Some time ago my husband, Dennis, and I went away to do some planning for the year. As empty nesters it seemed odd to leave our now-quiet home to go find a place of quiet. We actually contemplated for a short time not going away, but we both knew from experience that the quiet of our home would be easily interrupted by the telephone, the television, the laundry, the kitchen, and the Christmas decorations that had not been put away. (Without little people in my house who would play with, scatter and break our ornaments and garlands, the urgency to put them in the attic is not there. How nice to not have that pressure.)
We stayed in a bed and breakfast that was nice but not as comfortable as home. Is that a sign of getting old? Hmmmm … But we did find what we needed by getting away—time together without distractions to think and talk. And it was delightful.
I’ve decided this new season of life is better than the others. I would have never believed it possible. How could getting older and not having our kids around be a good thing?
But it is wonderful in its own way, like a finely aged wine, or a beautiful old building full of character and charm and comfort. Our marriage is like that now, and I wouldn’t trade it for the relationship we had in our youth for anything.
I remembered a quotation that weekend that I had not thought about in years. I found it when I was in college and copied it in my then-new Bible. It was a call to my heart that was lonely and wounded and afraid. It put into words the longing of my soul to be loved:
Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. —Dinah Craik
That is where we are in this season of life: experiencing the profound comfort of safety and peace in marriage. It is inexpressibly wonderful.
We are not perfect and we still have disagreements. There are still repairs to be made on this aging building, but the character and beauty designed by the master Architect are beginning to be seen more clearly as the new wears off and the glowing patina emerges.
It takes time for the beauty of grace to emerge in a life and in a relationship. A solid foundation, a heaven-sent design, and a commitment to never quit building have made this a comfortable place to be in this season of life.
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1. Read "Don’t Get Stuck in the Empty Nest" and other articles on this topic.
2. The kids are grown and gone. Now what? Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates talk to FamilyLife Today® listeners about the changing relationships a woman is likely to experience once she arrives at the empty nest. Listen to their suggestions for embracing this stage of life.
3. Read Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest by Barbara Rainey and Susan Yates.