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 dont 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. Ive 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 wasnt being nice to
me, it would encourage her to withhold her
affection. Ive found when I give, even when I
dont 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
2. Learn about the science of
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
3. Slow down, you move to fast. Youve
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 arent aware of how fast we
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 wasnt good enough for me, so I
consulted my 2 million year old, inner doctor. When
I asked Guntar (thats what he calls himself),
he told me that I needed to slow down. Adenal
tumor, adrenaline, speedI 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, thats
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.
Id have to
change my whole
life. Guntars only reply was
yep! A month later, Carlin and I moved
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 others
5. Stop having sex and begin enjoying sensual
One of my major complaints through the years,
and the complaint I hear from many men, is that
were not getting enough sex. As Ive
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 didnt seem to be enhancing our
enjoyment of each other. As soon as Id 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 werent the primary focus,
sex wasnt 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 weve been having a lot more fun
doing whatever we think would give us sensual
pleasure. This has ranged from rubbing
Carlins feet each night, to sensual massage,
touch, tongue, and yes, intercourse is still part
of the mix. Its just not the main event. If
we dont have intercourse I dont feel
like a failure or frustrated because
were not having sex. Were
just enjoying each others bodies a whole lot
more. We are more like playful adolescents than
serious adults. Maybe well grow out of it.
But I hope not.
* * *
Wealth can't buy health, but health can buy
wealth. - Henry David Thoreau
is the internationally best-selling author of seven
books including Male
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
Mens Health and has been on the Board of
Advisors of the Mens 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.
You can visit his website at www.menalive.com
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