Any parent will tell you that having children changes their lives, and their relationship, forever. Between running them to sports and activities, helping them with schoolwork, and ensuring they’re cared for, parents may long for the days when their home is once again quiet and they can spend their time alone together fulfilling their dreams. However, when the day actually comes and the kids are all moved out, the parents’ emotions are not always as they expected.
After the hectic years of raising kids and putting them as top priority, couples may find themselves with empty nest syndrome and struggle to reconnect with one another again. To many, a child-free home may feel lonely and conversations may seem difficult when they don’t revolve around the children’s’ daily schedules anymore. Luckily, there are tips that may help marriages struggling from empty nest syndrome to grow strong again.
One of the most difficult aspects for empty nesters is learning how to communicate with one another again. Seeing a counselor, joining a support group, or attending a marriage workshop can help greatly in this area.
A therapist and support group can offer advice for this next chapter in life, provide tools for working on your marriage outside of the counseling session, and validate the range of emotions being felt. It is also a safe space to express your feelings and work through them together with a professional. Minds can’t be read so open and honest communication is the only key to a successful marriage. You may learn something new about how your spouse is feeling or see a new perspective on the matter. You’ll be reigniting your spark in no time!
Plan Intentional Dates
Date nights may have been put off during the busy child-rearing years, but now is the time to be intentional about spending quality time with one another. Plan romantic date nights regularly or be spontaneous and embark on trips to places you’ve always wanted to see. Keep it exciting by always planning something new. Try out a popular restaurant, see a new movie, or go wine tasting – the possibilities are endless!
You’re no longer responsible for taking care of young children and it’s time to create cherished memories to share just with your spouse. Enjoy your new found freedom and celebrate the amazing family you have raised together!
Practice a Shared Hobby
Parents who are having trouble adjusting to all of the time they have on their hands now that they live in an empty house may benefit from picking up a new hobby to participate in with one another. This will create bonding time and a new topic to talk about that doesn’t involve the children.
Whether you’ve always wanted to learn how to play chess, you have a passion for golf, or crafting is calling your name, choose a hobby to enjoy together.
Connect with Other Parents
There are many ways to connect with other parents struggling with similar emotions from being empty nesters. As mentioned above, joining a support group or club for your hobby will both provide ample opportunities to meet and connect with other couples. Building new friendships or nurturing past ones that may have been neglected due to parenting responsibilities, will help you stay busy and socialized.
It’s important to remember that just because your children are moved out and on their own, it doesn’t mean that you no longer have purpose as a parent. This is an exciting chapter to reconnect with your spouse and build the love for one another even stronger. You children still need you and one day your home may be filled again with grandkids so enjoy the quiet while you have it!