Known as “empty nesters,” life usually changes drastically for a couple after the kids leave home. Suddenly, you may find extra time in your day when you do not have the needs of the children pushing to the top of your daily to-do list. With your additional time and ability to focus on your relationship, it is possible to work on your marriage to make improvements.
Accept the transition from having children home to having them move out of your home. Because you have spent many years with children as a vibrant part of your family environment, the change to a quieter home without children might take time for adjustment.
Communicate regularly with your partner as you navigate the transition. Discussing each partner’s adjustment process, especially emotionally, will help maintain a closer connection between the two of you. If one partner feels sadness or fear in relation to the kids leaving, the other partner can provide support. Daily communication can help increase intimacy, advises psychologist Kalman Heller, writing for the PsychCentral website.
Pursue activities as a couple, advises psychologist Richard Wemhoff, writing for Emmaus Counseling Center. Engaging in shared activities can increase the amount of time spent together and help increase the connection between the partners. You might learn a new hobby together or rekindle a hobby you shared before the kids were born.
Talk about the future. This may be an ideal time to begin thinking about plans after retirement. Dream together about how you would like to spend your twilight years. Do not make final decisions in haste, but even spending time discussing and exploring your future together can improve a bond and give you something to look forward to together.
Seek marital counseling if you and your partner have difficulties after the kids leave. Sometimes the loss felt by a partner can overshadow the marriage and create problems. If you and your partner grew apart during the child-rearing years, it might be difficult to reestablish intimacy after the children leave. By working on your relationship with the guidance and support of a therapist or counselor, you can learn how to cope with the transition, as well as devise new ways to increase your connection with each other, advises the Portland Relationship Center.
Enjoy your transitioned family together. The life on the other side of an empty nest can feel rewarding and exciting for a couple. Not only will you have more time to devote to your relationship as a couple, but your relationship with your children changes, also. The new parent/adult child relationship can feel satisfying as you interact positively with your mature children, advises an article in the American Psychological Association.