My dear one and I are of an age where we are rapidly approaching the “empty nest” time of life.¬† Or, so we would like to believe. ūüôā¬† We are on our fourth teenager, and her entry into high school¬†starts in two days.¬† Our household itself is¬†still large.¬† Basically, there are seven of us under one roof; ten, if you count the dogs.¬† I have three in college, one of whom isn’t ours, and now one in high school.¬† Those three will graduate by or before the youngest hits college, and well, that puts us in countdown mode.¬†¬†As the mother of four children who range from 14 to 29, this has been a long time coming.¬†

For two days, we have had an empty nest trial run.¬† All of our children are out-of-town for various reasons. ¬†It’s so quiet.¬†

I love it.

Now, don’t get me wrong.¬† I also love it when they all gather here to swim, eat, celebrate, or just hang out.¬† But, I can handle the quiet.¬† My dear one and I are happy to just be in each other’s company.¬† A lot has been written about what couples go through when the last child leaves the nest.¬† I’m sure that it will be an emotional experience for us too.¬† But not of mourning or loss.¬† You see, my goal is to raise independent children.¬† Anything less is a disservice to them.¬† With that goal in mind, while my marriage has involved children, it¬†has never been child-centered.¬† Our relationship with each other as husband and wife has always been the foundation of everything else.¬† Oh, there are times that we’ve been caught up in the hectic schedule of children, but we have always seen our relationship as paramount.¬†

Based on my experience I would say that there are three primary things that you need to have to “empty-nest-proof” your marriage:

1. A spouse that you spend exclusive time with on regular dates or other activities.   

2. To see the goal for your children as independence.  Then, when they hit those milestones, it is your victory too.

3. The ability to live your own life, not your children’s.¬†

So, when my children are out of the nest, I will have done my job.¬† I look forward to the times I will still spend with them and the additional grandchildren that I am expecting to be blessed with through them.¬† But, I also look forward to spending more time with just my dear one.¬†¬†After all, he is my best friend and the love of my life.¬† Read the rest of this entry »