Stephen Arterburn --- founder and chairman of New Life Ministries, the nation's largest faith-based broadcast, counseling and treatment ministry --- has penned another dynamic resource that men born between 1946 and 1964 will find encouraging, practical, inspiring and so, so funny. Arterburn, who has written over 70 books, has teamed up with fellow author John Shore to bring respite, relief and welcome reassurance to men everywhere.
Whether or not an individual man is struggling with the stereotypical midlife issues, this text will be earmarked for years to come. Men will discover commonalities with one another on such themes as being a middle-aged male, harboring a he-man of the universe mentality, being a son, a husband, a provider and a father, and facing forward into the future with courage and confidence.
Arterburn opens the book with an admission. His marriage of 17 years had ended; he was 46 years old and, in his words, "...as miserable as he'd ever been in his life." He writes that he was without hope and tells of being stripped of everything, including pretense and superficiality. It was just him and Jesus "fellowshipping in suffering." Fast forward six years later. Remarried and the father of a one-year-old son, Arterburn offers perspective and wise counsel for facing hard times, looking at himself accurately, and moving ahead with faith and integrity.
As Arterburn and Shore point out, midlife isn't what it used to be. In the year 1800, the life expectancy for an American man was 35 years; today it’s 76. The sheer increase in time factor leaves more for men to "reflect upon, adjust, or change our lives." The authors cite some characteristic "symptoms" of midlife transitioning...or midlife "crisis-ing." Men might experience depression, feel acute irritability, engage in too much "partying," unwise or extravagant spending, have an obsession with sex, or have an affair.
In their He-Man of the Universe chapter, Arterburn and Shore afford readers a comical yet all-too-accurate portrayal of the "he-man" mentality, to which most men battle against succumbing. Referring to these not-so-healthy-attitudes, they list some "good riddances" with both clarity and comical asides.
* Getting rid of unceasing expectation of oneself
* Finishing off a crippling sense of entitlement
* Making peace with emotions by not suppressing them
* Casting off the lone ranger mentality of not needing anyone
On the positive flip side, they suggest the following "he-man pure gold" recommendations to be adopted in place of the above.
* Understanding the proper use of power
* Understanding how important responsibility is
* Understanding how to grow bit by bit toward maturity
* Understanding how challenges and bravery fit in this world
With keen wit and fun-loving personal tale-telling admissions, Arterburn and Shore offer their readers both helpful information and practical tips for coping with life's uncertainties and unexpected happenings. Readers --- males and the females who love them --- will appreciate this filled-to-the-brim manual for midlife.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on February 1, 2008