Relationship Coach Matt Townsend outlines five ideas to help adapt to having children out of the house and going back to just you and your spouse.
1. “Marriage Time” is not “Family Time”
• That sounds like blasphemy but marriages don’t grow accidentally. Empty nestors suffer because the marriage has been neglected.
• You’ve trained your kids to think they’re more important than the marriage…Don’t make that mistake again.
• Get Busy- Join clubs, dinner groups, find friends with similar hobbies
• Take classes together
• Learn to Say “no”
• Do stuff together
• Plan time to be with each other.
• Invest time in classes that reconnect you.
Schedule tending time for your grandkids well ahead of time
2. Focus on What Works and Build From There
• Most focus on what is broken and getting good at what is broken usually keeps us broken
• Focus on what is good.
• Past, Present and Future
• What did you used to do back when you were most happy together.
o Activities, hobbies, walks, dates, travel
3. Learn To Really Talk To Each Other
• In my workshops, I’ve learned we don’t even know how to connect with one another any more.
• You’ve had many years of bad habits of pursuing and withdrawing from conversations.
• I believe everything is created through interaction.
• If we interact negatively with each other we feel negative, but if we don’t interact at all what do we feel? Probably nothing.
• Take classes, stretch your comfort level
• There are great books that have 300 questions for couples…get the book and start talking about the answers together.
• You used to be able to talk to everyone else but now you have no one else to talk to.
• Get some talking chairs and sit and face each other and talk for 20 minutes a day. Positive and connecting.
4. Formalize Some Loving Rituals
• Research shows the strongest couples are the ones who have formalized rituals or consistent loving traditions.
• Loving traditions to connect
• Hello’s and goodbyes, cuddling, date nights, favorite shows, gardening, etc.
• Rituals- I recommend 5 a day 2 a week and 2 a month.
• Renew Romance…men need 3 times more touch than women do and women yearn for intimacy with their partner.
5. Create a New Shared Vision
• What do you want your relationship to look like in 10, 20 and thirty years from now.
• How do you want to impact the world together.
• How do you want to both be remembered?
• What is the most important thing you can both do right now to dramatically improve your marriage?
• Marriage focused rather than family focused.
• Do it!
Matt Townsend is relationship coach with Marriage Matters, where he offers help and workshops for marriage and families. You can contact him through his website at www.marriagemattersutah.com