Avoiding Empty Nest Syndrome

August 2, 2008

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. 🙂  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. 

Song of Solomon 116-17: Behold, thou [art] fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed [is] green.  The beams of our house [are] cedar, [and] our rafters of fir.

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5 Responses to “Avoiding Empty Nest Syndrome”

  1. Lynn C. Says:

    Great blog, Debbie! I love the part of independant adults you raise up! That is a great accomplishment. Caroline is a wonderful girl, & I dont’ really know the other children of yours, but she is adorable! Good job on raising her up in the way she should go…lol, see you soon!

  2. Eileen Says:

    So well put! My daughter will leave for college in two weeks. Her brother has already made the transition. For the first time in 21 years, I will no longer have daily responsibilities for children. This will be quite an unusual feeling for me. However, I am thrilled for her as she begins her new journey, and I eagerly anticipate my son’s next transition into adulthood. This is what I have prepare them for.

  3. Barbara Says:

    I love the way you think – great blog!!! I hope to raise my daughter to be strong and independent too. You’re a great role model. 🙂

  4. Linda Says:

    My children are all grown now with children of their own. I can remember when Alan left home. Somehow, I thought, “what will I do with my life now”? All I had ever known was being a wife and mother. Real depression set in. Even though Joe and I always spent special time together, I felt lost. Looking back now, I see how silly I was. Life has been wonderful. God will always have another purpose for you.

  5. Dusty Takle Says:

    I actually read this post last night on my iPhone. Made me miss my husband – but, in the oh so good way. We try to make time for just us, but it can be difficult in the middle of a life with little ones. Thanks for reminding me why those times are sooooo important.


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