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.
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.