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Midlife Wisdom for Men Newsletter Issue #009, April 30, 2004
April 30, 2004
Midlife Wisdom for Men - Helping Men Navigate Midlife Transitions.


Written by Noel McNaughton
(c) copyright 2004


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April 30, 2004 Issue #009

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

The Story of a Men's Group

How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

So Your Wife Is In Menopause

Want To Make Some Extra Cash? Write an E-Book


The Story of a Men's Group

by Roger Killen, Vancouver, B.C.

It was March 1991 and six men had something in common - they all wanted quality friendships with other men. The type of brotherhood that used to be formed between men when military service was common, when men worked together in teams to achieve common goals and when men socialized together over a pint to solve the world's problems.

But now each of these men felt isolated - the men in their lives were more like business associates than brothers, more like competitors than trusted allies.

The six founders of what came to be called "The men's group" came from diverse backgrounds and found themselves together by word of mouth. They included a social worker, an electrical engineer, an entrepreneur, an architect, a tool and die maker and a small business owner. They ranged in age from young forties to late fifties, came from four countries and were equally split between married and single.

The initial structure of "The men's group" was loosely borrowed from another group. Within a year this start-up structure was replaced by protocols and traditions of the group's own making. What has evolved to work best for "The men's group" is a structure based on the following ten guidelines:

1. meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of each month

2. the meetings begin at 6:30 pm and conclude at 9:30 pm

3. at each meeting every man has the right to 'check in' i.e., say whatever he would like to and be respectfully heard

4. each man takes his turn to host a meeting; as host he assumes several responsibilities:

- provide dinner and beer (the cost is split - about C$12 for each man)
- ensure privacy for the meeting
- set the evening's agenda

5. on a 'best efforts' basis, each man tries to attend every meeting (some men on travel submit their 'check-in' by email)

6. should a man be absent from several meetings his commitment to the group is questioned and he is asked to make a clear choice

7. everything discussed at the meeting is private and confidential

8. twice a year the men take a short and inexpensive overnight trip somewhere - we generally meet on a Saturday morning and return on Sunday afternoon though have taken longer trips together as opportunities have arisen

9. the group's size is fixed at a maximum of ten - this recognizes the reality of our busy lives and ensures that around seven men are present at each meeting

10. should a man leave the group his replacement is sourced internally (i.e. suggested by other group members) and the decision to invite a new man to join the group is unanimous.

Four of the six founders are still active in "The men's group", the turnover has been remarkably small and new men who are keen to join the group are plentiful.

Why is this loose association of men going so strong after thirteen years?
Perhaps it is because the few minutes that it takes to 'check-in' and be heard are so precious to each man. Perhaps the group's high values are an oasis in an increasingly immoral world. Perhaps the lack of competition, ego-based behaviour and one-upmanship among the men are in stark contrast to the aggression of the real world.

Whatever it is I am sure of one thing: that brotherly love is alive and well inside "The men's group".


How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

At midlife, marriages often go through some rocky times. I believe it is partly because men and women are both going through their 'midlife trials' (menopause for her and andropause for him), and that, along with maybe some not-too-great communication skills, particularly for us men, can lead to problems.

Marital discord is hard on your health

More and more research in the new field of psychoneuroimmunology is showing that stress of all kinds is hard on our health. For example, a study done a few years ago of 79 married couples, showed that colds and upper respiratory infections could be predicted fairly reliably to follow a marital fight or other hassles within 3-4 days.

Now, there is going to be some discord at times in any marriage, or close relationship, but the better you are at handling these hassles, the less stress, and literally the healthier you will be.

In general, the better you know your partner, the lower the number of fights. So the question is, how well do you know your partner? Dr. John Gottman is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington and founded what the media termed "The Love Lab", where he conducted much of his research on couples' interactions. He made some interesting findings, including...
  • There are three basic types of marriages, and all three can be very happy and long-lasting:
    1. stormy marriages, where there are big explosive fights followed by intense and passionate periods of making-up
    2. what has always been thought of as 'normal' or 'ideal' marriages by marriage counsellors, where the couple has periodic fights or arguments, but has good communication skills and can resolve conflicts
    3. 'quiet' marriages, where the couple 'never fights' (psychologists have always assumed these kinds of marriages must be unsatisfying with a lot of dissatisfaction seething beneath the surface, but Gottman's research shows that is not necessarily so).

  • If you make at least five positive statements to your partner for every negative one, the relationship will probably do pretty well

Now, back to the question... how well do you know your partner?

You can take a little quiz at the Gottman Institute's website: Gottman Marriage Relationship Quiz I recommend perusing the rest of the website as well. There is some good stuff there.

Sometimes we think we married the wrong person, and sometimes that is true. But sometimes WE aren't such great partners ourselves!


So Your Wife Is In Menopause

A Marriage can suffer when a wife goes through menopause. Some women barely notice it, and others are severely affected. Knowing the symptoms, understanding the physical and emotional changes, and supporting your wife's treatment decisions are a few of the ways to support your wife as she experiences menopause. (You may find the symptoms below are not dramatically different from what you have been experiencing!)

Here is some advice I found on a website, that makes sense to me...

1) Know the Symptoms Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, decreased libido, moodiness, weight gain, forgetfulness, hostility, and depression.

2) Understand the Changes Along with the symptoms and heightened emotions, a woman going through menopause may experience alarming physical changes such as a fast heart beat, vaginal dryness, loss of pleasurable sensations during sex, skin flushing, irregular menstrual periods, and worry about osteoporosis.

3) Support Her Treatment Decisions Exercise with her. Educate yourself about the pros and cons of more vegetables and soy in your diet, and be prepared to cut back on alcohol, white sugar and caffeine (they're not good for you either). Give her massages. Learn together how to meditate or do relaxation exercises.

4) Encourage Her to See a Physician With the recent findings that Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, and estrogen alone may increase risk of ovarian cancer, it is important that your wife consults a physician for help in making treatment decisions that are right for her.

5) Communicate Don't ignore her feelings. Don't make fun of her hot flashes or put her down. Let her know she can express her feelings, both positive and negative, with you. Listen to her as she expresses her fears about growing old and as she re-examines her life.

6) Make Time for the Two of You Look for ways to nurture your marriage including finding time to spend together having fun.

7) Look for the Positive Don't believe all the old wives' tales. Remember that a difficult menopause is not the woman's fault. Menopause can be different for every woman. Support the idea that this can be a wonderful time of change for your wife. She can become personally empowered and learn more about her own strengths and talents. Make this a time of healthy growth for you both and for your marriage.


Want To Make Some Extra Cash? Write an E-Book

Statistics show that a lot of baby boomer are not going to retire at the 'traditional' age (it is only traditional within the last hundred years or so) of 65. Many will keep on working. Some because they want to, and some because they have to.

But even those who have to keep working don't necessarily want to keep doing what they have been doing, and would really rather make some money from h-ome. I believe the internet is the greatest tool for common folks like you and me there has ever been, IF you know how to use it.

(Keep an eye out for a new section I am adding to the midlife-men's site in the next few days that is all about making money from home.)

One of the best ways to make money on the net is to create an 'info-product'. In other words, and e-book, that you can sell. It is really not that hard, even if you are not a writer, and don't know what to make a book about.

Here is a wonderful free InfoProducts Masters Course that shows you how to brainstorm, create, produce, and sell your very own infoproduct online. It is the last course Dr. Ken Evoy (who created the amazing web-business building package Site Build It!) still offers via e-mail, and I don't know how much longer he will offer it.

Don't let the fact that it is free fool you. It is packed with great content. I got this course a few years ago, and wrote an e-book "Five Steps to Getting Your Articles Published" in just seven days! I use it as course notes now when I give teleclasses on how to get articles published (which if you are self-employed is a powerful marketing tool).

To register for this free course, just send a blank e-mail to The InfoProducts Masters Course , adding the word "MASTERS" (without the quotation marks) in the subject line.

NOTE: It is very important that you write MASTERS in the subject line, as they get a lot of spam, and their spam filter will delete any emails coming to that address that does not have the word MASTERS in the subject.


NOTE: The Classifieds haven't been doing that well!

I have had no response to my offer of classified ads, and I still have my adsl modem :-), but I will leave the offer open. If you have something you want to advertise, just send me a note at



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I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.


Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel
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