Facing the Fork in the Road

By June Hunt

“Mid-life can be the most productive—or destructive—years of your life.”1

Midlife can be a time of self-doubt and disappointments that can lead to irrational thinking, impetuous purchases and irresponsible relationships.

But this crisis can also be an immensely productive time as well, a time when people refocus their priorities and exchange old desires with new dreams. During this time of crisis you can come into a deeper knowledge of who you are and what your relationship with God can be.

In fact, a midlife crisis may be a God-produced event designed to shake you out of your comfort zone so that you might achieve the highest purpose for which you were created.

Gal 6:9


A.        What Is Midlife?

·           Midlife is considered to be the middle ages in life ranging anywhere from (approximately) thirty-five to sixty.

B.        What Is a Crisis?

·           A crisis is any unstable, crucial point at which change must occur (financial crisis, energy crisis, personal crisis).2

·           The Greek word for “crisis” is krisis, which means “decision or sifting.”3

C.        What Is a Midlife Crisis?

·           A midlife crisis is an unstable, crucial time of life during middle age when a person feels the immediate necessity to reevaluate one’s identity, values and goals.4

·           A midlife crisis may occur at the time of transitional changes in a person’s life.

·           The resulting change can be negative or positive, depending on the choices that are made.

James 1:8


A.        Emotional

·           sense of loss

·           self-pity

·           anger

·           depression

·           anxiety

·           fear of aging

·           self-doubt

·           burnout

·           feeling trapped

·           “now or never” mentality or sense of urgency

Ps 102:1-11.

B.        Behavioral5

·           strong desire for change (marriage, job, appearance)

·           attempts to escape (T.V., drugs, travel, sleep)

·           dressing in a youthful manner

·           preoccupation with physical body (appearance, health)

·           vulnerability to sexual attraction outside marriage6

·           personality changes

·           lack of church attendance and spiritual growth

·           withdrawal from close relationships

·           negative outlook on life

·           seeking to complete unfulfilled goals (education, children, career)

Ps 55:6-8


A.        Surface Causes


Major Transitions from One Season of Life to Another

Eccl 3:1

Thoughts of one’s own mortality

Reassessment of lifelong goals and values

Achievement of goals but not finding fulfillment

Normal biological and physiological changes

Sexual drive (diminishes in the male, increases in the female)

Insufficient financial resources

Traumatic illness or death of parents, family or close friends

Identity misplaced (in a person, a job or social status)

Offspring at difficult age and/or leaving home

Narrowing of job opportunities

Social emphasis on youth

B.        Root Cause

Wrong Belief:

“I am trapped in a life that is unfulfilling. I deserve a chance to make changes before it is too late, to discover my own identity and to find personal happiness.”

Right Belief:

My identity is in the Lord Jesus Christ. I will not selfishly demand the fulfillment of my own desires and dreams. I know that true fulfillment comes in finding God’s purpose for my present situation and trusting God with my future.

Jer 29:11


A.        Key Verse to Memorize

Jer 17:7

B.        Key Passage to Read and Reread

2 Sam 11:1-26

David’s Downfall8

David shirked his responsibility and avoided his work.—2 Sam 11:1

David was restless and discontented.—2 Sam 11:2

David turned to temptation not from it.—2 Sam 11:2-3

David acted out of lust not loyalty.—2 Sam 11:4

David tried to cover not confess his sin.—2 Sam 11:8-13

David decided to give in to his desire.—2 Sam 11:14-15

David’s deceit brought death.—2 Sam 11:24

David’s decisions and direction displeased God.—2 Sam 11:25-26

2 Sam 12:1-23

David’s Restoration

David repented of his sin.—2 Sam 12:13

David grieved his loss.—2 Sam 12:16

David accepted the consequences of his sin.—2 Sam 12:22-23

C.        The Marriage Perspective

“How can a husband help his wife through a difficult midlife crisis?”9

·           Be a strong but gentle leader, walking with God. There is no greater cause for wifely respect than for a husband to assume spiritual servant headship in his household.

·           Try to understand what she is feeling. An empathetic response, even one that is inaccurate, demonstrates a desire for intimate communication and relationship.

·           Encourage her to communicate anger. Anger that is suppressed, repressed or denied is anger that will fester. It needs to be resolved, but in a manner that is constructive, not destructive.

·           Give her space and room to grow. Realize that she is your “other half,” the complementary member of a “one flesh” relationship. Encourage her unique giftedness by supporting her efforts to grow.

·           Build her self-image verbally. She cannot read your mind. Express out loud your appreciation of her physical appearance, her character traits and her accomplishments.

·           Encourage her in projects and activities. Seek to identify what recreation she especially enjoys. Participate with her in those activities.

·           Be focused on building her emotional security. Tell her every day that you love her, that she is your lifelong companion.

Eph 5:28

“How can a wife help her husband through a difficult midlife crisis?”10

·           Be in daily prayer and study of God’s Word. There is power in a praying wife who applies the truth and promises of God’s Word to her own family, especially to her husband.

·           Try to understand what he is battling emotionally. Commit to learning his unique needs and work toward meeting those needs.

·           Be prepared for his anger to be directed toward you. Take your own insecurities to God, but encourage a constructive expression of his frustrations.

·           Let go of expectations regarding his appreciation of you. Everyone is unique and deserves special treatment, but give up the “princess syndrome.”

·           Find ways to gently encourage him to discuss his feelings. Ask him about his day, not expecting a rehearsal of the events, but encouraging conversation about things that had significant impact on him.

·           Be as attractive physically, verbally and morally as possible. Understand that a man is much more visually oriented than a woman, but also understand that your physical appearance was one of the reasons for his initial attraction to you. If you continue to make the most of your physical appearance, you will be just as pretty to him when you are eighty years old as when you were twenty. Understand that words can be powerful . . . in either criticism or praise. Also understand that to a maturing man the most attractive woman is a godly woman.

·           Be focused on building his self-image. The average woman has no idea of the power she has over her mate. That power does not lie in criticism and correction, but in resides in praise.

1 Peter 3:1

“How can a husband and a wife help each other in a difficult midlife crisis?”

·           Put romance back into your marriage.

·           Consider a rather unusual passage to relate to a marriage, but one that can be applied to your relationship.

Rev 2:4-5

1. The Problem

·           Have you “forsaken your first love”? Other translations say, “left your first love.” This does not necessarily refer to a physical leaving, but rather to the absence of a sense of connection, therefore, the absence of a sense of romance.

2. The Solution

·           “Remember the height from which you have fallen.” Remember what attracted you to each other in the first place. Those traits and attributes are still present, although covered up with the overlay of marital neglect.

·           “Repent.” Change the direction of your relationship. Ask yourself, “What are the things that are keeping us from intimacy? Schedules? Wrong priorities? Hurts? What? Identify those things and commit to change.

“Do the things you did at first.” Spend time together. Be courteous to one another. Talk!

D.        Move from Crisis to Christ

·           Who am I?

1 John 3:1

·           What is my purpose in life?

Rom 12:1-2

·           To whom do I really want to give myself?

Matt 22:37-39

·           What do I want to do for the rest of my life?

Ps 40:8

·           Where does God fit into my life?

Ps 23

·           What does God do with my wrong choices?

Lam 3:22-23

·           Where does my hope ultimately lie?

Ps 62:5-8

E.        Model a Positive Midlife Message11

Through the strength of Christ who lives within you

Phil 4:13

·           I will regard midlife as different, not inferior.

Eccl 3:1

·           I will realize the advantages of aging.

—        Wisdom and knowledge are gained from experiences. Understand that we are the product of our experiences. Learn to value the trials as well as the successes.

—        Endurance is strengthened through change and hardship.

—        Relationships are cherished and confirmed by testing.

—        Spiritual focus is sharpened by looking on the unseen and the eternal.

Job 12:12

·           I will accept the physical changes that are happening to me.

Isa 40:31

·           I will evaluate my life purpose.

—        Discern what brings you joy.

—        Discover your spiritual gifts.

—        Determine your given responsibilities.

—        Develop a written statement (vision).

Col 1:10

·           I will set goals for new challenges.

—        Think of something you always wanted to do and design a plan to accomplish it.

—        Understand that “ministry” is something to which all believers are called. Find your own ministry, wherever that may be.

Isa 32:8

·           I will aim for sincere love in my relationships.

—        Substitute your name for the word love in 1 Cor 13:4-7.

—        Pray, “Lord, may I think more about giving love than receiving love.”

Rom 12:9

1 Cor 13:4-7

·           I will focus on creatively communicating love to others.

—        Verbally affirm the positive qualities of each person in your home. For every word of criticism, it may take up to 100 words of praise to balance. It may be that we are never called to criticize, but rather to always affirm. Let the Holy Spirit do the convicting!

—        Ask your mate to write out your positive qualities, and make a list of your mate’s positive qualities.

John 13:34

·           I will determine to make the most of the time God gives me.

—        Determine your priorities.

—        Live one day at a time.

Ps 90:12

·           I will listen for God’s direction in my life.

—        Study Scripture, pray, meditate.

—        Listen to godly advice.

—        Look for open doors, but use caution. God will sometimes leave a door open to see if you will go through it. Test an open door by His Word before proceeding, and even then, wait for the Spirit’s voice to say, “Go ahead.”

Prov 16:9

·           I will recognize God’s presence in my life.

—        Be aware of the constant presence of Christ in you walking each step with you.

Col 1:27

—        Respond with the attitude of Christ to your difficult situations, and remember that living with God is an adventure to be savored, not a destination to be conquered.

Phil 2:5

Isa 43:2

A midlife crisis, though grueling, can be a gift from God. It’s the charge you need for change. As you reevaluate your values, choose positive priorities, godly goals and find your life in the Lord.

—June Hunt


“Our spirits are restless until they find their rest in God.”

Saint Augustine

—        I feel trapped in my circumstances.

—        I wish I could disappear.

—        I feel I am getting old too fast.

—        I feel I’ve never had the chance to do what I really wanted to do.

—        I regret past decisions.

—        I feel like a failure.

—        I don’t feel I’m really needed.

—        I feel unappreciated.

—        I don’t have any real purpose for living.

—        I have grown spiritually numb to the Lord and the church.

—        I daydream and fantasize.

—        I find myself shirking my responsibilities.

—        I have little interest in sex with my spouse.

—        I get easily angered.

—        I mistrust the motives of those close to me.

—        I feel that now is my last chance for happiness.

Although you may be in the midst of a midlife crisis, yield to the Lord, who promises to be your Sustainer.

Isa 46:4


1.         Jim Conway and Sally Conway, Maximize Your Mid-Life, Pocket Guides (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1987), back cover.

2.         Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (2001); www.m-w.com.

3.         James Strong, Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (electronic edition; Online Bible Millennium Edition v. 1.13) (Timnathserah Inc., July 6, 2002).

4.         Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

5.         Conway and Conway, Maximize Your Mid-Life, 18-26.

6.         See H. Norman Wright, Understanding the Man in Your Life (Waco, TX: Word, 1987), 137.

7.         Conway and Conway, Maximize Your Mid-Life, 18-26.

8.         Jim Conway, Men in Mid-Life Crisis, rev. ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor, 1997), 108-10.

9.         Conway and Conway, Maximize Your Mid-Life, 51-53; Jim Conway and Sally Conway, Women in Mid-Life Crisis, rev. and updated ed. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1998), 400-403.

10.       Conway, Men in Mid-Life Crisis, 314-19; Conway and Conway, Maximize Your Mid-Life, 31-33.

11.       For this section see Ray Ortlund and Anne Ortlund, “Middle Age,” in Christian Counselor’s Manual, ed. Gary R. Collins and Lawrence M. Tornquist (Waco, TX: Word, 1980).


Conway, Jim. Men in Mid-Life Crisis. Rev. ed. Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor, 1997.

Conway, Jim, and Sally Conway. Maximize Your Mid-Life. Pocket Guides. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1987.

Conway, Jim, and Sally Conway. Women in Mid-Life Crisis. Rev. and updated ed. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1998.

Hunt, June. Healing the Hurting Heart: Answers to Real Letters from Real People. Dallas: Hope For The Heart, 1995.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Dallas: Hope For The Heart, 1989.

Ortlund, Ray, and Anne Ortlund. “Middle Age.” In Christian Counselor’s Manual, edited by Gary R. Collins and Lawrence M. Tornquist. Waco, TX: Word, 1980.

Robinson, Haddon W. Mid-Life: Finding Meaning in the Middle of Change. Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1982.

Sell, Charles M. Transitions Through Adult Life. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985.

Wright, H. Norman. Understanding the Man in Your Life. Waco, TX: Word, 1987.

(from Hope For The Heart Biblical Counseling Keys © 2005 by Hope For The Heart. All rights reserved.)