Ten Things You Must Do To Save Your Mid-Life Marriage and Live Happily Ever After, Part II

1. When you hunger for your partner to do something for you, do something for them.

I made an interesting discovery. When I am hungry for love and affection or want my partner to treat me better, I lock myself into a quandary. The more I want and don’t get, the more resentful I become and the less likely it is that my partner is going to want to give me anything good. The more resentful I become, the more needy and hungry I get, and the more miserable I am. I’ve found when I am the most in need, it is the best time to put my needs aside and give her something that will bring joy to her life. I used to think that when I was nice to her when she wasn’t being nice to me, it would encourage her to withhold her affection. I’ve found when I give, even when I don’t get, I feel better inside. The better I feel, the more joy I exude, and the more likely I am to get an unexpected gift of warmth and love.

2. Learn about the science of happiness.

Are you living a productive and meaningful life? Do you work on a cause that is important to you? Are you really passionate about something and are you bringing your personal strengths to bear on it? Do you know why you are here? Do you feel you are going somewhere wholeheartedly?

According to the psychologist Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, if you answer these questions in the affirmative, chances are that you are already a happy person.

Recent studies have shown that subjective well-being depends little on such "good things" of life as health, wealth, good looks or social status. Happiness seems to relate more directly to how you live your life with what you have. So if you want to have a happy marriage, forget about trying to improve your marriage (i.e. get the other person to change) and learn to improve your happiness.

3. Slow down, you move to fast. You’ve got to let the moment last.

I know it sounds like an old Simon and Garfunkle song, and the advice is good. We all know we are living life too fast. But like the frog in the water, the speed of life has increased slow enough that most of us aren’t aware of how fast we are going.

A number of years ago I found out I had an adrenal tumor. After having it removed, I asked the doctors why I got it. I received the traditional medical answer, “who knows, you just got it.” That wasn’t good enough for me, so I consulted my 2 million year old, inner doctor. When I asked Guntar (that’s what he calls himself), he told me that I needed to slow down. Adenal tumor, adrenaline, speed—I was beginning to get the picture.

I protested to Guntar that I had slowed down. I had moved from New York City to Los Angeles, a clear move to the slower lane, and had then moved to mellow Marin, a large detour around the fast lane. Guntar answered, “Yes, Jed, that’s great. You changed your speed-o-meter from 100 down to 94 and then to 86. Not bad. But what you need to do is get it down to about 9.” “Nine,” I sputtered and screamed back. “I’d have to…change my whole life.” Guntar’s only reply was “yep!” A month later, Carlin and I moved to Willits.

4. Talk less, listen more, sit close, and watch the stars.

After spending 2 months in Australia and 5 weeks in New Zealand, I realized that Carlin and I had stopped talking to each other. Well, not totally stopped, but we spent long times together in silence. For most of my life, silence scared me. My parents got silent when their marriage was in trouble. My mother got silent when I did something wrong. My father got silent just before he left. Silence was never my friend.

My friends will tell you that I can talk up a storm, anywhere at any time. I embarrass them often talking about the most personal things in public, usually too loudly. I like to talk and writing is just talking with my fingers. But “down under” I learned the joys of quietude. Listening to the sounds of the wind and the bell birds and breeze gave me great joy I had never known. With my mouth shut my mind was allowed to quiet down as well. I could enjoy my thoughts without the pressure of having to say something. Carlin and I found ourselves glancing at each other and smiling with such warmth, it melted our hearts. We enjoyed the stars in the southern sky and the look of light we were seeing in each other’s eyes.

5. Stop having sex and begin enjoying sensual pleasure.

One of my major complaints through the years, and the complaint I hear from many men, is that we’re not getting enough sex. As I’ve gotten older and erections are a bit harder to come by, I found Viagra was a helpful aid. Carlin and I made an interesting discovery when we had time to go slow. Although Viagra was helping with erections, it didn’t seem to be enhancing our enjoyment of each other. As soon as I’d take the little blue pill, it felt like I was on a time clock. All our attention seemed to be directed to Mr. P. Is he hard yet? Shall we start having intercourse now or play around longer? If we wait too long, will I lose my erection?

We finally decided to get off the pill. When we did, we discovered something quite amazing. When erections weren’t the primary focus, “sex” wasn’t the outcome we were after. For me, sex and intercourse were always synonymous. Everything else was either foreplay or after-play, sandwiched around the main event.

Lately we’ve been having a lot more fun doing whatever we think would give us sensual pleasure. This has ranged from rubbing Carlin’s feet each night, to sensual massage, touch, tongue, and yes, intercourse is still part of the mix. It’s just not the main event. If we don’t have intercourse I don’t feel like a failure or frustrated because “we’re not having sex.” We’re just enjoying each other’s bodies a whole lot more. We are more like playful adolescents than serious adults. Maybe we’ll grow out of it. But I hope not.

©2010 Jed Diamond

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Wealth can't buy health, but health can buy wealth. - Henry David Thoreau


Jed Diamond is the internationally best-selling author of seven books including Male Menopause, now translated into 17 foreign languages and his latest book, The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing. The 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression. For over 38 years he has been a leader in the field of men's health. He is a member of the International Scientific Board of the World Congress on Men’s Health and has been on the Board of Advisors of the Men’s Health Network since its founding in 1992. His work has been featured in major newspapers throughout the United States including the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. He has been featured on more than 1,000 radio and T.V. programs including The View with Barbara Walters, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, CBS, NBC, and Fox News, To Tell the Truth, Extra, Leeza, Geraldo, and Joan Rivers. He also did a nationally televised special on Male Menopause for PBS. He looks forward to your feedback. E-Mail. You can visit his website at

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