One of the most difficult transition periods in any long term relationship, is one where there have been children involved. When a couple starts having children, their lives change dramatically. Sometimes it seems that the next twenty years or more are spent being parents and not having a loving relationship with each other.
Once the children are grown and the couple is once again alone with each other, they can sometimes almost feel like strangers. It's not uncommon for both women and men to feel lost without children to raise, because it's what they've been doing for such a long time. If they had several children over the span of ten years or more, it's often been more than thirty years since it was just the two of them alone.
When adults go for twenty to thirty years without having any substantial period of time alone together, they often feel a bit awkward and new in the relationship. It's almost like starting over again, and sometimes it feels as if you're starting with a completely new person also. Most adults are different at the age of fifty than they were at the age of twenty. So if the two of you met and started dating in your early twenties, you now realize things may have changed drastically.
The kids being gone doesn't have to be a problem though. There will be a period of adjustment of course, and how much time this takes will depend on the individuals involved. Some people are able to adjust to the kids being gone fairly quickly, because they've been looking forward to a new found sense of freedom in life. Others however, had their lives substantially wrapped up in raising those children, so they may have a more difficult time figuring out what to do with themselves next.
You can help each other though, by being supportive and spending extra quality time together. In fact, one of the ways to figure out what to do next as a couple is to start spending more quality time with each other. Talk about your likes, dislikes, beliefs and opinions. Watch the news together for instance, and discuss what's happening in the world. What are your opinions and views and what are your spouses? Listen to each other closely, and communicate both your own thoughts and feelings as well as what you feel your spouse is telling you their's are.
This close listening and communication process will help start bringing you closer together again, and help you re-discover what it is you've loved about each other all these years.
Another thing to consider now that the kids are gone, is whether you might like to make some changes in your lifestyle. Since you don't have children at home anymore for instance, you might like to downsize your home so there's less maintenance and upkeep. Maybe you've always wanted to travel the world, go on a cruise, or try some new hobbies too.
Having your kids grown and gone can be a wonderful time in your life. It's a chance for you to bring back the spark of romance, life, living and laughter at an age where you've usually become financially stable and secure, and gained a lot of wisdom about life and happiness too.