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"Seasons of Marriage - The Late 20's and Early 30's Era"

A major life reevaluation often takes place in a person's late twenties or early thirties. At this time he or she asks, "Am I on course? Am I going to be able to fulfill the dreams and visions for my life that God helped me form in my late teens and early twenties?"

This life reassessment considers personal development, marriage, family, and career. A strong urge is now present to correct anything that doesn't seem to be in line with the overall life direction.

During most of the twenties a person goes about life responsibilities and relationships using the dreams that were formed in the late teens and early twenties as guideposts. The goals might have been to get stabilized in a job, get married, launch a family, and get integrated into the church and the community. Goals that aren't materializing by the late twenties can create a crisis.

Bill and Karen were married just as Bill began studying for his doctoral degree. It was supposed to be a three-year process. Karen was willing to forego completing her own education and starting a family. She would work to provide the funds for Bill's schooling.


Some weeks later, we learned that Karen had relocated to the most distant point in the United States that she could. She had no intention of returning.



Near the end of the three-year period, Bill told Karen it looked as if his studies would take another year. She was now 26 and he was 28. She willingly accepted the year's extension, realizing they had probably been overly optimistic in their original projections.

At the end of that 4th year, Bill announced that it would take another year. This produced a great amount of conflict. Karen resented continually putting her life goals "on hold" while he pursued his dreams. She also began to nag him about his inefficiency on the Ph.D. project.

At the end of the 5th year, Bill very sheepishly told Karen it was going to take another year. She didn't say anything. She could tell by his lack of progress during the past year that he was not going to be done at the end of a sixth or even a seventh year.

About ten days after his announcement, Bill came home to find Karen's closet empty. She had moved out without saying a word. He was devastated. He came to us, wanting help. It was only in counseling that he discovered he was an extreme perfectionist and was not completing his projects because he was afraid to present what he thought to be inferior work. In reality, because of his perfectionism, he probably never would have completed his degree.

Some weeks later, we learned that Karen had relocated to the most distant point in the United States that she could. She had no intention of returning. She was not willing to believe him and she was unwilling to delay her own life agenda. She had wanted to complete college and have two children by age thirty. These pieces of the puzzle had not come together for her.

  


After a few years of marriage, a couple may be so preoccupied with career, raising children, paying bills, meeting mortgage payments, and the overall busyness of life that they fail to focus on each other.

  



The anxiety of unfulfilled dreams broke Bill and Karen's marriage. Bill did not understand Karen's agenda, and neither of them understood Bill's personal inadequacies that caused him to procrastinate.

After a few years of marriage, a couple may be so preoccupied with career, raising children, paying bills, meeting mortgage payments, and the overall busyness of life that they fail to focus on each other. They neglect to check if their life and marriage are progressing according to God's vision for them.

This outward focusing on the activities of life frequently causes a couple to be surprised by the late twenties/early thirties life reassessment. A husband or wife may become depressed, moody, and irritable. Neither of them may understand what is happening.

Frequently the other mate believes he or she is the cause of the turmoil, but the real cause may be a normal developmental reassessment. The person may be preoccupied with an evaluation of his or her present life situation, wanting to bring it into closer alignment with earlier dreams.

Think of space travel to the moon. Imagine that you're launched into orbit and your trajectory, or path, is preset. Part-way out, you recalculate and find you need to make a slight course correction in order to actually arrive at the moon. It's this type of redirection that can happen in the late twenties/early thirties reassessment.

Sometimes however, the course correction is so severe that the marriage itself is threatened. A person may conclude that his or her mate is the cause for being off target. Unfortunately, that person may decide to dump the mate in order to achieve his or her goals.

  


Use some of your energy, time, and money as an investment in each other and your marriage relationship instead of all of the peripheral concerns, such as work, mortgage, children, and church or community activities.


Solutions for some of the stresses of the late twenties/early thirties are to be found in several areas.

1. Take a yearly assessment of your personal life development and your marriage. Talk about where you are and what you had expected.

2. Try to establish a more balanced life which includes personal development, leisure, and relationships with people, along with the busy activities of a career and family.

3. Refocus or modify your original life dreams. Work together so that both of you are becoming all that God intended for you to be and to accomplish.

4. Concentrate on your marriage relationship. It is extremely easy for the obligations and responsibilities of life to cause each of you to spend all your energy on those concerns rather than on the continuing need to build intimacy. Reflect on your earlier married years. How did you develop intimacy and closeness in those days? What did you do then to give you a deeper understanding of each other and the greater ability to meet each other's needs?

Use some of your energy, time, and money as an investment in each other and your marriage relationship instead of all of the peripheral concerns, such as work, mortgage, children, and church or community activities. This reassessment time can actually enrich your marriage and your personal life so that it will be strong for years to come.


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.