Redefine yourselves as woman, man, wife, husband

Published 2:07 pm Saturday, February 11, 2017

by Dr. Carletta N. Perry

Q. Our kids are all grown up. Can you help me and my husband find our way back to each other?

A. Hello. Thank you for writing to me. Congratulations on reaching the milestone of raising your children to reach adulthood. That accomplishment should be celebrated and you both should be very proud.

The fact that you are asking me how to help you and your husband find your way back to one another tells me you are ready to let your children be adults.
I also congratulate you on holding your marriage together while raising children. Research shows that marriage is a major life event and so is parenthood. To embark on both, can create a major onset of stress, even if it is good stress. This can often make individuals feel like they are barely making it through life and unable to give 100 percent to either the marriage or the children. However, as most will agree, you do the best that you can with love, effort, and I believe you must learn to be the best spouse and parent that you can be.

I also congratulate you on this as some parents are afraid to let go of their children for fear that they will not be needed anymore and some are unable to face the quiet that is present when children aren’t around.

However, you seem to be ready to embark on a new journey so here are my thoughts. Some would call what you are going through the Empty Nest Syndrome or the Empty Nest Stage. Well, instead of grieving your children leaving home, I want you and your husband to celebrate that accomplishment. I want you and your husband to see this as an opportunity to date one another, to fall in love again, to get to know the new, wiser, and mature person you married all those years ago.

Life may add some years to our looks and make us feel like we are hot stuff with our fancy titles and accomplishments, but to the one you love, you are just that girl next door.

Lay down the many roles and expectations you have picked up along the way and redefine yourself as a woman, as a man, as husband and wife, as partners and as friends. Have fun together doing nothing, sleep in or get a hotel room for the night, watch television or go to the movies, make lunch dates or dinner dates to try new restaurants, go to an amusement park (even if you only get on the kid rides or walk around), take a class together, or attend a marriage retreat. Talk and listen to one another’s goals, make new goals as a couple, don’t underestimate words and displays of affection, exchange cards just because, and reminisce about fun times in your courtship and marriage.

Lastly, make the person you love feel special every day and celebrate special dates like Valentine’s Day, birthdays and anniversaries because they are an opportunity to celebrate one another and show appreciation for the gifts you are to one another.

Whatever you do, always appreciate the one you love and know that everyone wants to be treated as though they are special.

CARLETTA N. PERRY is a doctor of psychology, author, professor, life coach, TV/radio host and motivational speaker. Submit your questions for this feature at or call 716-HEAL (4325).