Ode to Empty Nesters

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornThat's me. A sort of empty nester. I now sometimes have my dad staying with me along with one of my adult daughters. Parents of younger children often dream about this time when they will be empty nesters. The kids will be out of the house and it will just be the two of them again.

For some parents that idea might be a frightening thought. Some couples have invested their entire life in the activities and lives of their children and they don't know what to talk about or how to act when it is just the two of them. I'm thankful that Jane and I have always built in time for ourselves throughout our marriage relationship so that we are comfortable spending time together without the kids.

For those of you who are at that stage or will be in the next l0 years, my ode to you today is simply to say, "make sure you invest in each other and make sure your kids see it." Try and think back to when you first met your spouse. What attracted you to them? What kind of activities did you do together? Maybe there is something you enjoyed before that you can take a renewed interest in again. If not, start fresh and together develop a "bucket list" of all the things you've always wanted to do. Then see how many items you can complete and cross off the list. It can be as simple as learning to play a new card game or as difficult as running a 5K. The idea is to tackle the items on the list together.

It is also important that you don't spend all of your "alone time" talking about the kids. I can remember early on when our kids were young. Jane and I would finally get away for a date night and we found ourselves talking about the kids all night. We quickly thought to ourselves, "Whoa, we gotta have more of a life than just our kids." From that point on we made sure to find hobbies and interests that we could share together.

It's important that your kids see you enjoying each other as a couple for a number of reasons. One is that you are modeling a good relationship for them. They learn from your example that a marriage for life is built on a foundation of friendship, respect and fun.

A second reason is so that they don't ever feel pressure that your marital contentment is based on their lives. Children should never feel guilty for wanting to be independent. You should support them if they decide to move to another city or state and you should not get upset if they can't make it over for dinner one night. If they sense that your relationship revolves around their plans, they will feel awkward when they can't spend time with you. On the other hand, if they see that as a couple you have a strong relationship in spite of them, they will be grateful and probably more willing to get involved in a relationship of their own.

So make sure as a couple you develop your relationship by seeking out friendships, pursuing similar interests and investing in each other so that when your days of the children being gone are here, you are prepared and ready to enjoy an empty nest!
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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