Call Before You Come By

My bride and I are childless for the first time in our marriage of twenty-eight years (she brought a daughter into the marriage). I announced this to friends and family by posting the following on facebook:

BOOM! Empty nest. Call before you come by. ;-)

Alone at last! © Branislav Ostojic |

The responses have been interesting, from those who gave their own empty nest countdown to those who don’t want to even think about their children leaving home.

I read a while back that the second highest period of divorce for couples is the year after the last child leaves home. Some of this is couples who “stayed together for the kids”, but that’s not the primary reason. All too often, when the kids leave the couple discovers the kids were the only thing they had in common!

I can’t say we’ve been chomping at the bit to have an empty nest. Our son has been a very well-mannered young man. For the last couple of years he has been covering his own bills, and has been more help around the house than he has been extra work. Still, having the children all grow up and move away is a natural part of life. We’ve looked forward to this, and we’ve built a relationship that will not just survive, but thrive without children.

What about you and your wife? Regardless of how old your children may be, are you intentionally building a relationship that will thrive when they eventually leave?

A parent’s brag: We are very proud of our son. He’s made great decisions and planned his moving out well. He is far better prepared to “be on his own” than either his mother or I were when we left the nest. If children as adults were nothing more than the result of the parenting they received, we could claim to be brilliant parents. In truth, I feel I managed not making too many messes, pointed him in the right direction, and rarely got in the way of him hearing and following God. 

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13 Comments on “Call Before You Come By

  1. I still don’t see the joy in so-called “independence” from the kid’s point of view. I’m the 32-year-old son of a single mother, and my 29-year-old sister is much more anxious to live alone than me. Our mother recently said she wants all 3 of us to live separately when our lease ends in May, but I don’t want to. I’ve tried living alone twice before, and hated it both times. I don’t see the peace or joy that so many claim to have when leaving home.

    • @Joshua Belyeu Joshua – I’ve rarely lived “on my own” in that I shared house and apartments with others. Only time I had a place all my own was a half a year before Lori and I got married, and I was rarely there for anything other than to sleep.
      For those of us who are extroverts, alone is not so great. A good room mate makes all the difference.

      • @TheGenerousHusband  @Joshua Belyeu That’s the problem; I don’t have a lot of friends my own age in the “real world”. I make about $700 a month through SSI, and I’m sick of being treated like my desires don’t matter. I don’t want to cheat my mother out of having a better life for herself, but all I mostly think about is these feelings of betrayal and abandonment. I don’t have the heart to put up with being tossed aside again. My sister doesn’t understand my desperation to avoid being away from Mom, and I feel so angry and hopeless on my own. If it were up to me, I’d stay with Mom until I got married, but she has problems with that.

        • @Joshua Belyeu The hard truth is your current situation is not a good way to find a wife. What you mom is pressing for is far from easy or comfortable, but it will improve your chances of having what you want in life.

        • @TheGenerousHusband When i lived alone in the past, both times were very much the same routine. I’d spend all day at home, watching TV or on my computer. Then, I’d run errands on the weekends. I’m not a social person in the “real world”, and I have major issues with trust and respect. I try my hardest to never be cruel or abusive, but its hard for me to really open up with anyone. I feel more comfortable generally when talking to women, but if I were pressed by one, I’d get defensive real quick. Being really lonely and highly sexually frustrated is also not a good mix. I know there’s so much more to marriage than sex, and I don’t want to treat any woman as an object, but celibacy at 32 really sucks. When I was told to move out twice before, I felt resentful, angry, hateful, and terrified. The third time doesn’t seem to be changing much, and part of me is still hoping Mom will change her mind. I don’t know anyone well enough to stay with them, and I don’t think i could trust a total stranger for a roommate.

        • @Joshua Belyeu I hear your frustration and your fear. The bottom line is that your short term desires are not going to help you fulfil your long term goals. Pick one and focus on it, even if it requires sacrifice.

        • @TheGenerousHusband I don’t have many long-term goals, other than being married to beautiful Christian woman someday, and having a job I love instead of putting up with it.

        • @Joshua Belyeu  @TheGenerousHusband 
          Joshua, 1. I assume you are a Christian. Are you praying about all of this? 2. Do you go to church? Do you belong to a Small Group or Sunday School class? 3. Are you disabled? Why are you on SSI? 4. When you move out this time, maybe you can find something safe but inexpensive such as a garage apartment. My brother rented one from a nice widow lady when he was in college (50 years ago). Look in the papers or some local real estate rental web site. 5. Get out! Join an exercise club that has supervised exercise programs so you’ll get encouragement from other members of the group when the going gets tough. CrossFit has this sort of program although you might find something similar but less expensive and smaller. 6. Get out! Check out the local ethnic societies to see if they have things like cooking classes. This will help make you more social and may lead to a substantial job if you learn to cook well. As you get better, you will get a sense of accomplishment. You can have your mother and others over to your place for a meal you cooked yourself – and they will enjoy it. 7. Get out! Sign up for some course that interests you at your local community college. Drafting, radiology tech, web design, PageMaker, PhotoShop, oral hygenist, auto mechanics, bookkeeping, beekeeping, horticulture, refrigeration. Anything that interests you that can lead to a decent job or an independent business. 8. Get out! Apprentice yourself to a plumber or electrician. Get your license. 9. Get out! Take the Bible Teaching Track at your local Bible college. Teach a Sunday School class. 10. Get out! Join the local Toastmasters Club ( Learn how to make a presentation – how to give an effective speech. Win their contests. Go to “National”. This is also good preparation for teaching a Sunday School class. 11. Get out! Join a bowling league, soccer league, rugby league (good for your aggression!), a softball league. If you cannot play, maybe you could be equipment manager or arrange for refreshments – with the team’s money, of course. 12. Take Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. I believe there is a home study version but, if you can swing it, go to the class. Either way, the course will teach you what to do with all that money you will eventually be earning. There! I’ve just made you too busy to feel sorry for yourself and to be angry with the world (and the world doesn’t care anyway). Your mother deserves a life of her own if that’s what she wants and you should have figured out a way to be on your own years ago. But that’s already done. You need to move forward and redeem the time. Get busy tomorrow looking for that great, inexpensive place to live. Then decide what your next step is – I’ve given several suggestions – and start making arrangements to accomplish that goal. And surely, amidst all that motion, you will catch the eye of the ‘perfect’ woman and the Lord will bless your union and life together. One last thing – If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll get the same results you always have. Do it different this time. Pray, then do! God bless, Old Will

        • @bbh999 To answer your questions…
          1)Yes, I am Christian.
          2) Yes, I pray every day.
          3) Yes, I go to a local church, which I love.
          4) I am part of a Celebrate Recovery class.
          5) I was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy at age 14, and have been on SSI since 2004, after my ex-GF told me about it.
          I’d never thought of living in a garage before, but it could work. I don’t trust a lot of people, especially strangers, so roommates would be very uncomfortable for me. I did study multimedia for one year in 2002, and I’m still a Photoshop geek. I’m just not sure how to use it for a career. I also am very good at memorizing movie facts, ever since I was a kid. People say I should be a reviewer, but there’s lots of films I wouldn’t go near today.

        • @Joshua Belyeu Thanks for reading my post and thanks for not thinking I’m a “know-it-all”. Everything I wrote were simply suggestions to get your mind going.
          Your nearest community college should be able to help you with which skills are most likely to turn into a job.
          Pray. Make a plan. Pray. Do it.
          It’s a terrible thing not being able to trust people. My wife is like that. I don’t know how to fix it.
          I’ll pray for you. I hope you get going on a new life and that you are successful in it.

  2. BOOM! Empty nest. Call before you come by.
    I’m happy that the change isn’t causing a trauma in your marriage but just the opposite.

  3. Whoop,
    Whoop, we are ready for the new chapter of our lives as EMPTY NESTERS!
    We intentionally planned when we decided to get married 32 years ago
    that we would have our children while we were young so we could enjoy
    the rest of our lives. Anybody that intentionally plans to begin having
    children in their 40’s is not thinking clearly but, to each his own. Our
    oldest married 8 years ago, middle daughter is about to be engaged, and
    youngest is getting married next month! 2 have college degrees and are
    in  the work force, one has her own business,  and the other just finished tech school! We are
    DONE with SCHOOL! That is an AWESOME milestone in itself! We have one
    grandchild by our oldest. My husband turned 50 this past October and I
    turn 50 this coming August. So for us it is a blessing the
    accomplishments our children have made, 2 upcoming weddings – which are
    stressful but beautiful, and then we are at a calm and start the new
    chapter of enjoying our grandchildren. Hopefully, do more traveling and
    enjoying each other as a couple again! Getting our lives back! Thank you
    God for your goodness………. – See more at:

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