by-point in order to demonstrate how easily misunderstandings can escalate into fights, and what key behaviors can diffuse the charge. It's reassuring to know that even successful therapists go through difficult times, and the Brodys provide a model of how to come through them with a deeper understanding of the relationship.
Readers are also introduced to several couples who are experiencing a variety of midlife challenges. In each case, participation from both partners is required to break through the surface conflict. Change is what brings couples to counseling in the first place, and change will help them move to an arena of heightened communication that may have been lost over the years. Gary and Karen, for example, came to the Brodys because their sex life petered out due to emotional distance. Gary couldn't figure out why his wife was suddenly so withdrawn in bed, and Karen expected Gary to read her mind (sound familiar?) about her needs. When they actually spoke about their feelings about the situation, they were able to come to a solution, which doesn't happen when you adhere to the myth, If my spouse really loved me, then he'd/she'd know what I'm thinking. Couples must bring their concerns to the table if any positive change is to be made.
In addition to personal anecdotes, Renew Your Marriage at Midlife gives readers concrete activities to try out on even the most resistant mate. The first, and probably most important, is listening. It may seem obvious, but it takes considerable self-control not to interrupt your partner and to quiet down. "This is no easy task," assure the authors. "Usually the mind is so full and busy, you barely hear the crickets, let alone an angry spouse."
Divided into four sections, Renew Your Marriage at Midlife covers basic communication skills and specific situations that pop up for many couples. Parts one and two discuss the challenge of change and the importance of taking responsibility for one's own happiness. It's easy to put the blame elsewhere, but changing the expectations one has of a spouse can shift the perspective from passive discontent to empowerment. The Brodys borrow wisdom from many famous sages to illustrate their points, including words from Abraham Lincoln: "Many folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Parts three and four are for two players: negotiating with your partner, how to present your point of view, how to deal with an affair, how to rekindle passion in the bedroom, what to do when your aging parents require more time and emotion than your teenagers ever did. It helps tremendously to know that you're not alone -- whatever craziness is facing you as a couple has most likely happened before to someone else. It doesn't mean your marriage is failing, only that it needs attention.
Though Renew Your Marriage at Midlife is intended for a certain population, any married person will find use for the Brodys' wisdom. Whether newly wed or in the midst of raising small children, you don't have to wait to work on your relationship until you're at the breakfast table wondering who the person is sitting across from you.
Jessica Leigh Lebos is a freelance writer and relationship advice columnist in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Penguin Group (USA)
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.44(w) x 8.44(h) x 1.02(d)
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