Thursday, February 19, 2009

View from the Empty Nest: Keeping the romance alive

Hi, Myra Johnson here. I’m delighted to be a part of this fun new blog, where you’ll find a variety of perspectives from a variety of women--and the occasional male!

My husband and I are mid-life empty-nesters, which makes it a real challenge to keep the romantic fires burning. Next May, we’ll celebrate 37 years of marriage, and though I can’t say they’ve all been great, we’ve never wavered in our commitment to each other and to the sanctity of marriage. When times got rocky, we stuck it out. We talked. More importantly, we listened. And we prayed.

Staying romantic, however, remains a challenge! As empty-nesters we enjoy a certain amount of personal and financial freedom. I’m not a big fan of cooking, so we like to dine out at least a couple of times a week. The usual routine is to hop in the car and start the “Where do you want to eat?--I don’t know, you choose” conversation.

In order to bring back that “dating” feeling, we have to do a little planning, choose an extra-special restaurant, dress up to please our sweetie. Romance takes effort and imagination. As someone said in an earlier post, romance must be intentional. And being intentional about romance can be a real struggle for married couples stuck in the everyday grind.

One resource we’ve found helpful is 10 Great Dates for Empty Nesters, by Dave and Claudia Arp. The relationship advice, date suggestions, and discussion questions provide the framework. With a little extra planning and follow-through, these dates will help you draw closer as you spend quality time together and share from the heart.

Myra Johnson and her husband, Jack, have been married since 1972. Recent transplants from Texas to Oklahoma, they share their home with two love-hungry dogs and a snobby parakeet. The Johnsons have two married daughters and five grandchildren. Myra’s debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, is slated for a September 2009 release from Abingdon Press. You can visit more with Myra on her website, on her personal blog, and also in Seekerville.


  1. Myra, darling, the idea of dining out a few times a week sounds plenty romantic! Just having someone feed me would nudge my romance meter into high gear!

    Anybody got some stale chips around for a hungry author???? Please????

    It sounds like you and Jack have a delightful relationship that weathers storms and appreciates good sailing. Amen to that!


  2. Do you and Jack both work from home now? How does that test your sanity level?

    I keep trying to empty the nest and it someone keeps sneaking back in. Arrgh.

    As a RANDOM thought, a fun thing to do is combine dinner with a very small event, not just the movies, like exploring a new store in town or coffee and dessert at Starbucks in a bookstore or even going to high school stage productions in the middle of the week.

  3. Great ideas, Tina! We've had some experience with the nest temporarily filling up again. I've tried to enjoy the extra time with the kids while I could because they usually end up living far away. Still, it's always an adjustment.

    As for both of us working from home, well, I've had to train Jack to respect my work time. Mostly he does. And sometimes I go plop down in his office and stare at him until he looks up from the computer. Turnabout is fair play, right? ;>)

  4. LOL, Tina! Someday you, too, will have an empty nest. :)

    Myra, great post. I still have two at home--ages 12 and 14. So I have to wait a while. But we do have to work hard to try to have date night. To keep the romance going.

  5. Hi, from deep beneath the twigs and leaves of the empty nest, Myra.
    Nice blog. I'm going to try and be romantic when my husband comes home tonight.

    I hope I don't frighten the poor man.

  6. Let us all know how it goes, Mary. Should we send smelling salts?

  7. I have some leftover pizza, Ruthie, that I'd be glad to share. Yes, Mary, I hear you. When I try something romantic, it scares Max, too.
    Myra, wonderful post. I still can't get over our anniversaries being in the same month AND the same number of years. Spooky that we'd end up being writing buddies.
    No romance ideas from this empty nester today. We're moving our youngest son and d-i-l into their first home this weekend. Somehow, weary bodies and romance don't seem to go together.