She first needs a knowledge of the problem. She should view "the crisis" as a stage in the developmental process, not as a kind of flu. You are not talking about something so simple as mere dissatisfaction. You are talking about deep pain and frustration.
She may feel that "a nightmare has somehow intruded into their previously peaceful and pleasant lives". If she doesn't understand the overall crisis, she is likely to believe everything her husband says about her--and that his crisis is her fault.
A woman needs to be prepared for the widely vacillating moods her husband will be going through. "It's like riding a roller-coaster of interpersonal relations, with dips and swirls, switchbacks and terrifying dives."
A wife should be prepared to be blamed for her husband's depression and for their bad marriage. He may say, "I want happiness, love, approval, admiration, sex, and youth. All this is denied me in this stale marriage to an elderly, sickly, complaining, nagging wife."
A man is likely to strongly affirm that "he is not aging and failing to make the marriage good--it is she who is responsible for all that. And she wants to drag him down."
In a letter to the editors of Medical Economics, a physician's wife wrote that her husband was experiencing all of the symptoms of the male midlife crisis. The editors recommended psychiatric treatment. There followed a flood of letters from men who strongly disagreed with the advice given to the woman: "Almost to a man, the writers agreed that the primary cause . . . was neither his hormones nor his neuroses, nor his environment but, in fact, his wife!" A wife is going to need a great deal of strength to handle this unrighteous onslaught from her husband as he lists her failures.
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.