“Because when the kids are grown and gone…”

So much “oh my gosh you HAVE to have a weekly date night” advice is given to young couples on the basis of:

“You don’t want to wake up as strangers when the kids are gone.”

My nest officially emptied out about a week or two ago and it’s really true that there is a new, “it’s just you and me, babe” vibe around here. The people who point out that you’ll want to have a vital, warm relationship with your husband to “come home to” after the kids are grown and gone have put their finger on something quite true.

As it happens, though, we never did the single most important thing these fearmongers say to do in order not to be married to a stranger when the kids are gone.  We didn’t have a weekly date night or even a monthly one.

Yet somehow we are waking up each morning to someone we know.  In fact, we feel a little sheepish about how much fun we’ve been having in our empty nest.  It’s a little like being newlyweds again, setting up housekeeping all over again just for the two of us. We’ve been cleaning out closets and rearranging furniture and putting our hobby stuff in the empty bedrooms. We’ve been enjoying each other’s company a lot.

However did that happen without date nights? (Of course there were SOME along the way….when it worked out, when it wasn’t a stress on the young children.)

Well….we had this joint project that we were both involved in and committed to: we raised our children together. We leaned on each other in the hard times. We had fun together. We took trips as a family together…but we were on those trips too, sharing a wink over the heads of the kids, talking late into the night as we drove where we were going, sharing hopes and dreams.  We discussed everything all the time and conferred together about the kids. We sat together through kids’ recitals and concerts and baseball and basketball practices and games. We brainstormed and prayed together over issues we were worried about.

And now we have the bonds of all those memories–far more of a foundation to move forward into the next season of life than we did when we were first together.  It’s a wonderful time.

About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
This entry was posted in Ezzo/Babywise, Family & Friends, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to “Because when the kids are grown and gone…”

  1. HJ says:

    Beautiful! Thank you! My husband and I are not quite 3 years into this parenting journey, and our hearts were going “EXACTLY!” as we read this post. Such an encouraging reminder when the thought of a long weekend away (ALONE! oh PEACE and SLEEP!) sounds like a little piece of heaven. But I know looking back we wouldn’t trade the (6a.m.) Saturday morning “picnics” (coffee and breakfast on an old blanket !) in the “big bed”. While our children climb all over us, and steal silly kisses, wiggle in between us, slosh our coffee and cause happy (noisey) chaos: joy!

    Congratulations on this new part of your jorney. It looks like a long road from my seat, but I know it’ll be worth it in the end. Enjoy and blessings!

  2. Carol Snider says:

    Love this! MY blog has quite a few posts on this topic as well — my most recent one (http://www.northwestladybug.com/2010/09/dads-nest-is-empty.html) pondering the fact that my husband is having a much harder time with empty nest than I am.


  3. Donna says:

    Beautiful. And good reading for those of us who are still years away from an empty nest.

  4. Becky says:

    Kathy – thank you for speaking on this! We DO like having a date night and spending alone time together. But, we also really enjoy spending time with our little family. And, it’s so hard to find someone that you can trust with your children as well as afford! The cost of a babysitter these days is no small price. Our “date nights” have been about 2 times a year and yet we have friends telling us it has to be weekly and we just say, really? So, it’s wonderful to hear from someone who has been married a long time, struggled with that same weekly date night concept and now has an empty nest and still loves their spouse!

  5. tracyhomer says:

    Also, not having regular date nights, we cherish the 5 minutes we get alone here and there.

  6. Lynn Reed says:

    (…but we were on those trips too, sharing a wink over the heads of the kids, talking late into the night as we drove where we were going, sharing hopes and dreams.)

    I knew intuitively all along we were doing this as well, but it is important to men especially (even though they say all is well) to make that special time anyway!!!

  7. lestermom says:

    We rarely had date nights. Why should we? We were enjoying being home with the kids! If we’d gone out, we would have felt we were missing out on something at home! And lo and behold, when the last one moved out, we still have things to talk about and do together, and we love each other more than ever!

  8. mel says:

    :) this is awesome.

  9. Alana says:

    Beautiful post! Thank you! We used to think we had to have a special date night but it was always such a hassle. Now that all our kids are in school we spend Fridays together and have a nice slow paced day. But when our kids are home we like to all be together. I have no worries that we willl be happy empty nesters. ;-)

  10. Heidi says:

    Hi, Kathy! Love this post. Thank you for encouraging my husband and I–married happily for 7 years and loving our little girl for the past 2. She’s a joy to us, and we spend ample amounts of family time together and don’t have regular date nights, but still reconnect daily. This is so counter to what my friends tell me these days, but we are still one of the “happiest” families we know. :)

  11. Lori Ann says:

    This is so uplifting for those of us newer as Mamas. Thank you!!

  12. Pingback: Husband vs. Children? | Dare to Disciple

  13. Jessie says:

    Thank you for this! As much as my husband and I would enjoy a break from the 2-year-old every now and then, we really don’t feel like we’re missing out on each other. We do plenty of talking and joking and working things out, with her in the room or while she’s asleep. I think we’re gonna be just fine. :-)

  14. Pingback: KIOS: Parenting, Part 9: Staying Close « Salmon and Souvlaki

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think it is most important to stay connected…those winks, hand holding…making love during the kids napping…flirting!! Those are the things that keep you going. I have a built in babysitter now (my oldest is almost 17) and we do go out on occasion but the hubs and I dated for 4 years, went abroad and did not have kids until our thirties…we are more than content to just stay home. Kudos for making it until the empty nest. I will be almost 60 when my nest is empty…not rushing it!

  16. Anonymous says:

    To all the women “voicing” their opinion here…Remember- to each his own on this subject. If couples need and can afford weekly “date nights” then go for it and enjoy it. If other couples feel like they don’t need it…then good for you! Every person is different and has different needs. Enjoy life because tomorrow is gone and will never return. Do what is best for you and your family.

  17. As a mama of six with two grown and married, two teens, one 1st grader, and a toddler, I’m right in the midst of that ‘joint project’ you wrote about so eloquently, and, like you, we don’t do regular date nights. But we’re in this thing TOGETHER and that’s the best kind of togetherness you can get! Thanks for sharing! :)

  18. Anonymous says:

    Did you ever think, “We’re strangers. Roommates. It may not last”? It’d be reassuring to know doubts can creep in sometimes, yet a marriage can still survive three+ decades…. We’ve been married 5 years and are expecting our second child and there’s some stress.

  19. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for this! It speaks so much of what I believe in too. I’ve never felt the need to get away from the kids in order to connect with my husband. We love each other deeply! And we connect over so much more than just a couple of hours away from the kids each week, or month, or whatever. For us it’s actually more like date night happens about once every couple of years. :) But it’s just not a priority for us. I also feel like we’ve all grown together as a family and a team, rather than him and I against them as well. We get the kiddos to sleep at night and I scoot the baby over in our bed and snuggle up next to him or watch a movie together or just talk, til she wakes up needing to nurse. :) We love doing thing together as a family and I think that’s really important too. Especially for my husband and the kids’ relationships because he’s gone for work so much, it’s nice to be able to do things together. These precious years with our children are fleeting! They’ll be gone and out of the house before we can even believe it! In the meantime, 15 years of marriage and still falling more in love with my husband each passing year!

  20. Pingback: Day 15: Busyness, Ministry, and The Myth of Quality Time | The fragrance of marriage!

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