Give your husband space during his midlife crisis


July 26, 2016

A husband's midlife crisis can easily push the 'I-can-fix-it' button in us wives, although, typically, the need to fix problems is more of a problem for men.

I know it can be hard for all of us to see our husbands lost, hurting or even self-destructive. Yet one of the biggest mistakes wives make with a husband in midlife crisis is pushing him to fix it whatever 'it' is.

Oftentimes, our responses, although well intended, just drive our husbands even deeper into a midlife crisis. A wife of a husband having a midlife crisis asked me two weeks ago to give her some guidance on what to do for her husband.

Well, I just thought about what I continue to do. Give him some space.

Although this will be hard for wives to hear, many times, one of the contributors to a husband's midlife crisis is his relationship with his wife. Please note that I wrote 'contributor', not 'cause.' It's important that wives hear that difference and not be personally hurt that they could be part of the problem.

Wives, we have to remember that we're not going to be able to fix our husband's midlife crisis; only he can do that. The best way to help him is to allow him to choose for himself to do this, not to push too hard and make him feel worse. So give him space and interfere when you are sought.

Don't label the problem if you think it's specific. It's okay to seek to understand what's happening with your husband, but be careful what you call it. For a lot of men, any kind of suggestion of a mental-health problem, such as a midlife crisis or depression, is a big, big turn-off. If you label his problem, you could very easily lose his willingness to listen to your suggestions of ways to help. It's very possible that your husband may already feel that you either 'nag' him or only see the things he does wrong. Although your intent is to help him, by pointing out your husband's midlife crisis symptoms, it's very possible he will only hear you 'criticising' him. Comment only on harmful changes, if necessary.


Rather than pointing out your husband's midlife crisis symptoms, suggest ways the changes are hurting him. You can do this by making observations something like, 'I notice that you don't seem to enjoy going out anymore', or 'your appetite has increased or decreased lately'. Just give hints at the possible problem.

Some causes of midlife crisis for men I've worked with recently have been not getting a salary increase, retirement looming and incomplete financial goals, being unhappy in the marriage, and general dissatisfaction with how his life has turned out.

A husband's midlife crisis can be very complicated. Oftentimes, there are multiple causes for midlife crisis, but how we wives respond can make a huge difference in the responses of our husbands. Although I must say that a husband's response is his responsibility, and even though his wife can be a big influence, ultimately, the response is all up to him.

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