Christian Empty Nesters: Life After the Kids Have Left
Do you find yourself in that stage of life where the kids have left the house, and you’re getting to know each other again? We put so much time and energy into raising the kids that when they leave, we can find ourselves wondering “what now?”
This can be a disappointing and lonely stage of life. The once bustling house has turned into a quiet house with little activity happening. Before, our house was full of life, and it can now seem dull and boring. We even sometimes feel abandoned and useless. It is helpful to validate and acknowledge the feelings of loss and change. It might be useful to journal and talk about it.
I know for Roy and me the raising of kids was fun and exciting. When the last child left, the house seemed empty and too quiet. It took a period of adjustment. We had to validate and work through the lonely feelings. It’s hard to move forward unless we first acknowledge and understand our grief. We need to allow ourselves to grieve.
Once we have worked through the feelings, how do we bring excitement and joy back to our lives?
Rediscovering Each Other and Strengthening Your Bonds
First, remember and restart the things you used to enjoy before the kids came along. Start going on dates again.
Next, develop new interests together. Try your hand at pickle ball or bocce ball. Enjoy going to the pool and doing water aerobics together. Maybe try some new board games like backgammon or scrabble. Cooking together can be a rewarding experience, too.
Make new friends. Go out of your way to invite neighbors or people you meet over to your house. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just have coffee or appetizers. Don’t expect others to invite you first; don’t be afraid to make the first move.
Try reading a book together and discussing it one chapter at a time.
Get involved in a church and join a small group with similar people. Find ways to serve together such as working in the children’s area or being a greeter.
Volunteer together at the food bank or homeless shelter. You can even go on a mission trip as a couple.
Get out and exercise together. Go on walks in the park. Try hiking or kayaking.
Travel together. You only have to pay for 2 people now! Many couples enjoy going places either by themselves or with friends.
Pray for your adult children together. Pray for the direction their lives are going and any concerns or special requests you may have. And pray for this new stage of life.
You Too Can Find Joy in the Empty Nest Journey
While empty nesting might feel depressing at first, after you have experienced and worked through the feelings, it can be a delightful and enjoyable adventure.