The empty nest stage of life can be an awkward one for even the best of marriages. In fact, any marriage and family therapist will tell you that it’s normal and natural to struggle with your marriage when your shift in priorities changes as your children launch into the world. Where you and your spouse once put your free time and energy into raising children together, it can be hard to know how to move forward in your relationship as a couple.
The great news is that, while struggling to empty nest with peace of mind can be a challenge, there are many ways to get your marriage back on track and even grow closer than ever to your partner as you move together into your golden years. For ways to adjust more easily, read on.
One of the best things you and your spouse can do after your kids leave home is to attend couples retreat therapy in an effort to reconnect. Even if you and your spouse are getting along well and are sure your marriage is in a good place, attending a retreat together is a nice way to tell each other that you value the commitment you’ve made and managed to keep.
Sadly, statistics tell us that most couples don’t stay together from the day their child is born through the empty nest stage. If you and your partner have been married this whole time, you’ve already proved that your relationship is important to you. On a retreat, you’ll get the skills and tools you need to make it to the finish line both intact and happy.
On couples retreats, trained therapists can help you to explore your shared dreams, find new hobbies, and improve your intimacy.
If you’re like many empty nest parents, you’ve just come out of helping your child meet with the perfect college application consultant, get through finals, and land their first job. Odds are, your child’s high school or college experience moved so quickly you can’t believe you’re already here. The truth is, kids do grow up fast, and many parents make the mistake of forgetting to celebrate the milestones and achievements along the way because they are so busy playing a supportive role.
Do what you can to step back and look at how far your child has come with your and your partner’s help. You’ve done this together and have a lot to be proud of. It’s okay to celebrate those achievements together, even if it’s in the privacy of your own home.
Many people understand the theory behind the importance of self-care but get busy and have trouble implementing regular healthy habits into their daily lives. As you become an empty nester, your responsibilities will change. For this reason, you might find yourself with free time. In fact, now might be a great time to pick up a healthy hobby you and your partner can enjoy together or alone. Exploring those passions now will give you a good idea of how you might spend retirement.
Like self-care, the importance of support during this life stage shouldn’t be underestimated. Consider double dates with other empty nesters. At the end of the day, as you and your spouse watch your child’s personal growth from afar, do what you can to remember that the empty nest period can be just as exciting. You and your spouse have worked hard to give your child their best start, be great mentors, and set great examples. Now, it’s your turn to make each other your top priorities as your child learns to navigate the world on their own. In working on making that adjustment now, setting healthy boundaries, and taking romantic time together, you’ll ensure a better future for you and your spouse.