By: Ronda Nissley, Co Director
Ahhhh, February- a month of ROMANCE. Each week in February we're discussing the seasons of romance in marriage. After visiting the pre-marital, honeymoon, and "with kids at home," seasons, this week we're ready to find out what happens romantically after the kids leave home! Next week, we’ll finish with the golden years.
Romance…. When the kids leave home
We’ve seen it many times. Kids go off to college, they move out and start their own lives. What was once a flurry of daily activity that centered around the children has now ceased. The days of shuttling kids to school; attending sporting events; washing mountains of laundry; re-stocking the refrigerator and pantry (daily); de-cluttering dropped book bags and coaching our children through life’s challenges eventually do come to an end.
Suddenly, parents find themselves alone again with the realization that they hardly know, let alone like their partner anymore. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Romance and connection in the “empty nest” years are possible! Ideally, planning for this season starts well before the last child leaves home. Regular date nights, intentional daily connections, and weekend getaways can and should continue through those child-rearing years. Those that do this find the transition to the “empty nest” years relatively seamless if not downright exhilarating!
Romance can be rekindled in these years as the time and money directed towards the children can now be used to enrich the couple relationship. Find things you enjoy doing together! Some of the things Lavern and I have enjoyed in our empty nest years are:
In every season, romance takes intentionality and creativity. If we continue to prioritize and invest in our marriage throughout our lives, the payoff is well worth it.
Point of reflection: What can I do today in my current season of life to enhance romance and connection with my spouse?
Are you in a difficult season of marriage? Encompass Connection Center helps couples learn how to resolve issues and create fulfilling, productive relationships. For many couples, those issues can stem from a lack of participation. Just like any problem, though, participation issues can be fixed. We offer a free relationship assessment to determine your relationship’s strengths and potential threats. For more help, look into our RINGS Experience, which includes marriage strengthening exercises and a coaching model to help build real intimacy and growth skills.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.