Midlife Dimensions

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Women At Midlife

Finding Your Identity...

Today’s midlife woman is very different from her 1900 counterpart. The turn-of-the-century woman in her late thirties or early forties was sliding into her last era of life. She was more physically depleted because of multiple pregnancies, was not well-educated, and had narrow opportunities.Woman on cell phone

Today’s midlife woman has a great number of productive years to which she can look forward. She has skills, education, physical strength, and community acceptance. These midlife years may become her most productive and enjoyable years.


The Married Woman

When many of today’s midlife women were in their early twenties, they eagerly jumped into the role of wife and mother, and many never really wanted anything more. They were delighted to see their husband’s success, to vicariously enjoy what he was experiencing, to raise children to be good citizens, and to walk with God.

By their late thirties, however, many of these women are very startled by the change in their feelings about their wife and mother roles. Gradually their satisfaction level drops because of two major factors.


She is surprised how quickly the "fun years" with the children went by. Now she may feel she is entering the "rejection years".




1. "Quiet" nest. The children of a midlife woman are usually still living at home, but are involved much of the time in school activities, part-time jobs, and with friends.
Woman applying makeup
The children are growing very independent. Yes, they need Mom to do the laundry, cook the meals, and keep the house clean. They also need her to run errands and keep the loose ends tied up--but they think they don’t really need her as a person. In fact, they may actually reject her because she "thinks old ideas." She doesn’t like today’s music, clothing, and hairstyles, and may embarrass them when she is around their friends--especially at the mall.

The starry-eyed mothe
r in her twenties may become the exploited mother in her late thirties, serving her children, but not receiving any emotional fulfillment from them.

As she looks to the future, she realizes that shortly her children may be getting married, then she may also become that dreaded "mother-in-law." She is surprised how quickly the "fun years" with the children went by. Now she may feel she is entering the "rejection years".

She is shocked to realize how many years she will live without children at home. Suddenly, her mothering role comes up for reevaluation.

2. Low marriage satisfaction. In her early twenties, marriage was a great adventure with the man she loved. He loved her and took time for her. By her late thirties, marriage may be an endless nightmare of excuses and growing distance.
They had promised each other that their marriage would not be like their parents’ marriages. Sadly, it has followed the same course. They are each preoccupied with their own concerns and have little time for their marriage relationship.
Couple arguing in a car
Oh, they talk all the time--about the kids, school, or the house. But they don’t talk to each other about their goals, dreams, and needs--their deep concerns.

The husband, since his early twenties, has been preoccupied with his career. He says, "Next year we’ll have more time." "Next year we’ll go away." "I’ll make it up to you, but for now . . . ." The excuses and the growing separation go
on and on. So by midlife, most married people report very low marital satisfaction.

The woman who, in her twenties, willingly gave up her own personal dreams for the dreams of her husband and children, now begins to ask, "Have I been exploited?" "Did I make a mistake?" "Isn’t it time that I follow some of the dreams and abilities that God has given to me?"

This woman is on the edge of a major life reassessment that will ultimately result in her own personal blooming and a more positive relationship with the people around her. However, in the short run, the experience may be very painful for herself and her family.

The Unmarried Woman

woman business professionalThe unmarried woman may have followed a career dream rather than marriage and mothering. Now at midlife she may begin to desire a more rounded experience. She may have a strange urge to cut back in her career, get married, be a mother. Now she would like to enjoy marriage and mother-child relationships.


Often we talk to young women experiencing near panic because they are trying to accomplish all of their life goals in one short era. They’re trying to be wives, full-time students, career women, and mothers. These young women have not yet learned that life has many seasons.



The unmarried, midlife career woman may also find herself experiencing burn-out or dis-satisfactions similar to midlife men. The upper limits in career goals may already have been reached. Or the realization may come crashing in on her that she probably never will accomplish what she’d hoped.

The "Have it All" Woman

Every woman needs to decide how she will use her life. An old saying used to teach that "Time is money". Today it’s more accurate to say, "Time is life". It’s your life we’re talking about. How will you use it? What will you accomplish? What will you do with your allotted time?

Often we talk to young women experiencing near panic because they are trying to accomplish all of their life goals in one short era. They’re trying to be wives, full-time students, career women, and mothers. These young women have not yet learned that life has many seasons.
woman overwhelmed mom cartoon
There is time in life to enjoy being a women without the responsibilities of marriage or children. In other seasons you may enjoy being a wife without the distraction of children. Other seasons may bring children, career, volunteer work overseas, major leadership in business or the community--or maybe even the presidency of the United States! But don’t do it all at once! Take life in small chunks. Realize that God has a unique plan for each woman in her unique situation.

As you think about your current or future experience, remember to live in line with your gifts, abilities, and opportunities. You are unique to God. Try to serve others with the gifts that you have been given.

Don’t place money as a career priority. Instead, work in line with your gifts and abilities. Re-read Psalm 1 in the Bible and notice the promise that you have been transplanted into God’s own garden-you will yield your own fruit in your own season.

Blooming at Midlife

Midlife can be an exciting time with many opportunities, or a dreary time of confusion and entrapment. You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can decide that the circumstances won’t dominate you. You do have choices.


If you only dream, you may miss out on all that God has in store for you. Let this verse be your motto as you bloom.



Several forces will help you bloom at midlife. You have life experience and wisdom. Your midlife reevaluation will cause a growing assertiveness in you. This wisdom, experience, and assertiveness will assist you in blossoming. Now take action.
woman mature walking on beach
1. Change old attitudes. Discard past negatives. Ask for forgiveness. Make things right with people whom you need to forgive, or who need to forgive you.

Reach for positives. What kind of woman do you want to be? Go for the best dreams that you and God can dream up.

Emphasize wisdom and experience rather than your body. Focus on what you are, not what you might have been.

2. Set goals. Spend time in meditation with God, focusing on the directions you ought to follow. Clearly identify your gifts and abilities. Now set goals, including the small steps that will be necessary for you to achieve those goals.

Your Identity in God’s Eyes

God values you! You are created in His image (Ephesians 2:10a). Jesus came into this world, limited Himself to being human, and died on the cross for you (Ephesians 2:10b). God is concerned for you day by day (Ephesians 1:1-12). Furthermore, God has a life plan for you (Romans 5:2). (The above references are all from the Bible.)

When you wonder if you have any worth to anyone, remember that God the Father knew you before the world was created. God the Son loved you so much that he died for you. God the Holy Spirit lives within you, giving direction, wisdom, and encouragement. You are loved by the Godhead.
woman reading Bible

When you are tempted to cut yourself down, remember your gifts and abilities are from God. Agree with what God has done--and is doing in your life. When you truly appreciate yourself and God’s work in you, then you are free to love and can help others to experience their full potential under God’s leadership.

Remember, anything that you want to do requires that you take the first step. If you only dream, you may miss out on all that God has in store for you. Let this verse be your motto as you bloom.

"Because of our faith (in Christ) He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be" (Romans 5:2).



by Jim and Sally Conway


Conway / Farrel Articles ~    Reprint by permission only,  ©2011

Midlife Dimensions ~ www.Midlife.com


The Conways and Farrels are international speakers and popular authors.

Midlife Dimensions is a ministry founded by the Conways and continued by the Farrels.