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The early years of marriage are profoundly different than the later, empty nest years of marriage.
In those early years, life is chaotic. You are trying to build careers, raise children, fulfill social and community obligations. All of these things pull at your energy and time. They often pull it away from the marriage relationship. There’s nothing wrong with this.
Different seasons of life have different requirements and different priorities.
How Does an Empty Nest Affect a Marriage?
But now you are here. Your nest is empty or emptying. The children are grown and gone and creating their own independent adult lives, often far away from parents. This is the time of the empty nest.
It’s time again to look to each other and nurture your marriage in a way that you haven’t in a long time. There is less stress and pressure as the kids leave the nest. When the kids are no longer living at home, there are often fewer outside pressures pulling you away from your relationship with each other. Often couples are more settled in their careers or even waiting for retirement which is just around the corner. You may find yourself with more disposable income after no longer paying for braces, soccer tournaments, and college tuition. The house is emptier and quieter. There is more time, more money and more space.
An empty nest shines a spotlight on the marriage. If you haven’t invested time in each other in the past, you will need to do so at this stage of your marriage to mend the cracks that are no longer held together by the kids and the busyness of everyday life raising a family.
Are Empty Nesters Happier?
The research seems to show that empty nesters are happier. There are likely several reasons for this. And not all of them are related to children moving out.
- More disposable income
- Fewer pressures on the relationship in the form of children and their needs
- Being further along in your career and having found a satisfying career
- Being in or near retirement which also alleviates a lot of the day-to-day pressures from working
- As we age we tend to become happier, I think because we have gained more perspective and experience. A disaster in our early 20s does not feel nearly as catastrophic in our late 50s. We are just more emotionally stable in our maturing years.
Marriage Tips for Empty Nesters
1. Recreate and reminisce about the old times
Spend some time together looking through old photo albums, watching old home movies, even dig out your wedding album and take a walk down memory lane. Reliving those memories together also helps us relive and rekindle those same feelings of love and closeness that we had at the time. Recreate a first date, the proposal, or even the first meal you made together in your first apartment. Taking time to spend intentional time together rebuilding those memories is a great way to build new ones.
2. Have fun together
Do something new! Reminiscing is fun, but there are a lot of fun things to do together that you have never done before. In fact, the novelty of your courtship may be one of the reasons you fell in love. Fall in love again by going on an adventure, taking a trip, finding a new hobby you both enjoy together.
3. Plan your alone time
Just because your nest is empty doesn’t mean you have to be joined at the hip. Have some solo fun. Have a girls night or a fishing trip. Don’t forget about your interests and your needs in your newfound togetherness. Spending some time apart will give you something new and exciting to talk about when you are together
4. Don’t forget the little things
Notice when your hubby empties the dishwasher or takes out the trash and thank him. It’s easy to be so comfortable together that we forget not to be too comfortable. Notice and appreciate those little kindnesses. Don’t forget the little things yourself. Pick up his favorite kind of takeout when he’s had a stressful day or leave a little note on the bathroom mirror or on his steering wheel. You get the idea! It will brighten his day and yours!
5. Take care of yourself
If you are at the point of having an empty nest, you are well into middle age and it’s more important than ever as we get older to take care of ourselves.
There are a million blog posts and articles about taking care of myself for me. But what if you thought about doing it for your husband or for your marriage? If you struggle with taking care of yourself, maybe think about it in a new way. It’s hard to be fun and try salsa dancing when you’re not feeling well or get out of breath climbing a flight of stairs. Taking care of yourself is about living the longest, funnest, most fulfilling life you can because you will feel good enough to enjoy it.
6. Ask for what you want
As you create this new thing, this empty nest marriage, remember to speak up and ask for what you want. Your husband can’t read your mind, and maybe your mind has changed and what you wanted in the past isn’t the same as what you want now. I think we would be surprised to find out how much our spouses want to please us, if they just knew how. Here’s the key: just tell him.
7. Schedule sexy time
Being intimate changes as the nest empties. You have more private time and fewer responsibilities but your body and libido is not the same as it was in your 20s.
Sex doesn’t always happen the same way it did when you were younger. Sometimes penetration during intercourse doesn’t happen at all due to various health and medical reasons. But there’s no reason that you can’t be intimate and spend time pleasuring each other. That’s why I prefer to call it sexy time instead of sex. Sexy time has a lot more possibilities and may even be more fun.
If raising kids put pressure on your sex life and you can hardly remember the last time you got naked together, the empty nest is the time to reclaim that connection, so don’t be afraid to schedule it in!
Final Thoughts on How to Make Your Empty Nest Marriage Amazing
The empty nest is a chance to make a fresh start and build or rebuild a new and amazing relationship together.
It’s a time to remember the fun of the old days and create new memories together of new adventures and experiences. It does take some effort and thought, but what in life is worth having that is easy? Sit down with your honey and make some plans for the new and exciting adventure you are beginning together creating an amazing empty nest marriage.
Midlife Mindsets You Need
If enjoying midlife doesn’t come naturally, you may need some help and ideas of ways to change your thinking to enjoy midlife instead of becoming overwhelmed by it.
If this sounds like you, you NEED to download this free guide to 7 Secrets to Enjoying Midlife!
Read More About Amazing Empty Nest Marriage
- How to Enjoy the Empty Nest and Grow Closer as a Couple
- Three Pitfalls to Avoid in an Empty Nest Marriage
- How to Rescue Your Marriage from Empty Nest Syndrome
What are you doing to create your amazing empty nest marriage? Let me know in the comments below.
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.Charles Dudley Warner
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