Q. I am afraid I'm about to become yet another mid-life statistic. I am bored with my marriage and have secretly contemplated having an affair with someone at work. I have not done anything yet, but I'm so scared I might. Help! —R.S., Los Angeles
A. Let's start with a bit of realism. If you want to be a statistic, that's a choice you can make. You can decide that you deserve a "quick fix" for your inner pain, but all along you know that it will leave you with the potential of a broken marriage, a ruined testimony to those you love, and regret that will ultimately only deepen your current stage of inner numbness. The problem won't go away because, at this point, you are the problem.
Instead, it might be helpful to recognize you have entered familiar territory that many men and women have to negotiate if they are to finish well. It's called halftime. It's not unlike the football team that, during halftime, regroups and reminds itself it came to win and emerges as a different team in the second half. It's the place where we forthrightly face the dreams that have never been fulfilled, the accomplishments that have never materialized, and the hopes that have never been realized—and still refuse to surrender.
The Bible describes your situation like this: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life" (Prov. 13:12, NIV). Sure, your heart is "sick and tired" of it all. But instead of throwing in the towel, refuse to be a statistic. Instead of whining, blaming and quitting, embrace this moment as the beginning of what can be the very best season of your life.
Start by surrounding yourself with a few good friends you can be honest with and to whom you can keep yourself accountable—not just so you can avoid failing but so they can affirm what they see God doing in your life and the contribution that is still very much attainable.
More important, commit to making your spouse your best friend for this stage of the journey. Doing that has the potential of moving you from being just another statistic to becoming an example for others to find their way to finishing well.
Answered by: Dennis W. Easter, senior pastor of Portland Foursquare Church in Oregon. If you have a question for "Your Questions," contact us. Mention that it is for "Your Questions" consideration.