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Our daughter is graduating this May. How can my spouse and I can reconnect after years of focusing our energy on our daughter?

Congratulations. That's a major life achievement, getting a child lauched well in life. Many couples find that they have spent so much time raising their children (and paying the bills and doing everything else) that they have gotten rusty in how to play together and enjoy time together. Others find this transition super easy, and just step it up a notch in terms of time together doing things they like to do. If you are rusty at hanging out together, it's worth sitting down a time or two (or three or four) and just brainstorming about some things the two of you could start doing that you both would find enjoyable. Try not to put a lot of pressure on yourselves. Instead, go for slow and steady movements in the direction of more fun and friendship type time together. Plan to try some things that you've never tried before but also plan some things that have always been good bets for the two of you to enjoy. This could also include really simple things like trying a little harder to take a walk together a few times a week or to watch a favorite, funny TV show together (laughing together is good for you).

The tricky part is actually making some increased time together really happen. That may mean deciding that you are going to go out (or stay in, or whatever) and be together one night a week, every week, for hanging-out time. You could also "plan" to take turns each week making something small, but spontaneous happen between the two of you. "Hey Honey, let's make some chocolate chip cookies together tonight, and eat them while we watch NCIS." Spring a backrub on your mate. Go to bed early - like way before you are going to be sleepy.

Here's a tip. As you make more time here and there for being together, make these times "off limits" for conflict or the need to deal with issues. That's one of the most important things we recommend to couples in the books my colleagues and I have written for couples (like Fighting for Your Marriage). Deal with issues or hassles at other times so that you make it emotionally safe and relaxed during the times you've planned to enjoy being together. Agree to just "table" or "shelf" issues you can get back to it later. That makes it more likely that you'll keep making these positive times together happen.

Here's a key to go with the other ideas here. Don't try to change a zillion things at once. Don't try to spend hours and hours together doing amazing things when you've not been doing for years - or have never done before. (Of course, at times, knock yourselves out.) Aim for some steps in the right direction, but be reasonable. The most important thing is to get some things moving that increase you positive time together. Crazy big expectations about what you'll change lead to crazy big disappointments. The key is just to get thigns moving. You've got plenty of time to figure out how this is all going to work in the years to come.