An Empty Nest Couples Tip: Do Something Completely New Together

Like most couples, we entered the empty nest phase of our lives pretty much the same way we entered the world, starry-eyed and clueless.

An anxiety-inducing mixture of excitement and terror.

We had our big now what? moment and stumbled ahead, knowing that we had to do something to reconnect as the couple that fell in love all those years ago.

We’ve found that the key is… CONTINUE READING >>

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Like most couples, we entered the empty nest phase of our lives pretty much the same way we entered the world, starry-eyed and clueless.

An anxiety-inducing mixture of excitement and terror.

We had our big now what? moment and stumbled ahead, knowing that we had to do something to reconnect as the couple that fell in love all those years ago.

We couldn’t just pretend there wasn’t a big space where the kids had been in our day-to-day lives.

Not just the time spent running hither and yon — to school, practices, plays, dance, ball games, and the like – but the social interaction of those activities all instantly disappeared as well. Poof.

Six years down the road, we seem to have learned a few things – we like to call it breaking the empty nest rules, but we have also been reasonably successful at making the empty nest work.

While we would never advocate that everyone do things as drastically as we did – sell everything and hit the highway on an endless road trip – we have discovered something that we think will work across the board…

Do something completely new together

This doesn’t mean taking up each other’s hobbies — although that can be nice too — it means something totally new, something neither of you has experienced.

It doesn’t hurt to get out of your comfort zone a bit, either.

For us, this was traveling to places neither of us had ever been.

Seeing awesome sights for the first time, together. Learning about new cultures, together. Trying new unique, exotic, and sometimes downright weird foods, together.

We always have something to talk about, laugh about, and learn about through each other’s perspective.

But traveling certainly isn’t the only way to accomplish this, there are all sorts of opportunities much closer to home.

David as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar
David as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar – Veronica scored a
part in the chorus where she got to play a prostitute, a harem
girl and a leper – talk about jumping out of her comfort zone!

As our nest was emptying, but before we sold it, we both took part in a community theater production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

This was a fantastic way to come together as a couple, helping each other rehearse, working toward a common goal, and feeling pretty darn proud when we pulled it off in the performances.

There are plenty of other places to jump in, like volunteering. No doubt any number of organizations could use some help from a couple with the experience and wisdom of a few years under their belts. (For great volunteering ideas, click here)

Making what turned out to be the world's worst sushi!
Making what turned out to be the world’s worst sushi!
Everyone else in the class nailed it, though.

Or going back to school. Certainly there’s an educational institution nearby that offers classes in subjects new and interesting to both spouses.

It could be learning a new language, cooking, creative writing, or philosophy. (We personally LOVE cooking classes!)

The options are nearly endless.

How about taking up a new sport? We’re not talking about going along on hubby’s next golf date, or to the next Pilates class with the wife.

That’s not new to both and will probably go about as well as our skiing fiasco. Besides, if you’re anything like us, golf usually makes us feel like killing somebody. Not good for empty nest bonding. (What doesn’t work: Trying to teach your spouse to ski!)

But if neither spouse has ever ridden a horse, sailed a boat, hiked in the mountains, biked along the sea shore, or even gone skiing or played a round golf, then experiencing that for the first time, together, can have an amazing effect on a marriage.

It’s almost like dating again.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Are you game for any of these ideas? What has worked/not worked for you? Did we miss anything?

53 thoughts on “An Empty Nest Couples Tip: Do Something Completely New Together”

  1. This article was simply awesome. I always love when you ask couples for advice on relationships and they give concrete answers. It’s like we’re familiar with all of the things/ideas that can be done, but we don’t understand how to apply them to our own situations. This was so inspiring. To see you all give these tips and actually live it out makes this a great post! You all are such an exciting couple! I am enjoying your journey. On my website, GrownFE.com, we have a section on it called “Love &Relationships”. What you all are doing and writing, is exactly what we want to celebrate. #GFEpart2

  2. How exciting for both of you. Even though many will say “I can’t do that” to some of the things the two of you have done, it does open their eyes to look outside the box. My hubby always says he wants to sell everything and buy a caravan. That would totally be my dream. I have at least experienced that in small doses. My hubby, on the other hand, feels like he’s slumming in a motel. I told him that we must rent and go for a few weeks first. I will let you know how that goes but I don’t hold out for much hope. I am so thrilled you linked to #MidLifeLuv.

  3. You too seem to be having so much fun! Big kudos for living the life less traveled. I love watching your journeys and hearing about your experiences. You are paving the way for many.
    Thanks for joining us at #MidLifeLuv, we’re very glad to have you!
    Kimberly
    http://FiftyJewels.com

  4. Hmm. I wonder if I could get Mr. Excitement zentangling. I’m thinking not, but I suppose stranger things have happened. Then there’s my RV fantasy. I’m waiting for the Lil BAMF video so I can convince him to give my RV fantasy a try. 😉

  5. All great ideas. We took a Ceili dancing class( Irish square dancing kind of). We laughed through it every week for 6 weeks much to the annoyance of the other people who war taking it very seriously!

  6. We’ve got just over one year before the last one of our 5 daughters flies the nest. We’ve travelled all over with them…hence a travelling circus, and although dreading the nest being completely empty, we are beginning to get really excited about all the possibilities out there. Will keep your advice in mind. Just come across your blog. Really enjoying – good to read about travellers at similar life stage. My blog is still in early development, trying to learn from all the experience around,

  7. Hiking! Yes! That’s what The Dude and I do together. Every Sunday we pick a different spot out on Eastern Long Island: the Walking Dunes, Montauk Point, Hither Hills. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we don’t. But we always feel close, and have a wonderful, peaceful time.

  8. My husband and I have taught marriage courses for years, as well as being parent coaches. One of the things we’ve always reminded our moms and dads is that there is life beyond parenting! The empty nest doesn’t mean the end of life~ it is indeed a new opportunity to enjoy the things you never had time to do before! Bravo~ great post! I loved it and shared on my author page~ Ann Van De Water ~Author on FB as well as retweeting! Thanks for the reminders…

      1. I tried like as hard as I could to bring our love back that was taken away from us three years ago and in a women’s eyes maybe it wasn’t the right way, I felt betrayed by her as I suppose she did I, but I came back and any loving gestures (not sex) were not reciprocated from her so I presume she found happiness in another way, our love for each other three years ago was beyond belief but I guess things change or can be changed from outside sources. I have forgiven my past and tried to enter into her new found happiness but it appears she is scared to open up to me about it, I am very opened minded and believe it appears lost, I once was a very talented person and to be put down from everyone from community to family takes you to your lowest point and maybe that’s how she felt as our love was lost …she felt smothered as I cherished her with little love picture texts and wanting to have social gatherings all the time..I guess all are not a like in their quest for love…such a shame after being together since 1978. I shall keep trying but need different opinion’s from women about different ways to go about it. So I shall force my self to learn new technologies of communication and BTW you are the first to get communication from me, I have no idea who you are but you just got an ear or should I say eye full from me any positive response would be appreciated. Sincerely, The Community Bad Guy.

        1. Stay busy as possible so you won’t have time to think. I find hand scrubbing a floor, cleaning the car like a crazy woman helps. Also smile, it will make the community wonder why you are ao happy!! Ha
          P.s. As a woman, I would suggest everything is good, like sending cute texts, but in moderation.
          I’m no expert, just my unorthodox opinion.

  9. Great advice..I have four more years to go before we become empty nesters. Just the other day my husband and I were talking about what we would do after the kids are gone. My first choice is travel more. His ideas were I have more time for the gym, getting massages, and just relaxing at home. I of course know that’s going to get old fast. I like the ideas of taking cooking classes together or taking dancing lessons. I love to dance. Happy Travels..

  10. I think this is great advice for any couple, empty nesters or not! My husband and I were literally on the verge of divorce a mere five years ago. Now, our lives are completely different. We go places and challenge ourselves to do things we’d never have imagined doing.

  11. I found you looking for a cabin on the bayou for Dec.14th and 15th in Breaux Bridge, La. to celebrate my Birthday. I am happy I came across You guys, I really like what you have decided to do. And if I listen to my husband I will be in a camper seeing the world, too! I still have time to think about it while we wait on retirement. We have one left in the nest. She works, pays her own bills, and doesn’t help clean often. Tow out of three ain’t bad. Pam

  12. We are in the in between stage. No children home with us but not ready to retire. My husband always drove semi across country. I stayed home raised our 4 children, and drove a school bus. After the youngest
    flew the cope, we wondered now what. I was down right

    lonely home most of the week by myself.
    We had always talked of me joining my husband on the road

    and things just fell into place.
    We keep moving 24 hours a day. We have seen some amazing sights when we do decide to get off the interstate.
    One thing that was new to us both was snow mobiling in W. Yellowstone. It was just amazing. We biked the Hiawatha trail in Montana. And there have been several more adventures.
    The best part was learning to eat, sleep, prepare food, and work in an area as big as a closet.

  13. We took up cycling together. Just got back from 14 days cycling from bangkok to siem reap (500km). Two bicycles a gps and each other. It’s great to challenge one another and to test one anothers limits.

    Jackie

    1. WOW! That must have been an incredible adventure. We ride our bikes a lot (tho I hesitate to call it cycling – biking?) and find it the perfect pace to take in the world around us (as long as the hill’s not too steep!)

  14. I like it, and you are so right. At the moment we are rehabbing Randy back to health after his double lung transplant, then we are hitting the road. I’m off to Thailand to dive first, then we are getting in the car and going wherever we feel like.

  15. David and Veronica, thanks for your tips, these are great. I will remember them for sure when my husband and I reach the ’empty nesters’ stage. Will take a while.

    I’ve been planning to take private tennis lessons with my husband for a year now. We still haven’t got round to doing it – kids still too small, no family round, big logistical effort.

    Should you visit my hometown Vienna, take a cooking lesson in Viennese cake making, a waltz dance lesson, and dine with a local Viennese.

    1. Vienna is a huge bucket list item for us – we’ll be in Austria next month checking out the Christmas market action! We did the tennis thing for quite a while when the kids were little – we had a cute little public park in our area with little used courts – we’d just bring them in fence with us and try not to hit the balls too hard. 😉 Good thing neither of us were very strong players!

  16. Hiking is a good activity to do together. It’s just you and your hubby alone together in the wilderness. It helps to bring a bit of peace and mutual appreciation back into the relationship.

  17. We are going segwaying this month. Always trying to do something that would make one or the other of us, mmm…I won’t say ‘uncomfortable’, let’s say ‘challenged’. We keep reminding ourselves that as long as we have the health and energy, which we won’t have for long, we might as well use it.

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