The Today Show, and author Bela Ghandi, published a short article a couple of days ago on some common challenges married couples are likely to face when all of the kids have left the nest. Our mission is to “think beyond the nest,” so it only makes sense for us to share these great tips. You can link to the actual article here, but here are their tips with a few of our comments added for a bit of extra flavor!
Talk With Each Other: This seems obvious, but it’s not always easy to do, especially if you spent a good chunk of the past twenty years talking about your kids, talking with kids, or taking about your kids with other parents. Whew! When the children are gone, what is there to talk about? Lailan is a great conversationalist. I probably struggle a bit more in this category, but overall we are finding it fun and refreshing to talk about lots of topics. “Are you worried about North Korea?” “Do we pray enough together?” “Did you see that Ghandi article on empty nesters?” Don’t worry Ryan and Kai – we still talk plenty about you guys!
Reconnect: (LAILAN): I think many of us today struggle with technology, smart phones, and social media over-usage. I know I am completely guilty of this! When I saw this card, I immediately thought how funny it was, and yet at the same time, I also got a little sad. I think Phil and I really need to watch our phone/computer usage when we’re together.
Get Physical – And Not Just in Bed: I’m not totally tracking with the point they make in the article, but OK OK, physical activity outside of the bedroom is cool. Haha. Let’s see, we’ve been hiking more than we ever did before. For us, we love walking the golf course (the way the game was intended to be played in our humble opinion – at least while we can). We ride bikes from time to time. Maybe there’s some passion–building in hauling mulch bags around the yard. I’m not feeling that! Let’s get back to golf and hiking!(LAILAN) And yes, I love holding hands!:)
Focus on the Positive: It’s creepy how things happen. The article mentions going back and looking at wedding photos to help remember the excitement and positivity from the early days. Really? We just pulled out our wedding album literally a week ago. Too weird! We had a blast talking, laughing, and remembering the special moments of that very special day for us.
(LAILAN) And, I’ll never forget the flowers Phil sent me the day we became empty nesters with a note attached saying, “back to where it all began.”
Do Something New: Well, we started a blog! That’s definitely something new and it also helps with #1, #2, #3 and #4. Lailan has taken up golf, and I’m learning Garage Band to do a little recording for the Bressler Band. I think we’re just getting warmed up!
We hope we never take our marriage for granted. It is work, but a good work. Like any marriage, we definitely have our ups and downs, but after twenty-nine years, we’re still very focused on the positive and keeping our marriage strong for at least another twenty-nine years!:)
We’d love to hear your empty-nester marriage tips! Please share!