Reconnecting with Your Spouse after the Kids Leave
The kids are gone, and now it's just you and your spouse. You've been married for years, but it's been a while since the two of you had some one-on-one time and you're feeling a bit distant.
A couple experiences several changes in their relationship throughout the years. Who you were as a dating couple changed when you married and took on the responsibility of sharing a household. You and your spouse evolved again, from partners to parents, with the birth of your first child. Now, with an empty nest, you face another stage of your relationship, but getting back in touch with your spouse doesn't have to be an uphill battle, even if years of stress and parenting have pulled you apart.
Below are some tips to help you rebuild your relationship:
The days of long talks with your spouse about your day, your future, or even nothing at all may be a distant memory but they're not gone for good. Make it a priority to talk everyday about how you're feeling, what your plans are, and any issues in your relationship. Reaffirm your commitment, love, and attraction to your spouse through gestures and words. Communicate with each other like friends and nurture the friendship within your relationship.
Take a second honeymoon, plan a weekend get-away, or visit a place you've always wanted to see. If travel is not an option for you, be creative! Turn off the phone, unplug the computer, disconnect the door bell, and make your home a personal vacation destination. It doesn't matter where you go just as long as you schedule some time to be together, away from the daily grind, to focus on each other.
Pursue a Hobby Together
Talk with your spouse about what you both like to do. Maybe you're interested in restarting a hobby you gave up when the kids were born, or maybe you have something new in mind you've always wanted to try. Take a dance class, start gardening, or volunteer in your community. Being able to see your spouse in a different light will build upon the attraction and affection you have for each other. The most important thing is that you spend time together.
Enroll in a Marriage Class
The first year without kids can be one of the most stressful times in a couple's relationship. A marriage class or seminar can get you through that difficult time by helping you to put each other first, accept your spouse for who they are, and learn to see each other as partners again.
Go on a Date
Remember the days when you could go out to dinner or catch a movie on a whim? Well, those days are back. Schedule a regular date night---either on the town or at home---and stick to it. Enjoy each other's company and the chance to talk, uninterrupted, about whatever's on your mind.
Bring Back Romance
If it's been a while since you and your spouse were intimate, make some time for the two of you to reconnect. Sex is important to keeping a relationship intimate, and now that you don't have to worry about interruptions from the kids you can spend more quality time together.
Enjoy a romantic evening at home and see where things lead or visit a hotel room after your date. Intimacy comes in many forms. The important thing is that the two of you connect on a deep, sensual, and emotional level. Stop waiting for your partner to make the first move. Initiate the love and affection you both desire.
Don't feel the need to jump into a new hobby or house remodeling project the minute the kids are out the door. You and your spouse have had a full schedule for a while. Now is the time to sit back and enjoy a slower pace of life together.