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Marriage Advice: New Rules for a Good Marriage

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New rule: It's not a crisis — and it's not just for men.

Actually, this period of reexamination is a healthy part of development. As people move into their 40s, 50s, and beyond, their perspectives shift. Careers may plateau or take off in unexpected new directions. The first serious health problem may come along, or a parent may die and spur you to rethink your priorities. All of these are natural, inevitable transitions, and the best approach to dealing with them is to learn what you can and follow where they lead you. Fortunately, most people do: A recent poll by volunteermatch.org found that more than half of those over 55 are looking forward to starting new chapters in their lives.

More and more the phrase "midlife crisis" is being swapped for "reinvention"; all across America, you can hear men and women talking about their second acts. But rarely do they mean a full-scale life overhaul. More often they're contemplating ways to make more time for what they already love. Men who have done a little woodworking take on a deck redesign; women who have always wanted more time to get in shape sign up for their first triathlon.

Not only are these course corrections good for us as individuals, they also seem to invigorate our relationships. People in their 40s and 50s feel they have more control over their work, their finances, and their marriages, reports a multi-university study. Some crisis, huh? Instead of worrying about his issues, focus on whether you're ripe for reinvention yourself. Rediscover your priorities, and above all, don't feel you're being selfish by pursuing your passion: What's good for you is good for your marriage, too.

 

Originally published on April 29, 2008

 

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