If you're in midlife and married, you need Dorothy Greco's latest book, Marriage in the Middle.
And that is no empty sales pitch. Yes, I did agree to be on the author's launch team (a bit late for me, as the book launched one month ago), and yes, I am an Amazon affiliate.** But I would still tell you the same if neither of those two things was true.
There is no other book out there (to my knowledge) that addresses marriage in the middle of life like this one. In fact, let me tell you a story of how this book made its way to me here in Costa Rica. Since the author wanted to send me a copy, but it wasn't feasible to send internationally, my missionary friend Amy offered to bring the book back with her after dropping her daughter off at college in the United States. However, since she was only visiting in the USA for a short while, she had it sent to another friend's address, from where she would pick it up.
So this book has traveled across the miles and has passed through multiple hands, airports, and borders. And do you know what happened along the way with each person into whose hand it landed?
They read it. And they loved it.
Each one was so impressed with the book, she began recommending it to other friends! In fact, that friend to whom it was mailed and her husband are staff pastors at a church and gleaned so much from Marriage in the Middle that they now want to do a group study of the book with other midlife married couples in their church. That's notable when you consider the gamut of books available for pastors to choose from.
I will be writing another post or two about this book because it's that good! But first I wanted you to get to know Dorothy Greco and her book.
Q: You already wrote one marriage book, Making Marriage Beautiful. Why write another one only three years after the first?
A: Apparently I had more to say!
I’m almost at the tail end of midlife. As I look back over the last 20 years, I can see how unique the season is. There are many challenges and surprises to navigate which put pressure on us and on our marriages. These include caring for aging parents, dealing with health issues, navigating shifting professional and relational roles, etc. Additionally, disappointments and losses tend to mount during this time. All of these factors can create—or even widen—fault lines in our marriages.
Christopher and I have been leading pre-marital, marriage, and long-term healing programs for more than two decades. We have a deep understanding of the struggles that many couples face, particularly in midlife. My hope in writing Marriage in the Middle is to make couples aware of these issues, give them language to talk about what’s going on, and offer practical help for how they might intentionally nurture their marriages.
Q: How are the two books the same or different?
A: These are two very different books. One way to think about the two books is that Making Marriage Beautiful is a foundational book suitable for all married couples and Marriage in the Middle is specific to midlife and is a graduate-level offering.
Marriage in the Middle drills down into the specifics of marriage for couples between the ages of roughly 40-65. It’s deeper and more intense. Like Making Marriage Beautiful, it points readers to the promises of Scripture, includes interviews with diverse couples, and is incredibly hopeful. Both books rely on the premise that God will provide for and sustain us as we navigate life together. .
Q: You mention your husband Christopher above. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your marriage?
A: My husband Christopher and I met when we were students at Boston University back in the early '80s. Because we were both artists and somewhat new to following Jesus, we formed an easy friendship that eventually transitioned to a dating relationship. We had a very rocky start (which you could read about in Making Marriage Beautiful) but since getting married 29 years ago, there’s been no looking back. He works as a teacher and worship pastor and together we raised three sons who are now all adults. We are happiest when we’re doing ministry together or traveling.
Q: Why is midlife a particularly difficult season for marriages?
A: Everything piles up—including the losses, disappointments, and pressures. Additionally, our bodies are changing in a sort of reverse adolescence. There’s so much powerlessness! We can feel intimidated, overwhelmed, and defeated. The psychic and spiritual load can simply exceed our ability to bear up under it.
During this season, we have to figure out what we do have control over. Though we might feel totally powerless, that’s never true. We have agency and can make all kinds of consequential decisions. For example, Am I going to forgive my spouse for the ways he’s hurt me historically? Am I going to press in or back away from my spouse because of the many losses that we’ve faced?
One last question for today's blog post, though this is interesting so we will come back for more in a follow-up post.
Q: Can you give my readers the book’s premise?
A: Though many assume that "midlife" is synonymous with "crisis," it doesn't have to be that way. The demands of midlife actually force us to adjust and adapt, providing new opportunities for discovery and growth within our marriages. Marriage in the Middle will inspire and encourage you to invest in your relationship with your spouse, enabling you both to thrive as you face the challenges and changes of this era together.
Thank you, Dorothy!
Dear reader, I hope you will be back for part 2 of the interview and my personal feedback on the book.
And I hope you take a moment to comment below. We'd love to hear your thoughts!
Reviews on Marriage in the Middle:
Visit Dorothy (who is also an accomplished photographer) at her site: http://www.dorothygreco.com
** I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means I receive a small commission for purchases made through my site.