With summer coming to an end, this can be an emotional time for parents of college bound children. Instead of worrying about what life will be like without children at home, I encourage couples to view this time to rekindle their marriage. Though it’s normal to feel bittersweet, here are some benefits of being an empty nester.
Date Nights. No more kid-friendly environment needed. You and your spouse can go to any restaurant, venue, concert or event and not have to worry about whether it’s appropriate for the kids, will they like the food, or will they have fun. You and your spouse only need to worry about each other. Take the time to catch up with your spouse and hear about their day.
Travel. You no longer have to plan your vacations around summer, spring break, and winter holidays. Now you and your spouse can take the vacation you have been waiting for without working around the kid’s school schedule. Travel abroad, go see an old friend. The possibilities are endless.
Volunteer. No reason to not give back. “Now, what am I going to do with all my spare time?” Find an organization, community or corporation you’re passionate about and give back. Spend a day at church or at a homeless shelter. Help stock the local food pantry. Giving back is rewarding for both you, your spouse, and the community you are helping.
Reconnect with Spouse. No more excuses. Take this time to focus on your spouse and rekindle your relationship. Start flirting again, making time for one another and planning things together. Go on a spontaneous walk through your neighborhood. Go out to dinner or see a movie. Relearn how to interact together.
JMV Therapy, N.A., jakevoelker.com, N.A., http://www.jakevoelker.com/interesting-articles/
Establish New Hobbies. No more having to drive the kids around, attend sport events, and revolve your schedule around theirs. It is all about you and your spouse again. Take this time to focus on yourself and what you enjoy. Take a cooking class or a yoga class together. Establish what things you both like to do together and on your own.
This Busy Life, Empty Nest: Recipes, thisbusylife.com, 20 Sept 2012. http://www.thisbusylife.com/2012/09/20/empty-nest-recipes/
Regain Independence. No more excuses about not having time for yourself or your spouse. Start taking care of yourself, doing things for yourself and focusing on what you want in life. The workout class you stopped going to, start going again. The book you stopped reading last year, pick it back up again. There is no excuse to not do what you want to do.
If you and/or your spouse need someone to talk to during this transition, The Summit Counseling Center has couples’ therapists at both our Main and Satellite locations. To schedule an appointment or for more information call 678-893-5300 or visit us at www.summitcounseling.org.