You may have even spent all those years looking forward to the day when the kids were finally grown and out of the house. So why does it suddenly seem like you barely know the person you’re married to?
You may feel like you’re you’re waking up to a virtual stranger every day. The good news is that this strange adjustment period is temporary and fixable. As long as you make efforts to renew your relationship.
Here’s how to start.
Get to Know Each Other Again
It’s easy to assume that you already know your spouse when you’ve been married for so many years. But people change and grow over time, as do their opinions and goals. Although your spouse still has the comfortable familiarity of having been your partner for so long, there are still lots of new things to learn about each other. Take time for heart-to-heart talks and get to know each other all over again.
Embrace Your Freedom
Remember when you were first dating? When you could decide on a whim to go to a movie or just go out and grab a beer after dinner? All of that changed once kids came into the picture. You had to accommodate babysitters and busy family schedules. (To say nothing of the fact that it’s a lot more expensive to take a whole family to a movie).
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you have to stay home every night just because you’re older and are less interested in the party lifestyle. You have the freedom to pick up and go whenever you feel like it: embrace it!
Take Up a New Hobby Together
Your kids were one of the main interests you shared for decades. (Who doesn’t remember going out for date night, only to spend the whole night talking about the kids?) While your kids will always be important, as adults they won’t be as central to your thoughts and activities.
Now is a good time for you and your spouse to pursue a new common hobby or interest together. Some couples choose to become involved with a community organization. Others take up gourmet cooking or join golf leagues. The important thing is not what you do, but that you actively renew your relationship by doing something together.
Bring Back the Romance
You may not feel as energetic as you did in the early years of your marriage and you may be more self-conscious about showing off your body. But that doesn’t mean your sex life is over. Physical intimacy is still a vital part of keeping a relationship strong.
Now is a great time to re-invest in your partner. You and your spouse can rediscover a natural pace for enjoying each other without the worries of interruptions from kids.
Try a romantic candlelight dinner at home or book a weekend getaway at a hotel. It’s important to revive your marriage in the bedroom, too.
Go A Little Crazy—In a Good Way
Do you think that doing something spontaneous and crazy is a young person’s game? No way! Just because the kids are grown doesn’t mean you have to stay home and knit sweaters or watch TV.
You could take advantage of this time to do something you never felt free to do before. Maybe you want to go backpacking around Europe or join a reef band and play at local bars.
Once the kids are out of the house, it is a perfect time to renew your relationship and start your second act. With your spouse at your side.