Feb 28

Empty Nest or Second Honeymoon?

2006 at 9:51 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney

The opportunity to speak at the College Church women’s retreat this past weekend was a pure delight for me. My soul was strengthened by spending time with this group of women, who are characterized by a robust confidence in God’s Word and genuine desire to grow in holiness. I especially want to thank Ruthie Howard, Cindy Powell, and the other members of the retreat committee for their investment of time and hard work that made this event so successful.

One of the great pleasures of an event like this is the chance to converse with godly women I might never otherwise meet. These are precious memories I take home with me and treasure long after a conference has come to an end.

Of the countless enjoyable conversations I had this past weekend, one sticks in my mind as both poignantly memorable, and, I believe, instructive for all of us as women. It was with Ruthie Howard, one of the organizers of this event. Ruthie is a woman, similar in age and season of life to me. She has three children—with whom she is very close—who have all recently been married. “So, you are experiencing an empty nest,” I remarked to her.

“Yes, I am” she acknowledged. “However,” she continued, “I like to refer to this season, not as an empty nest, but as a second honeymoon. I am so grateful that my husband and I have a strong marriage. I try to encourage young moms to make their marriage a priority because your children will leave one day, and your husband is the person you will spend the rest of your life with.”

Wise words for all of us, from a woman who is reaping the rewards of a lifetime investment in her marriage. Often I meet young women who could benefit from this advice. They are overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood, or simply more engrossed in being their kid’s mom than their husband’s wife. Some have grown apathetic and less than enthusiastic about their marriage relationship. Sadly, I’m not always sure that many young wives stop to consider how their present way of relating to their husband will affect the future happiness of their marriage.

However, sweet rewards can be theirs one day, if they choose to cherish communication and intimacy and friendship with their husband today. They too can have the joyful sparkle I saw in Ruthie’s eye as she contemplates the years ahead with only her husband. Sure, she misses her children desperately, they both do. But instead of a sense of emptiness and loss many women feel, Ruthie is eagerly anticipating this new season with her husband, her best friend.

Although most of you will never meet Ruthie, I hope my encounter with her will stick with you for a long time too. I hope you will give yourself wholeheartedly to your marriage right now, so that one day you can enjoy the harvest of a strong, God-glorifying relationship with your husband. And that even now, you can begin to anticipate a delightful second honeymoon.

Robert Browning’s sentiments, which hang on my bedroom wall, beautifully portray the eager anticipation of a couple growing old, and in love, together. May they inspire us as wives to prize and cherish our husbands today.

“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith ‘A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!’”