Mid-Life Crisis

Science or Myth?

-  The proponents of mid-life crisis teach that by the time one reaches middle-age, normal situations that earlier in life caused no stress or consternation whatsoever, now suddenly lead to dysfunction or even total paralysis.

-  The concept originated in secular psychology, and was popularized in the 1974 book Passages by Beth Sheehy, who contended that:

(a) it occurs in women 35-45 years old (it originated with women in menopause, and was later picked-up by men who didn't have menopause to fall back on);

(b) it is usually understood and treated by psychotherapy; and

(c) it is normally verbalized only in psychological terms and concepts.

Other secular books popularizing the concept were:

(a) The Awareness of Middle Age, Baumgartner, 1968

(b) The Wonderful Crisis of Middle Age, Lesham, 1973

(c) The Seasons of a Man's Life, Levinson, 1978

-  Two of the people who brought the concept into the church in the 1980s were Jim & Sally Conway (currently directors of "Mid-Life Dimensions") with their books, Women in Mid-Life Crisis, Men in Mid-Life Crisis, and You and Your Husband's Mid-Life Crisis. In Men in Mid-Life Crisis, Jim Conway refers to the period of so-called mid-life crisis as a "second adolescence." He then develops this idea by speculating that a man faces four major enemies in the throes of that crisis:

(a) His body -- Losing his looks, hair, physique, etc.;

(b) His work -- Monotony in what previously was an exciting job;

(c) His wife & family -- Trapped in his responsibilities; and

(d) His God -- Accusing him of selfishness, laziness, lust.

All this, we are told, causes a man to lash-back at God and blame Him for giving him a frail body, along with its drives and weaknesses.

-  From a Biblical perspective, one diagnosed as being in mid-life crisis is merely making excuses for sinful behavior (dissatisfied with life, etc.), walking in the flesh, etc., and blaming it all on an "uncontrollable life situation." And as seen by Conway's analysis of the situation (alluded to above), a person convinced that he is in a mid-life crisis, even justifies ventilating it all on God Himself!

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 5/92