Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Key to the Jailhouse Door

"Caught between two worlds:
One dead, the other powerless to be born".
(Matthew Arnold, 19th century English poet)

Although Matthew Arnold was referring to the symbolic death of Western civilization, his words can just as easily describe the sense of despair that someone in a bad marriage can feel.

Readers of my book know that I don't believe that all marriages are worth saving. To be sure, many divorces are unnecessary and virtually every marriage could---with mutual and sustained effort---be improved. But sometimes one or both spouses have mentally thrown in the towel, have given up on sex, affection, and fun times, and are simply living out their remaining days like prisoners in a maximum-security cell.

But a lifeless marriage does not have to mean a future without sunlight or fresh air. No matter what your age, no matter how tight your finances, no matter what obstacles are in your way, you still have the power to make something happen; you have the key to unlock the jailhouse door. You may be afraid to exercise your power, but it's there inside you all the time, waiting to be called on.

There's no question that change is scary and that freedom comes with a price. But if you're wasting the only life you will ever have on this earth, you're paying a price already, a very big price. If your marriage is truly dead, don't perpetuate your suffering. Take some small step today to create a better future. And tomorrow, take another one. Before long, fear will be replaced by excitement, and you'll be ready to open that door to a new and better life.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome to Jim Duzak's Quote & Comment!

"Age does not protect us from love, but love to some extent protects us from age".
(Jeanne Moreau)

I can't think of a better quote to inaugurate a blog dedicated to issues of mid-life marriage, mid-life divorce, and mid-life dating. If a person is open to love---and I'm referring now to romantic love---he or she is every bit as capable of falling in love (or staying in love) at 40, 50, 60 or beyond as at 20 or 30.

Of course, that's a big "if". People often become so jaded, so disillusioned, so fearful of being hurt and hurt again, that at some point they close their minds and hearts to even the possibility of love. They convince themselves that love is nothing more than a mutual misunderstanding, a gross lapse of judgment, a foolish thing that you experience when you're young and which you survive if you're lucky.

There's no question that love does involve risks, which is probably why Jeanne Moreau used the word "protect". (In fact, from what I know of her life, she's had her share of romantic ups and downs). But she knew that a life without risk is a life without adventure, a life without possibility, which is another way of saying no life at all.

She also knew that a person in love is young, no matter what the birth certificate says. We focus so much on the outward signs of aging---the sore knees, the sagging muscles, the facial lines---that we forget that the surest evidence of age is a loss of enthusiasm. If you still care passionately about something, if you have things you still want to accomplish in life, if you're still open to experience and pleasure, love will have a way of finding you.