What is love? It’s a fleeting emotion that is very hard to define and comes in waves. Sometimes we feel very close to our romantic partner and sometimes not so much, right? Love is made up of gratitude, pride for your partner’s accomplishments, serenity, and a deep appreciation of your partner’s good points. After years of being together and weathering the storms of life, it is important to intentionally nurture your empty nest relationship.
It feels all-consuming, passionate, and downright rosy in the early part of our relationship with our partner. Then when the first flush of passion has worn off, we can see that we settle into a much more solid relationship built around support, comfort, and joy in the small moments.
We have to be intentional in our empty nest relationship
We have to be intentional about nurturing our long-term relationship, though. Just as we must nurture our children to feel safe and secure, we also need to nurture our romantic relationships. Not to say that your partner needs the same attention as your toddler, definitely not, but just as you benefit from nurturing your own needs, your romantic relationship requires attention too. It could benefit from increasing the emotional intimacy between you.
What brings you joy as empty nesters?
What brings you joy as a couple? What do you like to do together? What does your partner enjoy doing with you that perhaps you haven’t got the same passion for, but because it makes them happy, you can find common ground so you can both enjoy the activity?
Make time for eachother
Time alone together, whatever age your children are, is essential.
As newborns, this might have looked like marking an evening at home as a special time together to get a takeaway and snuggle up with a movie. As the kids get older, you start to feel comfortable with leaving them with a babysitter and enjoying a night out.
When my girls were old enough to enjoy a week’s residential summer camp; Camp Orkila on beautiful Orcas Island WA, we took the opportunity each year to have a vacation together ourselves. When they grow older, and they start to get closer to leaving for college or moving into their own place, having a weekend or a few days away on your own is a luxury not to be missed.
Then as empty nesters in this challenging transition time but with even more freedom to enjoy your time together, perhaps it’s time to bring something off the back burner that you enjoyed doing together pre-kids or perhaps trying something new.
But what if you have not nurtured your relationship up to this point? You may have lost sight of your own needs, both individually and as a couple in favor of devoting your time to your children?
Now your kids are leading their own lives and don’t need you as much as they used to, you may be left looking at your partner and thinking, now what? What does it look like to just be together on our own?
Do we even know what we want or who we are?
Your empty nest relationship can flourish again
If you can both still see the value in your relationship and are committed to nurturing it, it can flourish again. Not overnight, it will take work, but if you are motivated, you can be successful. After all, you have the time to do it now.
We get so bogged down with the mundane tasks in life that we forget what’s important- personal deep, meaningful relationships. Typically, at midlife, we start to realize this. Having the big house and all the ‘things’ haven’t made us happy, and time with friends and family brings us more joy.
Time for a little reflection…
Here are some questions you both might like to start reflecting on which will be a start to helping your empty nest relationship flourish. Please choose one or two that appeal to you and take your time with them.
Ponder them deeply.
Then set some time aside that you can spend together and discuss them. Don’t rush it; it’s time for exploration.
- What do I appreciate most about my partner?
- What achievements are you most proud of for yourself?
- What achievements are you most proud of for your partner?
- What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
- What do you consider to be your partner’s greatest strengths?
- What are your hopes and dreams for your future together?
- What are your individual hopes and dreams?
- How can you come together to make these happen for you as a couple and as an individual?
If you would like to delve deeper into ways to nurture your relationship to strengthen it to have a fulfilling future together, connect with me and let’s talk about how I can help.