925-212-1018 Patty@PattyShirley.com


The Sandwich Generation

Picture yourself somehow wedged between a slippery pickle, a slab of hot peppery pastrami and slathered with spicy, wet mustard.  Sounds sticky, right?!?!   That is what many Generation X’ers and Baby Boomers are facing right now, being considered the Sandwich Generation.  Myself included!

With the U.S.’s employment rate down and inflation up, the younger generation is receiving more education but less opportunities.  They are taking longer to become established, now labeled as “emerging adults” and “millennials.”  Back in my day…  we were children, then teens and suddenly considered adults. 

On the other end of this life spectrum, older adults are living longer, becoming increasingly older and projected to be the fastest growing segment of our population.  So, where does that leave all of us who are in-between?  You might think, what does this do to our relationship with our spouse, our level of communication, connectedness, intimacy, energy level and sex life? 

As my husband and I have been trying for a number of years to eat our way out of our “sandwich” situation, we realized the importance of being deliberate and intentional with our time together, placing value and importance on our marriage and our relationship, as well as our relationship with our Savior, Jesus.  Though at times, it doesn’t look like there is an end in sight of the demands from those around us, we know that setting strong boundaries and prioritizing our marriage is key.  Setting strong, yet loving boundaries with our children and our aging parents is Biblical and doesn’t mean that we don’t love them.  It actually means the opposite. 

There are days when the demands loom larger than life, but we realize that if we don’t prioritize our intimate time together and be deliberate and intentional, it will NEVER happen.  After all is said and done, if I don’t guard my marriage along the way, there will be no marriage, no love, no laughter or joy at the end of this season.  And that is NOT what my Lord had in mind in being a good steward of the relationships that He has given me.  Guarding our minds, souls, emotions and thoughts and having a few close people in our lives that help to gird us up, to come alongside, encourage, support and pray for us, as a couple, is a must in order to survive this thing called life.  But these stressors in our life can actually build us up in character and strengthen our relationships with our spouse and our Lord, rather than to distract and to tear us apart. 

As for me and my husband, we often dream together of the empty nest stage of life, when we can return back to those days of being newlyweds when we were curious, hopeful, wanting to know and learn about each other.  We realize that if we don’t nurture the intimate portion of our marriage NOW, in the midst of the mustard, pickles and pastrami, we will never have an opportunity to share this reward of empty nesting love. 

BTW – I love a good pastrami sandwich!  😉

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  Hebrews 12:1, NLT

For more information on emerging adults and millennials, check out http://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2014/cb14-219.html

For more information on the aging older adult population, check out http://www.aoa.gov/Aging_Statistics/Profile/2012/docs/2012profile.pdf

Patty Shirley