COLUMN: Navigating the empty nest: Rekindling your marriage

Published 4:00 pm Monday, July 1, 2024

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By Dr. Carletta Artis
Your Turn

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

A: Congratulations on reaching the milestone of raising your children to reach adulthood. That accomplishment should be celebrated, and you both should be very proud. 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. Embarking 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% 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. The fact that you are asking me how to help you and your wife find your way back to one another tells me you are ready to let your children be adults. 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 wife to celebrate that accomplishment. I want you and your wife to see this as an opportunity to date one another, fall in love again, and 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 boy next door. Lay down the many roles and expectations you have picked up along the way and redefine yourself as a man, as a spouse, as a partner, and as friend. 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 attend the shows or enjoy sightseeing), 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 with 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.

CHANGE YOUR LIFE STARTING TODAY! Unleash your greatness. Love the life you lead. Watch “It’s Life Changing with Dr. Carletta Artis” Sundays 11:30 p.m. on SKY4 and on YouTube. Email your own questions for this feature to