Janine: I remember when we had three children under the age of 5. One thing I fantasized about was being able to leave the house someday WITHOUT a diaper bag. I didn't know if that day would ever come. In the midst of the wild and crazy parenting years, I couldn't imagine what life would be like after kids. Before we knew it...our youngest child went off to college.
Ken: We fought the same uphill battle as most parents: running from practices to games to music concerts. We were two taxi cabs running in different directions, wishing we could just sit and eat a meal as a family. There was no time for "us" as a couple. We'd heard statistics warning how many people end up divorcing after their kids leave home, and decided we'd do whatever we could to prevent becoming one of those statistics. We re-evaluated and made some changes to keep our relationship a priority. (Read more here: We Come First.)
We recently looked up the statistics on divorce among Empty Nesters. We found these numbers from the Pew Research Center: "Among U.S. adults ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990's. Among those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate has roughly tripled since 1990." So that's the doom and gloom we all want to avoid.
On a more positive note, working and planning for the empty nest not only helps us stay married, but sets us up to be best friends who enjoy each others company. Here are some highlights we've had in the last 4 years since our nest became empty:
2. Less Laundry - which adds to the free time in #1.
3. Lower Grocery Bills - which leaves more money to go out to eat together (at restaurants where we can actually SIT down to order our food).
4. Grandkids - we have one so far. What a delight (Yes...We have pictures! 😉)
5. Travel - When we want to travel, it's SO much easier to pick up and go. Or, we can stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet. Read more here: Lessons Learned from Our Vagabond Life.
The list could go on, but you get the picture. Invest the time. Work on your communication. Be intentional about loving your spouse. You will be paid dividends in the future (which will be here before you know it). The best could be yet to come!