How can we prepare for an empty nest?

Dear Gigi,
As the time gets closer for our twin teens to leave home, I’m starting to get a little nervous about life without them.  Our lives have been devoted to their well-being, which has left little time for the relationship between my husband and me. Is there anything we can do to ease our way into this new season of life?

Many face the prospect of the empty nest with fear and trepidation.  To this point, life has revolved around children and homework and sports and orthodontist visits and driving practice and shopping and all the things that define parenthood.  But as the high school years start to wind down, parents are left with the realization that it will all soon be over, and it will just be the two of them. For some, that is a terrifying thought.  All those years parenting left little time for nurturing their relationship and then, all they have is the other.

There are several things that can happen at this point.  Couples can individually pursue the interests that have been on hold through the child raising years and effectually go their own separate ways.  Or, they can work to remember and reestablish the love that brought them together in the first place.

Here’s what we do.

We serve together at church in welcoming and in our community food bank.  We eat out regularly, work side-by-side doing household chores, and make a point of running errands together. We are pretty equally matched in mini-putt and enjoy a game together every now and then. We talk every day and pray together at night. We are intentional about the time we spend together, and if we don’t for a day or two, we really miss it.

Flyboy is an avid woodworker and he enjoys being in his workshop.  I spend time writing and working on family genealogy.  We each spend time periodically with friends. We enjoy a healthy balance of on-our-own and together time.

For you, I’d suggest that even now, before the twins have left the nest, start doing some of the normal day-to-day tasks together.  Does your husband need something from the hardware store? Go along and stop for a latte along the way.  Whenever you can find a reason to steal away together, take it! If you’ve been long on busy-ness and short on conversation, look for things to talk about: graduation parties, current events, hopes and fears, or vacation plans. Share memories and celebrate every success.

Flyboy is my very best friend, but we didn’t magically end up here.  It’s taken many years of working through challenging differences and coming together when life tried to tear us apart. I’m praying the same for you.


It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps. — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a (The Message)

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