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.