My hubby gathers the oatmeal, wheat flour, and buttermilk as he prepares our favorite Buttermilk Oatmeal Pancakes topped with blueberries. It’s our Friday morning routine as he moves with precision in the kitchen. He’s tidy and meticulous with each step. He cleans each dirty dish and wipes the counter as he goes. It’s the complete opposite of how I cook. I prefer messy, unmeasured, and free! We balance each other out well. I lounge on the sofa as he brings me another cup of Caribou coffee. I grin and smile as he bends down for a kiss. “You’re my favorite,” he whispers. The tension eases from my shoulders as I relax into our quiet Friday morning routine. He doesn’t have to make me breakfast, but he wants to do it. About 10 years ago, he felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to serve me and this is one way he does it best. I spent the first 25 years of our marriage serving him and our five kids and I feel completely loved when he dotes on me like this. It’s not fancy or fussy. The simple act of serving fills me. It’s the intentionality behind it that gets me. He thinks of me and as he moves beyond himself. I want to do the same for him. It’s a sweet season in our beautiful empty nest.
3 Ways to Cultivate Connection with Your Spouse in the Empty Nest
I cherish this empty nest season with my husband. As we shift our focus from our children, we discover new ways to connect. Slow Friday mornings, daily walks, and praying together have increased our intimacy in this transition. We don’t have to fear our empty nest when we’ve cultivated connection with our spouse. The bravest step we can take is to start doing life together. Instead of focusing on all the tasks we have separately, it’s beneficial to create space for each other and our shared interests. God has a precious promise is Psalm 133:1, “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” Let’s substitute husbands and wives for brothers and see what we find. Our Creator says it is good for spouses to live in harmony. We live in tranquility as we care for each other and move in the same direction, towards each other and God. God says it is excellent and delightful. As God showers our union with love, He rekindles the devotion we have for one another. How about you? Are you feeling disconnected from your spouse now that the kids have moved out? Do you sense distance in your relationship and you’d like to do something about it? Let’s look at three ways we can connect with our spouse in the empty-nest.
1. Remember why you chose each other.
As the pressure of life and family consume us, we end up in a pattern of fault-finding instead of caring for our mate. This season is the perfect time to reminisce about the early days. Share the stories from when your love was new. Talk about what first attracted you to each other, then choose to see the good. What we focus on expands, so when we see the gifts in our spouse, we fall in love all over again.
2. Connect in simple ways.
Finding connection does not have to involve grand gestures, like expensive vacations or weekends away. Instead find ways in your everyday, ordinary life to reconnect. Send each other texts, or call each other during the work day. Clean the house or cook dinner together. Sit on the porch and enjoy your morning coffee. Go for a daily walk together. Play a game or read your books snuggled up side-by-side on the couch. These actions are simple and they communicate, “I see you and I want to be near you.”
3. Pray together.
Praying with your spouse is the ultimate act of intimacy and it might feel a little intimidating at first but with practice you can get comfortable. Praying together helps you focus on God’s good work in your marriage and family. Remember, prayer is simply a conversation with God. As you join hands, and humbly submit to God through prayer, you’ll feel a beautiful bond with your mate. There’s no way you can remain upset with a person you’re praying with because God is in your midst. Even when you feel disconnected with your spouse in your empty nest, there are three simple ways to remind yourself why you chose one another in the first place. As we remember what we love most about each other, connect in simple ways, and pray together, we will begin to feel more connected in this transitional season of your marriage. We are free to enjoy our beautiful empty nest.