Reigniting the Flame After the Kids Move Out

Flame? What flame? Many of you might be asking that question. After years of parenting, it might just be that your marriage has dwindled down to a simmering ember.

What are some tips for reconnecting once the nest is empty?

  • Talk to one another about what you’re experiencing at this stage in your life. Although kids are supposed to grow up and move away, you might be experiencing it as a loss. Men and women grieve losses differently. Be curious about your partner’s experience and feelings.
  • Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do and share it with your partner. Now’s a good time to go out and experience some of the dreams that kids have kept you from.
  • Set time aside to be together: make a regular date night, plan a weekend away, stay in bed on the weekend.
  • Find a hobby or project you can do together. At this time of life, couples are frequently in a good place to give back to the community. Find a common value and work together to make a difference.
  • Have sex. Sensual and sexual intimacy connects couples at a deep level and releases hormones that help you stay young.
  • Laugh often. Seek ways to introduce humor and frivolity into your relationship.
  • Spend time with friends. Seeing your partner through the eyes of others makes you feel proud to be with him and reminds you of why you’re still together.
  • If you are experiencing deep resentment or an inability to get over painful occurrences in the past, seek marital counseling. Now’s a good time to say goodbye to aspects of your relationship that aren’t working and learn tools to build the relationship that will sustain you through to the end of life.