Ray and I have been married for 34 years. It was just the two for us for four years and then for roughly 26 plus years we were raising our children. What wonderful and busy years those were with the kids home. As I look back on our journey together as a couple with kids I am reminded of many date nights, couch time (no it’s not what you think) and weekends or weeks away with just the two of us. I am really grateful for mentor’s, respected marriage coaches, friends/family who took care of our babies, that encouraged us to get away and to make our time together a number one priority.
There was still a learning curve for us as our last one flew the coop. I got a retail job immediately as my pink slip was given and my old job had come to an end. Ray was still working and we would meet after our jobs for dinner like kids on our own for the first time. As a good friend who had gone before us said, “I was ready to run around the house naked and she was sad her job (day to day parenting/care) was over.” Cue the embarrassing laughter, it’s true! Ray had to learn to be sensitive to my new, major career change and I had to make sure that I was living in the present, being present with him and this new time.
A few years after the kids were on their own, Ray retired. I was so proud of him, retired at 54. His mantra for retirement was get the house paid off, have a good retirement and savings built up and have the kid’s college paid for…we did it! I definitely want to be sensitive to others who have not been able to do this as early, we are really grateful and do not take it for granted. Talk about a new transition! He was home every day and all day. My first comment when he told me it would work for him to retire was, “don’t mess with my schedule.” I must admit I was pleasantly surprised, it was like a honeymoon period. Ray was enjoying counseling others with their finances, leading our church small group, picking up golfing again. I continued mentoring at my church and volunteering at our favorite non- profit. Our weeks were busy and full of purpose. Then came summer! I have always struggled with the still and no schedule of summer. Ray had not experienced it for 25 plus years. We really struggled in our marriage after the 6 months of bliss. I was annoyed with him as he was trying to find purpose after his volunteerism broke for the summer and he was in a crisis. I wasn’t used to him being home more and that annoyed me, everything annoyed me. We were on a “crazy cycle” for arguing and unhappiness.
Our “Together Again” wasn’t working out as we expected. What did we do? We worked hard on our relationship. We sought out good friends who had gone before us and relied on our faith in God to get us through. The corner turned after a few months of working hard. A few resources that we used to help were Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerich. We watched the video series together. Super helpful! What we learned from that series was the we both have goodwill towards one another. Believe it or not we weren’t waking up each morning with the purpose of making each other mad. We learned to enjoy each other’s differences and to remember that we are very different, and that our covenant with God in marriage was forever.
We met with a few couples and just asked questions of what they did to get through the hump. A wonderful friend and mentor of mine told me that she and her husband’s best days were when they left in the morning to do their hobbies, serving or other tasks and then got back together in the afternoon. They had fun stories to share and common prayers to pray for others in need. This truly took us on a new course. Ray met with his friend Steve Wood several times and gleaned great idea and truth from him. Steve will be featured next and you don’t want to miss it!
I truly believe that grace of God, foremost, and the intentionality of being alone together during the busy years have lead us to this good time in our life. The last three years, although with highs and low, has been our best. I have enjoyed reacquainting with Ray on so many levels. He is truly my best friend and the joy that we are sharing together now is incredible. A few questions to keep in mind on this new journey. We would also love for you to share your ideas, too.
· What will you do with your time together?
· What are your dreams?
· What projects can you do together?
· How can you serve together?
· Are you attending church? Remember spiritual health is important too.
· Do you exercise together?
· What individual and couple hobbies do you have together?
Great links from another blogger, click here. https://emptynestblessed.com/2019/08/07/life-as-an-empty-nester/