The second half of marriage starts once the kids leave the nest, but this can be a difficult time for many couples. They find they were so caught up in the lives of their children for so many years, they forgot to build their relationship with each other over the passing years. Kid's needs seemed to come before their relationship and over time they drifted apart.
As a mother of three, I understand how this can happen. As mothers we tend to put our children's needs before everything else in our lives, including our spouse. Right?! I remember my dad telling me that if he and my sisters and I were drowning in the ocean, my mom wouldn't think twice to save her girls first. He wasn't criticizing my mom, he was simply sharing the love and protective nature of a mother. He understood and accepted it.
Sometimes as mothers, myself included, we can take that love and protection too far, and this is where the disconnect between you and your spouse can happen. Side note: By no means am I saying that this is the only reason husbands and wives drift apart. Each person plays a role for sure, this is just one example.
Whenever my husband and I would have any struggles, it was usually centered around the kids and many times because I was quick to defend them and in return not support him. This caused hurt feelings and resentment which pushed him away.
After years of doing this, I remembered my dad (oh the wise one) sharing more words of wisdom with me. He said, "Remember, your kids will grow up and move away but you'll be with your husband for the rest of your life." Of course we all know this, but do we really take it to heart and thus, prepare for the second half of our marriage?
Well, if you've found yourself in this predicament, I have some tips for you that will help you reconnect, fall in love all over again and enjoy this new phase in your life.
1. TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST
Rediscover who YOU ARE now that the kids are grown. In order to be able to give to someone else, it's important to love yourself first and find joy every day in your life. If you're not happy, it's hard to show love to others, especially your spouse.
2. BE CURIOUS
Be curious and open yourself up to learning something you've always wanted to learn. Take a class, listen to podcasts, and read more. By doing this you bring something of interest to share into this renewed relationship with your spouse. Instead of talking about the kids, challenge yourself to share something new that you learned.
3. KNOW YOUR SPOUSE'S "LOVE LANGUAGE"
We all have a way we show love and a way we receive love. Knowing what that is for yourself as well as your partner is so important to the health of the relationship. When you understand your partners love language it helps take the guesswork out of your partner’s expectations and needs, and therefore, they feel loved. If this is a new concept, you can learn more about how to identify your Love Languages through this link.
4. BE MORE ADVENTUROUS
This begins with being open to experiencing things you wouldn't normally think to do. Take a walk or an easy bike ride after dinner and share about your day with each other, instead of sitting in front of the tv. You're not only experiencing something different than your norm, you're creating a healthy lifestyle...physically and emotionally. As well, be open to doing things your spouse enjoys even if it's not something you would normally choose. You'll gain serious points with that one! Having an adventurous spirit can bring excitement and youth back to your marriage.
With the right attitude and a willingness to rediscover your relationship, this truly could be the best years of your life.
I wish you all the happiness in your marriage during this new stage in life!!
Nicole Cavey is the Chief Pursuit Officer of Love What's Next. Through her personal journey to uncover what was next for her, she discovered that you can love where you are no matter what stage in life you are in... as long as you know how. Her mission is to show YOU how!