Marital Monday: The Empty Nest

 

Over the next few months many couples will be entering a new phase. Some of your children may be graduating high school and going away to college.  Others may be graduating college and have decided to relocate. Whatever the reason, when your children are no longer in the home you have entered the “empty nest” phase of your marriage. I am nowhere near entering this phase, lol. The closest I have come is explained in my post “Empty Bed Syndrome for Parents“.

So back to becoming empty nesters. Many couples do not realize the adjustment associated with this phase. For the past 18 years or more as a couple, your life has centered around the needs, activities, and interests of your children. Your weekends probably consisted of transporting your child to and from sports or other activities with friends.  Dinner conversations began with asking your child what’s going on at school.

Now what?

You’re alone in your house with your spouse again. The children are gone. You must relearn one another. I am sure your interests have changed from the last time it was just you and your spouse in the house. Well guess what?  Your spouse’s interests have changed also.  This is a pivotal point in your marriage.  I have seen many couples adjust to this phase easily and reconnect with one another effortlessly.   However, on the flip side I have also seen couples who realize that without the children at home they no longer have common interests decide to divorce after 20+ years of marriage.  It’s really sad when this happens. How do you avoid it?

Honestly I cannot answer the question how to avoid it.  I guess one way would be to maintain common interests with your spouse over the years whether you have children at home or not. Recognize when your interests are changing and let your spouse know, it shouldn’t be a guessing game. Listen to your spouse when they tell you ways they have changed. Appreciate each other’s changes.  If you do this now when it is just the two of you at home you won’t be like “who is this stranger, this isn’t the person I married.”

Also, have your date nights.  Read the post Steps for a Perfect Date Night for tips.  As you evolve as individuals evolve together as a couple. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

If you read the Empty Bed post I linked above I missed my son when he was finally out of our bed but it needed to happen so that my husband and I could reconnect. It was an adjustment. We needed to adjust to it just being he and I. We had to relearn simple things like cuddling with one another and taking advantage of it just being us. I imagine it will be like that but on a greater scale when we are empty nesters. I am sure the time will be here faster than I would like to believe lol.

Are you an empty nester?  What was it like for you? Share your experience with us.

~Tricia

Steps For A Perfect Date Night

date nightWhen was the last time you and your spouse had a date night? You have to make the time to have them in your marriage. Dating should not stop once you get married. Here are some quick “Date Night” tips.

  1. SET A DATE – Spur of the moment dates can be great but try picking out a date in advance. When you set a date, it gives you something to look forward to. Sit down together and pull out your calendars. See what works best for the both of you. Then, pull out the red lipstick and put a heart around it. Make it stand out on your calendar so that every time you look at it you see that bright read heart. I guarantee it will make you smile every time you see it.
  2. GET A RELIABLE BABYSITTER – This is not the time to experiment with a sitter. For this date you want the kids to go with the grandparents or an aunt, someone that is reliable. You don’t want to get a call that day from the sitter saying they can not make it. Make it with someone the kids are comfortable with and will look forward to staying with….for the whole night!!!! Yes! The WHOLE night! This way if you want to spend the night out with your spouse you can and not feel rushed to get back to the kids. Enjoy, and have fun!
  3. PICK OUT YOUR OUTFIT – Don’t just wait for the day to come to figure out what you are going to wear. Look through your closet and decide what look you want to go for. Hey, it may even give you an excuse to buy something new. This is for both husbands and wives. When we have a wedding or an event to go to, my husband plans in advance what he is going to wear. I want him to put in that same kind of thought to go out with me. It makes your spouse feel extra special.
  4. PDA (Public Displays of Affection) – While your out be affectionate. Hold hands. Give kisses, Give little butt slaps. Just don’t walk around like this…… Couple walking with hands in back pocketsI have never been a fan of this, lol.I’m not saying to make out and make those around you uncomfortable. Just give each other little reminders that you still find your spouse to be the most irresistible person in the world.

and finally….

  1. SEAL THE DEAL – This is the love of your life. You just had an amazing night out and you come home to an empty house. You have been gazing at each other all night in your fine outfits, showing affection. Your hormones are racing. At this point you should be headed to the bedroom…..or the living room…. or the kitchen… (this is why i said to have the kids spend the night away…lol). Feel free to do whatever you choose where ever you want because you have the house to yourself. Just have a GREAT night!!

~Tricia