50: Learning to Be Two Again

50: Learning to Be Two Again

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

Learning to Be Two Again

By Dawn Byrne

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

~Proverbs 27:19

Our four children had become young adults. Our busy life of running to schools, games and practice, church activities and play dates had wound down. Sitting in front of the TV snuggling with Joe had taken the place of frantic evenings. But without the plethora of responsibilities to coordinate, our conversations dwindled.

One evening after Joe and I arrived home from work, with the kids out, I faced my husband in the middle of our living room, and the stillness of our once lively home struck me. I voiced my anxiety that we might be better together as parents than a couple.

“Joe, do you think we’ll get that empty nest syndrome when the kids leave? So many people we know are divorcing. If they can’t keep their marriages going after years of trying, maybe it could happen to us.”

Joe, standing opposite me in our quiet space, said nothing. But his face burned with angry, wounded feelings, and his body language raged. He stomped upstairs. It was his way of saying, “How can you think that after everything we’ve been through together?”

I got it. I never hear God’s physical voice, but I continue to meditate in His presence and believe in our relationship. Joe and I may not speak much about our relationship, but it is vital in an unexplainable way, even beyond our family.

Alone in the room, I realized our home had become a to-do list instead of a “home.” We were a well-oiled machine working singly in the house: I vacuumed, Joe cut the grass; I did laundry and dishes, he did home repairs.

I decided to make a dinner date with Joe. He didn’t question the reason for it, but he didn’t stand me up either. That was the start of enjoying our empty nester status together.

Today, our three daughters have homes of their own. Our son graduated from high school this year, our thirtieth year of marriage. These almost empty-nest parents woke to the fact that we can still enjoy being a part of fun activities. Only now, we are shuttling ourselves to and from forty-plus hockey practice, eating out, sightseeing and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. It is still a full life, far from an empty nest.

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