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Seeing The Flaws In Our Partner
September 15, 2006

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #066, September 15, 2006

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

· Seeing The Flaws In Our Partner

· Putting The Seat Down

· Book Review: Wild Health


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2006


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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

You've maybe noticed that as we get older, our marriage can feel a bit stressful. I believe it is just part of the midlife transition, when everything in our life seems to be in upheaval, and once we get throught the transition, things generally smooth out again. I have included a couple of items that address that situation.

I have also been fascinated with the ways wild animals seem to keep themselves healthy, and have reviewed a really interesting book about it.

There are about 1150 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take you about three minutes to read.

All the best,



Seeing The Flaws In Our Partner

At midlife we are often dissatisfied with many aspects of life, including our marriage. We sometimes think we married the wrong partner, and we fantasize about being with a different partner, especially a younger one. Perhaps we are remembering the 'glory days' when we were younger ourselves, and our own partner was more the way she was when we first got married. The way we thought she was going to stay!

As the old saying goes, men marry women, expecting them to stay the same, and they don't. And women marry men, expecting them to change, and they don't.

At any rate, many men and women are dissatisfied with their marriage at midlife. In general, if they hang in there, it passes, and they go on to a very satisfying older age, if they are both willing to adapt to the personal changes each is going through.

A while ago I ran across this little story from "Who Ordered This Truckload Of Dung? Inspiring stories for welcoming life's difficulties" by Ajahn Brahm, and thought I would pass it on:


AFTER A WEDDING CEREMONY in Singapore a few years ago, the father of the bride took his new son-in-law aside to give him some advice on how to keep the marriage long and happy. "You probably love my daughter a lot," he said to the young man. "Oh yes!" the young man sighed. "And you probably think that she is the most wonderful person in the world," the old man continued.

"She's sooooo perfect in each and every way," the young man cooed.

"That's how it is when you get married," said the old man. "But after a few years, you will begin to see the flaws in my daughter. When you do begin to notice her faults, I want you to remember this. If she didn't have those faults to begin with, Son-in-law, she would have married someone much better than you!"

So we should always be grateful for the faults in our partner because if they didn't have those faults from the start, they would have been able to marry someone much better than us.


Actual newspaper headline: New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group


Putting The Seat Down

In leading communication workshops a few years ago, I would explain 'I statements' and 'you statements', then form small groups and have each group come up with a conflict scenario, which they would first act out using 'you statements', then using 'I statements'.

The idea was to show how much easier it is to manage conflict using 'I statements', where the person pointing out the problem simply says what the problem is, how it affects them, and how they feel about it, without pointing the finger and blaming the other person.

A number of different scenarios were acted out, but one that often showed up if women were the majority in the small group, was 'putting the toilet seat down'. Some acting was hilarious, but the message was serious... it is VERY uncomfortable to sit down on a cold, often wet, toilet bowl, because someone has left the seat up.

I have sat down on such a seat, and perhaps you have too. Women do it more often, and they REALLY HATE IT.

So here is a suggestion: if you are not in the habit of putting the toilet seat down, start doing so. It is a simple courtesy a man can extend to others who use the toilet. As my dear old Dad says, there is no excuse for leaving the seat up.

In midlife our marriage can be at a dissatisfying stage anyway, and we can do little things that irritate each other, such as leaving the seat up, which just makes things more unpleasant. Better to do little things that feel good to each other, and putting the seat down is one a man can do.


An elderly man in Adelaide calls his son in Sydney and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing... forty-five years of misery is enough."

Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the old man says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Brisbane and tell her," and he hangs up.

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this."

She calls her dad immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced! Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and then hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife... Okay," he says, "They're coming for Christmas and paying their own airfares."


Book Review: Wild Health: Lessons in Natural Wellness from the Animal Kingdom by Cindy Engel

If you are interested in 'natural health', this book is for you. Engel, a lecturer in environmental sciences at the U.K. Open University, has assembled fascinating set of laboratory studies and field observations on how animals treat and prevent diseases.

Since time immemorial, humans have observed wild animals eating plants and minerals and using naturally occurring topical antitoxins from the same sources to fight infectious wounds, parasites and internal disorders. Herds of elephants risk injury and death in a perilous journey to hidden salt caves where they supplement their sodium deficient diets. Monkeys rub poisonous millipedes on their fur to repel biting, disease-carrying insects. Birds line their nests with parasite-resistant herbs.

Engel describes a world in which nature is the pharmacy and every animal is physician. She also describes the inbred weaknesses unintentionally bred into domesticated animals through centuries of genetic tampering by humans. The implications for human health are familiar: our biggest killers today (cancer, heart disease) result from unhealthy eating. Animals in the wild stay fit because they stick to a diet natural to them, while human beings are poorly equipped to handle our modern preference for dairy, grains and processed foods. This is an engaging book that will appeal to those interested in health, biology, environment and animal behaviour.


We childproofed our home, but they are still getting in.


I do this newsletter and host the website as a service to other men, and am happy to do so. Just the same, it costs some money, and if you would like to make a small contribution to help with those costs, I would really appreciate it. If you would like, you can make a donation at:


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Got your copy of Picking Up The Burning Feather yet? It will help you on your spiritual journey.

Just go to Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men.


Just For You: A Free Do-It-Yourself Retirement Planning Report

If you are a new subscriber to this newsletter, you will recall I promised you a link to a secret page on the Midlife Men's site where you can download a free 27-page report on 'DIY Retirement planning' by George Slater.

Welcome to the newsletter, and for your free report, go to: DIY Retirement E-Report , and follow the instructions.




A Destroyer of Compasses by Wade Bell, published by Guernica Editions, (Toronto, Buffalo and Lancaster UK) $15.00 Cdn

One Man's Mid-Life Crisis Led to Spain. Planning to spend six weeks, he stayed five years.

A book of stories the Toronto Globe & Mail called "an assured and sensual portrait of a culture" with "precise and ironic examples of human idiosyncracy." The review went on to call stories "gems."

Available from Amazon, E-Bay and local bookstores.

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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